Chapter books about friendships are some of my favorites to read because they explore the many feelings and struggles younger kids face with making friends. The books on the list include stories about BFFs, friendships threatened by jealousy or personality differences, the struggle to make new friends, and finding unlikely friendships.
These stories are perfect as readalouds for younger kids or even books some second to fourth graders (or older kids, if they want) can read on their own!
Best Chapter Books About Friendships (for Kids Ages 5-8)
Here are some of the best chapter books about friendships:
Nikki and Deja (Book 1)
Published: November 26, 2012
Meet Nikki and Deja, who live next door to each other and are best friends. They do everything together—watch Saturday morning cartoons, play jacks, jump double dutch at recess, and help each other with their homework for Mrs. Shelby’s third-grade class. But when an arrogant new girl arrives and Nikki and Deja form a club that would exclude her, the results are not what they expect. This warm, easy-to-read chapter book from an award-winning author captures all the joys and complexities of elementary school life—particularly friendships and cliques—with finesse and humor.
Ivy and Bean (Book 1)
Published: April 20, 2006
The moment they saw each other, Bean and Ivy knew they wouldn’t be friends. But when Bean plays a joke on her sister, Nancy, and has to hide quickIvy comes to the rescue, proving that sometimes the best of friends are people never meant to like each other. Vibrant characters and lots of humor make this a charming and addictive introduction to Ivy and Bean.
Shelter Pet Squad (Book 1)
Published: August 26, 2014
In this charming illustrated chapter book series by Newbery Honor author Cynthia Lord, the Shelter Pet Squad kids find the perfect homes for animals in need!Suzannah’s always wanted a pet of her own, but she lives in an apartment where there are absolutely no pets allowed. What she CAN do is volunteer at a local pet shelter. There, although she’s the youngest, Suzannah quickly finds herself making friends with the kids and bonding with the animals. She makes toys and treats for the animals. She feeds the cats and plays with the puppies! Then a girl just her age brings a guinea pig named Jelly Bean to the shelter. Suzannah promises that she’ll find the little creature the perfect home. But what if no one wants an abandoned guinea pig? Newbery Honor author Cynthia Lord has created a fun and heartwarming chapter books series.
Anna Banana and the Friendship Split
Published: May 5, 2015
Anna has been best friends with Sadie for as long as she can remember. So Anna is utterly perplexed when, on Anna’s birthday, Sadie unceremoniously stakes claim to Anna’s new pony necklace, then suddenly stops speaking to Anna altogether. Did Anna do something wrong? With a little help from her wiener dog, Banana, as well as some sage advice from her family, Anna makes some important discoveries about what it means to stand up for herself, and how to be a true friend.
Ways to Make Sunshine
Published: April 28, 2020
Ryan Hart can be and do anything. Her name means “king”, that she is a leader, and she is determined to keep growing into the name her parents gave her. She is all about trying to see the best in people, to be a good daughter, sister, and friend. But Ryan has a lot on her mind. For instance: Dad finally has a new job, but money is still tight. That means some changes, like moving into a new (old) house, and Dad working the night shift. And with the fourth-grad talent show coming up, Ryan wonders what talent she can perform on stage in front of everyone without freezing. As even more changes and challenges come her way, Ryan always finds a way forward and shows she is a girl who knows how to glow.
Acclaimed author Renée Watson writes her own version of Ramona Quimby, one starring a Black girl and her family, in this start to a charming new series.
Sophie Washington: My BFF
Published: March 27, 2020
Sophie and Chloe have been best friends since they met in kindergarten. They get along like chips and salsa and do everything together from playing tennis to cheering on the school cheer squad. Lately, Chloe’s been leaving Sophie out, and she doesn’t know why. Sophie does everything she can to make her best friend happy, but it’s not working. Then Chloe asks Sophie to fib to a teacher to help her out and she learns the true meaning of friendship.
Plum Fantastic (Sugar Plum Ballerinas)
Published: September 7, 2011
Alexandrea Petrakova Johnson does not want to be a beautiful ballerina, and she does not want to leave her friends in Apple Creek. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop her ballet-crazy mother from moving them to Harlem, or from enrolling Al at the Nutcracker School of Ballet. Life is hard when you’re the new ballerina on the block, and it’s even harder when you’re chosen to be the Sugar Plum Fairy in the school recital!
The Buried Bones Mystery (1) (Clubhouse Mysteries)
Published: July 12, 2011
Ziggy and his friends Rico, Rashawn, and Jerome build a clubhouse in Ziggy’s backyard and decide to bury their secret treasures nearby. But when the boys start digging, they uncover a box of bones and are swept up in a mystery more intriguing—and scary—than anything they could have imagined. Who could have buried a box of bones behind their clubhouse?
Rock Star #1 (Jada Jones)
Published: September 19, 2017
When Jada Jones’s best friend moves away, school feels like the last place she wants to be. She’d much rather wander outside looking for cool rocks to add to her collection, since finding rocks is much easier than finding friends. So when Jada’s teacher announces a class project on rocks and minerals, Jada finally feels like she’s in her element. The only problem: one of her teammates doesn’t seem to like any of Jada’s ideas. She doesn’t seem to like Jada all that much, either. Can Jada figure out a way to make a winning science project and a new friend?
The early chapter book bridges between leveled readers and chapter books for fluent readers adjusting to the chapter book format. At about 5,000 words, with short chapters and two-color art on almost every page, it will appeal to this unique reader. The two-color art throughout will help readers transition from the familiar four-color art of leveled readers and ease them into black-and-white chapter books.
Amy and the Missing Puppy (1) (The Critter Club)
Published: January 1, 2013
It’s Spring Break in Santa Vista, and everyone has big plans…everyone except for Amy, that is! As her best friends head out of town on exciting adventures, Amy resigns herself to helping out at her mom’s vet clinic. At least she’ll be around cute animals! But when Santa Vista’s cold and elusive millionaire, Marge Sullivan, brings her puppy Rufus for a check-up, Amy encounters an unexpected mystery. After her friends return home, the girls get to the bottom of what happened to Rufus—and discover a way to help other lost and lonely animals in their town.
Published: March 2, 2021
All Dominguita wants to do is read. Especially the books in Spanish that Abuela gave to her just before she moved away. They were classics that Abuela and Dominguita read together, classics her abuela brought with her all the way from Cuba when she was a young girl. It helps Dominguita feel like Abuela’s still there with her.
One of her favorites, Don Quixote, tells of a brave knight errant who tries to do good deeds. Dominguita decides that she, too, will become a knight and do good deeds around her community, creating a grand adventure for her to share with her abuela. And when the class bully tells Dominguita that girls can’t be knights, Dom is determined to prove him wrong. With a team of new friends, can Dominguita learn how to be the hero of her own story?
The Year of the Book (Anna Wang Series)
Published: May 22, 2012
In Chinese, peng you means friend. But in any language, all Anna knows for certain is that friendship is complicated.
When Anna needs company, she turns to her books. Whether traveling through A Wrinkle in Time, or peering over My Side of the Mountain, books provide what real life cannot—constant companionship and insight into her changing world.
Books, however, can’t tell Anna how to find a true friend. She’ll have to discover that on her own. In the tradition of classics like Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy books and Eleanor Estes’ One Hundred Dresses, this novel subtly explores what it takes to make friends and what it means to be one.
Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey
Published: May 4, 2021
Marisol Rainey’s mother was born in the Philippines. Marisol’s father works and lives part-time on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. And Marisol, who has a big imagination and likes to name inanimate objects, has a tree in her backyard she calls Peppina . . . but she’s way too scared to climb it. This all makes Marisol the only girl in her small Louisiana town with a mother who was born elsewhere and a father who lives elsewhere (most of the time)—the only girl who’s fearful of adventure and fun.
Will Marisol be able to salvage her summer and have fun with Jada, her best friend? Maybe. Will Marisol figure out how to get annoying Evie Smythe to leave her alone? Maybe. Will Marisol ever get to spend enough real time with her father? Maybe. Will Marisol find the courage to climb Peppina? Maybe.
Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet
Published: February 4, 2020
Welcome to the imaginative brain of Omar!
Omar and his family have just moved, and he is NOT excited about starting at a new school. What if the work is too hard or the kids are mean or the teacher is a zombie alien?!
But when Omar makes a new best friend, things start looking up. That is, until a Big Mean Bully named Daniel makes every day a nightmare! Daniel even tells Omar that all Muslims are going to be kicked out of the country . . . Could that possibly be true?
Luckily, Omar’s enormous imagination and goofy family help him get through life’s ups and downs.
Omar’s funny, relatable narrative is the perfect answer to the call for both mirrors and windows to fill bookshelves with diverse stories.
The Un-Friendship Bracelet (Craftily Ever After Book 1)
Published: March 27, 2018
Emily Adams, Maddie Wilson, Bella Diaz, and Sam Sharma are eight-year-olds with one special thing in common: they love to create. They each have unique talents, too! Emily is great at constructing and building; Maddie has an eye for fashion, fabrics, and sewing; Bella is a gadget whiz; and Sam is a gifted artist. Together, these four crafty friends dream up new projects to design, build, and create and through their experiences, they’ll learn how to handle various obstacles at school and in their everyday eight-year-old lives.
In the first Craftily Ever After book, best friends Emily and Maddie are so close that they spend most of their free time together, and wear matching friendship bracelets, too! One day, a new student named Bella Diaz shows up at Mason Creek Elementary. Maddie immediately befriends her, discovering that she too is really crafty. As Maddie and Bella spend more time together, Emily finds herself spending more time alone…until she realizes that the boy who’s been sitting next to her in class this whole time loves to draw and create just like she does. When Emily’s friendship bracelet falls off and Maddie doesn’t even notice, Emily begins to think that maybe it was an un-friendship bracelet after all.
Never Fear, Meena’s Here! (The Meena Zee Books)
Published: March 24, 2020
Meena’s life is more colorful than ever. When she finds a mysterious ring that seems to give her powers, Meena sets out to prove that she’s a superhero.
The trouble is, her best friends might not believe her, Meena’s little sister wants to be more than just a sidekick, and worst of all, an incident at school makes everyone think Meena is the one who needs to be saved.
But even heroes need help from their friends sometimes. If Meena can figure that out, she might just discover her true powers…and theirs!
Hand-Me-Down Magic #1: Stoop Sale Treasure
Published: June 16, 2020
DEL loves LOTS of things! The Curious Cousins Secondhand Shoppe. Ginormous family dinners. And of course, her best-friend-cousin, Alma.
ALMA loves her abuelita’s tasty empanadas. Her old home by the lake. And soon, she’ll love living in the same place as her best-friend-cousin, Del.
Yet despite having Del by her side, Alma isn’t quite sure she fits in with their family at 86 ½ Twenty-Third Avenue. It’s a new life and it’s all so different. When Del finds a special item at a neighbor’s stoop sale, she gets so excited by the magic luck it brings—but doesn’t see that it’s driving the two best friends apart. Will family, friendship, and maybe a little everyday magic be enough to make things right again?
Sarai in the Spotlight! (Sarai #2)
Published: September 25, 2018
The second book in the Sarai Gonzalez illustrated chapter book series inspired by the life of eleven-year-old viral video sensation and social activist Sarai Gonzalez.When Sarai’s best friend suddenly moves away, Sarai has to navigate school–and the unfriendly girls in the cafeteria–all by herself. When new girl Cristina moves to town, the teacher volunteers Sarai to show her around, but Sarai thinks Cristina is not at all like her. She never wants to play at recess, she’s always got her head in a notebook and she’s so shy! But when Cristina writes Sarai a spoken-word poem for her to recite at the class talent show, Sarai learns that sometimes winning teams are made from unlikely pairs! Inspired by the life of viral video sensation and social activist Sarai Gonzalez with the help of award-winning children’s book author Monica Brown.
The Case of the Missing Cheetah (Secret Spy Society)
Published: March 23, 2021
It’s a dark and stormy night when three sleuthing little girls get pulled into a web of mystery. They have mistakenly uncovered a secret society of some of the most famous female spies in history. A glamorous spy named Josephine Baker enlists the girls to find out who has kidnapped Chiquita, her precious pet cheetah. Do the girls have what it takes to become spies themselves?
Jo jo Makoons: Used-to-Be Best Friend
Published: May 11, 2021
Jo Jo Makoons Azure is a spirited seven-year-old who moves through the world a little differently than anyone else on her Ojibwe reservation. It always seems like her mom, her kokum (grandma), and her teacher have a lot to learn—about how good Jo Jo is at cleaning up, what makes a good rhyme, and what it means to be friendly.
Even though Jo Jo loves her #1 best friend Mimi (who is a cat), she’s worried that she needs to figure out how to make more friends. Because Fern, her best friend at school, may not want to be friends anymore…
There they are: 22 of the best chapter books about friendships. For more chapter book recommendations, check out my list of picks for third graders and fourth graders.
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