Friendship is a major part of human living and it starts when we’re kids. These picture books about friendship touch on every aspect of making friends and being a good friend. You’ll find books about having a friend move away, unlikely best friends, unhealthy friendships, and of course, bonds with animal friends.
Picture Books About Friendship
Here are 35+ best friendship picture books for kids:
Published: February 16, 2021
Willow is shy. VERY shy.
Her home is in an abandoned mailbox, and she’d rather stay put. Outside kids scream and soccer balls collide, trees look like monsters, and rain is noisy in a scary kind of way. It’s much nicer to stay inside, drawing. But then a young boy drops a letter in Willow’s mailbox: it’s a note to the moon asking for a special favor. Willow knows that if she doesn’t brave the world outside, the letter will never be delivered, and the boy will be heartbroken. Should she try? Can she?
Dozens of Doughnuts
Published: July 21, 2020
LouAnn (a bear) is making a doughnut feast in preparation for her long winter’s nap. But just before she takes the first bite, DING DONG! Her friend Woodrow (a woodchuck) drops by. LouAnn is happy to share her doughnuts, but as soon as she and Woodrow sit down to eat, DING DING! Clyde (a raccoon) is at the door. One by one, LouAnn’s friends come over–Topsy (an opossum) and then Moufette (a skunk) and then Chip and Chomp (chipmunks)–until it’s one big party. Louann welcomes her surprise guests and makes batch after batch of doughnuts, always dividing them equally among her friends. But she makes one BIG miscalculation. Soon LouAnn’s kitchen is bare, winter is near, and she’s had nothing to eat at all
The Rock from the Sky
Published: April 13, 2021
There is a spot.
It is a good spot.
It is the perfect spot to stand.
There is no reason to ever leave.
But somewhere above there is also a rock.
A rock from the sky.
Here comes The Rock from the Sky, a hilarious meditation on the workings of friendship, fate, shared futuristic visions, and that funny feeling you get that there’s something off somewhere, but you just can’t put your finger on it. Merging broad visual suspense with wry wit, celebrated picture book creator Jon Klassen gives us a wholly original comedy for the ages.
The Not-So-Friendly Friend
Published: September 12, 2021
How can I help my child deal with a bully?
What do I teach them about handling an on-again-off-again, not-so-friendly friend?
My advice to “just be kind” isn’t helping, and my child is still hurting.
Christina Furnival, a licensed mental health therapist and mom, helps answer these questions in this charming and engaging rhyming story about a young child who successfully navigates the complexities of an unkind peer relationship.
In The Not-So-Friendly Friend, children will learn an easy and practical lesson about how to firmly and assertively―yet kindly―stand up for themselves in the face of a bully. By teaching children about the importance and value of setting boundaries for healthy friendships, this book provides children the tools they need to foster their social confidence and emotional well-being.
Bear Is a Bear
Published: September 14, 2021
Bear is . . . a new friend, a fellow mischief-maker, a protector, and a dreamer.
Through all the many ups and downs of a little girl’s childhood, Bear is there to provide love and support. Until it is time to say goodbye . . . and hello again.
Bear Is a Bear is a tender and surprising tribute to the beloved companions of our childhoods.
Published: September 28, 2021
Welcome to Chez Bob, which seems like a real restaurant…until you realize…it’s on an alligator’s NOSE! Bob’s got a hidden plan for his customers: “Birds will come to eat, but I will eat the birds!” As they fly in from all over the world to dine on Bob’s face, something starts to happen that takes the lazy, hungry reptile by surprise — the birds stay. “More yummy birds!” he rejoices — he’ll want for nothing! But when the time is right, will Bob make the right choice?
Evelyn del Rey Is Moving Away
Published: September 8, 2020
A big truck with its mouth wide open is parked at the curb, ready to gobble up Evelyn’s mirror with the stickers around the edge . . . and the sofa that we bounce on to get to the moon.
Evelyn Del Rey is Daniela’s best friend. They do everything together and even live in twin apartments across the street from each other: Daniela with her mami and hamster, and Evelyn with her mami, papi, and cat. But not after today—not after Evelyn moves away. Until then, the girls play amid the moving boxes until it’s time to say goodbye, making promises to keep in touch, because they know that their friendship will always be special. The tenderness of Meg Medina’s beautifully written story about friendship and change is balanced by Sonia Sánchez’s colorful and vibrant depictions of the girls’ urban neighborhood.
Published: February 4, 2020
When Snail spies a plump, crisp cabbage across the road, nothing will stop him—not a speeding car or even a hungry crow.
But then kindhearted Snail stops to help a crew of antsy ants in a rainstorm, and he loses his way. It looks like he will never get his treat—until Snail’s new friends come up with an ingenious idea. . . .
Something’s Wrong: A Bear, a Hare and Some Underwear
Published: March 23, 2021
Jeff the bear has definitely forgotten something. He ate his breakfast, he watered his plant, he combed his fur…what could it be? Why does he feel so oddly off? So he asks his friend Anders the rabbit what could possibly be wrong. It couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that he’s wearing underwear…over his fur…could it?
Something’s Wrong! is another read-out-loud, laugh-out-loud picture book from bestselling and beloved author Jory John, about that horrible nagging feeling that it just might not be your day―but you know you have a friend to support you no matter what.
The Little Book Of Friendship
Published: July 11, 2020
Friendships are like flowers. If you take care of them, they grow and bloom until you have a beautiful garden! The Little Book of Friendship helps young boys and girls, preschoolers, and toddlers of all ages learn what they need to know about making friends, and how to be a good friend to others.
The ability to make friends easily is a valuable social skill that everyone should learn early in life. This book focuses on teaching young readers the importance of friendship and helps them use the lessons learned in real-life situations at school, the park, playground, and on playdates.
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
Published: April 8, 2014
This magical story begins on an island far away where an imaginary friend is born. He patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, but when he is overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match and–at long last–is given his special name: Beekle.
The #1 New York Times bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator Dan Santat–creator of After the Fall and Are We There Yet?–combines classic storytelling with breathtaking art in an unforgettable tale about friendship, imagination, and the courage to find one’s place in the world.
Published: May 1, 2018
Charlotte’s world is fully charged! With her dog at her side, she’s always tinkering, coding, clicking, and downloading. She’s got a knack for anything technological–especially gadgets that her parents don’t know how to fix! Then, she receives a new toy that is quite a puzzle: a doll! What’s she supposed to do with that? Once she discovers the doll’s hidden battery pack, things start to get interesting…while her faithful canine sidekick wonders if he’ll be overshadowed by the new and improved Doll-E 1.0! With a little ingenuity and an open mind, everyone can be friends in this endearing, modern tribute to the creative spirit of play.
Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship
Published: April 3, 2018
Rescue thought he’d grow up to be a Seeing Eye dog — it’s the family business, after all. When he gets the news that he’s better suited to being a service dog, he’s worried that he’s not up to the task. Then he meets Jessica, a girl whose life is turning out differently than the way she’d imagined it, too. Now Jessica needs Rescue by her side to help her accomplish everyday tasks. And it turns out that Rescue can help Jessica see after all: a way forward, together, one step at a time. An endnote from the authors tells more about the training and extraordinary abilities of service dogs, particularly their real-life best friend and black lab, Rescue.
City Dog, Country Dog
Published: June 8, 2010
In spring, when City Dog runs free in the country for the first time, he spots Country Frog sitting on a rock, waiting for a friend. “You’ll do,” Frog says, and together they play Country Frog games. In summer, they meet again and play City Dog games. Through the seasons, whenever City Dog visits the country he runs straight for Country Frog’s rock. In winter, things change for City Dog and Country Frog. Come spring, friendship blooms again, a little different this time.
Mo Willems’ spare, poignant text and Jon J. Muth’s expressive watercolors team up to tell a story that will resonate with readers of all ages.
The Epic Adventure of Huggie and Stick
Published: October 23, 2018
When super cheerful Stick and grumpy stuffed bunny Huggie get thrown from a backpack, the adventure is on! Together this odd couple survives encounters with sea-faring pirates, raging rhinos in Africa, sword-wielding royalty in Europe, stick-eating panda bears in Asia, sharks in Australia, hungry penguins in Antarctica, and piranhas in South America–all before finally making it home to North America. A fantastically funny read-aloud about two unlikely friends and their epic journey around the world.
Big Cat, Little Cat
Published: March 14, 2017
There was a cat
who lived alone.
Until the day
a new cat came . . .
And so a story of friendship begins, following the two cats through their days, months, and years until one day, the older cat has to go. And he doesn’t come back.
Sheep Dog and Sheep Sheep
Published: February 12, 2019
Sheep is an expert at protecting sheep—or so she thinks until one happy afternoon when she bumps into a very hairy someone on the farm.
“Who are you?” she asks.
“I’m the sheep dog!” the someone says. “I watch the sheep.”
Holy begonia! Sheep knows this can’t be right. After all, she’s the pro! So Sheep goes off to get everything Sheep Dog needs to get the job done, but each time she goes, something almost happens to Sheep…
And it’s Sheep Dog who saves the day!
When Pencil Met Eraser
Published: May 28, 2019
When Pencil draws on the pages of this book, Eraser erases parts of Pencil’s work, and the book itself becomes a canvas for their different takes on creativity―until the two discover their artwork is even better when they work together.
The Fox on the Swing
Published: June 19, 2018
Learn about family, happiness, and friendship in this hope-filled children’s book. Our story starts with a boy named Paul, who lives in a cozy treehouse in a big city with his family. And then something unexpected happens―Paul befriends a wise, friendly fox on a walk home from the bakery. The fox gives Paul a space to think about what makes him happy and what friendship means―all in the pages of a bright and quirky storybook. Join Paul and the fox while helping young readers decide what makes them happy. Illustrated in color throughout
How to Be A Lion
Published: June 26, 2018
In this timely and charming story about the importance of being true to yourself, mindfulness, and standing by your friends, we meet Leonard, a lion, and his best friend Marianne, a . . . duck. Leonard and Marianne have a happy life together—talking, playing, writing poems, and making wishes—until one day a pack of bullies questions whether it’s right for a lion and a duck to be pals. Leonard soon learns there are many ways to be a lion, and many ways to be a friend, and that sometimes finding just the right words can change the world . . .
Bear Came Along
Published: June 4, 2019
Once there was a river flowing through a forest. The river didn’t know it was capable of adventures until a big bear came along. But adventures aren’t any fun by yourself, and so enters Froggy, Turtles, Beaver, Racoons, and Duck.
These very different animals take off downstream, but they didn’t know they needed one another until thankfully, the river came along.
Swashby and the Sea
Published: May 5, 2020
Captain Swashby loves the sea, his oldest friend. And he loves his life by the sea just as it is: salty and sandy and serene.
One day, much to Swashby’s chagrin, a young girl and her granny commandeer the empty house next door. All Swashby wants is for his new neighbors to GO AWAY and take their ruckus with them.
When Swashby begins to leave notes in the sand for his noisy neighbors, however, the beach interferes with the messages that are getting across. Could it be that the captain’s oldest friend, the sea, knows what Swashby needs even better than he knows himself?
Lottie & Walter
Published: May 7, 2019
Lottie goes to swim lessons every Saturday, but she never gets in the water. That’s because she is convinced there is a shark in the pool, a shark that wants to eat her and only her. But then Walter appears. Walter likes singing and reading books and bubble baths, and his favorite food is fish sticks, just like Lottie. When Saturday rolls around again, Lottie is no more ready to jump in the pool than she was before. Or is she? Sometimes it just takes a special friend to find the courage that was inside you all along.
The One Day House
Published: August 15, 2017
Wilson dreams of all the ways he can help improve his friend Gigi’s house so that she’ll be warm, comfortable, and happy.
One day, friends and neighbors from all over come to help make Wilson’s plans come true. Everyone volunteers to pitch in to make Gigi’s house safe, clean, and pretty.
Leo: A Ghost Story
Published: August 25, 2015
You would like being friends with Leo. He likes to draw, he makes delicious snacks, and most people can’t even see him. Because Leo is also a ghost. When a new family moves into his home and Leo’s efforts to welcome them are misunderstood, Leo decides it is time to leave and see the world. That is how he meets Jane, a kid with a tremendous imagination and an open position for a worthy knight. That is how Leo and Jane become friends. And that is when their adventures begin. This charming tale of friendship—from two of the best young minds in picture books: the author of the Caldecott Honor–winning Extra Yarn and the illustrator of the Bologna Ragazzi Award–winning Josephine—is destined to become a modern classic that will delight readers for years to come.
The Antlered Ship
Published: September 12, 2017
Marco the fox has a lot of questions, like: how deep does the sun go when it sinks into the sea? And why do birds have such lizardy feet? But none of the other foxes share his curiosity. So when a magnificent ship adorned with antlers and with a deer for a captain arrives at the dock looking for a crew, Marco volunteers, hoping to find foxes who are as inquisitive as he is that can answer his questions. The crew finds adventure and intrigue on their journey. And, at last, Marco finds the answer to his most important question of all: What’s the best way to find a friend you can talk to?
A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Published: November 5, 2019
Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee’s case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime stories to the owl. But when Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide it’s time they returned the favor.
Wolf in the Snow
Published: January 3, 2017
A girl is lost in a snowstorm. A wolf cub is lost, too. How will they find their way home?
Paintings rich with feeling tell this satisfying story of friendship and trust. Wolf in the Snow is a book set on a wintry night that will spark imaginations and warm hearts, from Matthew Cordell, author of Trouble Gum and Another Brother.
Published: September 1, 2015
Five friends sit happily on a windowsill, waiting for something amazing to happen. The owl is waiting for the moon. The pig is waiting for the rain. The bear is waiting for the wind. The puppy is waiting for the snow. And the rabbit is just looking out the window because he likes to wait! What will happen? Will patience win in the end? Or someday will the friends stop waiting and do something unexpected?
Waiting is a big part of childhood—waiting in line, waiting to grow up, waiting for something special to happen—but in this book, a child sets the stage and pulls the strings. Timeless, beautiful, and deeply heartfelt, this picture book about imaginative play, the seasons, friendship, and surprises is a Caldecott Honor and Geisel Honor Book.
The Lion and the Bird
Published: May 6, 2014
One autumn day, a lion finds a wounded bird in his garden. With the departure of the bird’s flock, the lion decides that it’s up to him to care for the bird. He does and the two become fast friends. Nevertheless, the bird departs with his flock the following autumn. What will become of Lion and what will become of their friendship?
The Girl and the Bicycle
Published: April 29, 2014
A little girl sees a shiny new bicycle in the shop window. She hurries home to see if she has enough money in her piggy bank, but when she comes up short, she knocks on the doors of her neighbors, hoping to do their yardwork. They all turn her away except for a kindly old woman.
The woman and the girl work through the seasons, side by side. They form a tender friendship. When the weather warms, the girl finally has enough money for the bicycle. She runs back to the store, but the bicycle is gone! What happens next shows the reward of hard work and the true meaning of generosity.
Little Elliot, Big City(Little Elliot, #1)
Published: August 26, 2014
Amid the hustle and bustle of the big city, the big crowds and bigger buildings, Little Elliot leads a quiet life. In spite of the challenges he faces, Elliot finds many wonderful things to enjoy―like cupcakes! And when his problems seem insurmountable, Elliot discovers something even sweeter―a friend.
Strictly No Elephants
Published: October 27, 2015
Today is Pet Club day. There will be cats and dogs and fish, but strictly no elephants are allowed. The Pet Club doesn’t understand that pets come in all shapes and sizes, just like friends. Now it is time for a boy and his tiny pet elephant to show them what it means to be a true friend.
The Invisible Boy
Published: October 8, 2013
A simple act of kindness can transform an invisible boy into a friend…
Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody in class ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class.
When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.
Peanut Butter & Cupcake
Published: July 29, 2014
What’s a little piece of bread to do when he’s feeling lonely? Find a friend, of course!
And that’s exactly what Peanut Butter tries to do. But sometimes friends are hard to come by, especially when Hamburger has to walk his (hot) dogs, Cupcake is too busy building castles in her sprinkle box, and Egg laughs so hard he starts to crack up! Does Peanut Butter have a soulmate? Young readers will know the answer long before Peanut Butter does and laugh along with each mismatched pairing.
Same, Same But Different
Published: September 13, 2011
Elliot lives in America, and Kailash lives in India. They are pen pals. By exchanging letters and pictures, they learn that they both love to climb trees, have pets, and go to school. Their worlds might look different, but they are actually similar. Same, same. But different!
Published: October 2, 2012
Chloe and her friends won’t play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe’s teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she’d shown a little kindness toward Maya.
Flora and the Flamingo
Published: February 5, 2013
In this innovative wordless picture book with interactive flaps, Flora and her graceful flamingo friend explore the trials and joys of friendship through an elaborate synchronized dance. With a twist, a turn, and even a flop, these unlikely friends learn at last how to dance together in perfect harmony. Full of humor and heart, this stunning performance (and splashy ending!) will have readers clapping for more of this fun flamingo story!
Little Blue Truck
Published: May 1, 2008
A muddy country road is no match for this little pick-up—that is, until he gets stuck while pushing a dump truck out of the muck.
Luckily, Blue has made a pack of farm animal friends along his route. And they’re willing to whatever it takes to get their pal back on the road.
There they are: 35+ of the best picture books about friendship! Which ones have you read and loved? What did I miss?
More Picture Book Lists
- Picture books about grandparents
- Picture books about welcoming a new sibling
- The best picture books about kindness