Making friends is not easy for every child. If some of your students are struggling, or if you just have one of those classes that doesn’t get along, reading a pertinent book out loud could help. I asked my Facebook followers for their favorite books about friendship, and of course they had all kinds of great ideas. Thanks so much to all who contributed! If you want more details on a particular title, just click on the image and you will be taken to Amazon where you can read more.
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
I like the chapter book The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes to start the school year in 4th grade. It has a wonderful message about not standing by and watching while someone else gets bullied. It also teaches kids not to be a follower.
-Michelle Byram James
Great for talking about friendship and bullying. I always start out the year with it with my 4th graders.
Sometimes being a good friend is hard.
Wonder… New book!! I so love it!!!
Rules by Cynthia Lord
I love that one of the main characters in this book is an EC child and the relationship that builds.
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
We find friends everywhere and in the least likely people and places.
For my fourth graders I use Because of Winn-Dixie to show that friendship comes in all shapes and sizes/ages.
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
I don’t know how “old” you want to go, but my 7th graders read “The Outsiders” every year and it is always well-received.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Charlotte’s Web to show what friends are willing to do for each other.
Friends come in all packages. In the end it is true friendship that endures!
-Gardner’s Book Service
greatest book about friendship ever! We used it in 4th grade as a whole novel study, including vocabulary, comprehension tests and lots of crafts.
-Linda Jones Doherty
Farfallina & Marcel by Holly Keller
It is about how friendship changes as we grow and develop (but told cleverly). It points out that even though we may be different, bigger etc, we can still be friends because the friendship is greater than the change.
Lions of Little Rock by Krisin Levin
The Lions of Little Rock…story of two girls of different races in the 60s and their friendship. Very powerful book.-Amanda Rayburn
There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom by Louis Sachar
There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom by Louis Sachar is one of my favorite read alouds with my 4th graders. The students can relate to the characters, and they learn valuable lessons about true friendship and acceptance from Bradley Chalkers and Jeff Fishkin.
-Melany McCauslin Rios
Just As Long As We’re Together by Judy Blume
One of my childhood favorite chapter books is Just As Long As We’re Together by Judy Blume. It always reminds me of the song “Make New Friends,” the words of which go “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold. A circle is round. It has no end. That’s how long I want to be your be your friend.”
-Josette Soard Nase
The Sorta Sisters by Adrian Fogelin
I just finished reading The Sorta Sisters by Adrian Fogelin, which is about two girls who have never met, but become friends through writing letters back and forth to each other. It would be neat to somehow incorporate reading this book with a pen pal activity.
-Josette Soard Nase
Surprises According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney
I like any Humphrey the Hamster books. They seem too young for my 4th graders but they love Humphrey. He is a classroom hamster who helps his human classmates with problems ranging from bullying to hurt feelings. He helps out some of the adults, as well. I also like the way the students in Humphrey’s class have personalities and lives that are found in my class.
Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
Tells a story of an unlikely friendship between two boys who rely on each other’s strengths to overcome their own weaknesses.
Two unlikely misfits find friendship. I have never met a middle school kid that did relate to that book.
-Charlee Nall Allen
Fly Guy Series by Tedd Arnold
Great for the friendship between a boy and his pet fly! 1st-2nd grade reading level, but my 4th graders LOVE Fly Guy!
Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka
Children’s book about friendship…Yo! Yes? It’s great! Not a lot of words, but kids get it. Great for inference!
Leonardo, The Terrible Monster by Mo Willems.
It is about the decision making to BE a friend.
-Lisa Weber Mattes
Hugs from Pearl by Paul Schmid
The social worker and I (SLP) co-taught Hugs from Pearl. I got the idea from Pinterest. Super cute for the K-1 age group.
Enemy Pie by Derek MunsonI use it with my fourth graders (although it would be appropriate for younger kids, too) because it tells about one boy deciding not to like another boy until he actually spends time with him and gets to know him. They become fast friends.
My Best Friend by Mary Ann Rodman
Great book teaching kids about to like themselves and to not be someone their not.
-Allison Perani Hogan
Elmer the Elephant by David McKee
Themes of friendship, differences, acceptance. Easy to do extension art project: tissue paper pieces on a white elephant cut out/spritz with water/watch the beautiful colors run/shake off tissue when dry – voila! Your very own Elmer!
-Lynn M. Chiafullo
More Teacher Suggestions
If you are working on friendship in your class, you might also want to download these free friendship cards.
Got more to add? Please tell us your favorite with a comment.