Reading Corner

10 Children’s Books that Teach Friendship and Kindness

February Book Review

I want to start off with a warm Happy Valentine’s Day to all my family, friends, and readers! This month’s book review isn’t going to cover the expected topic of a romantic Valentine’s Day. Instead, in the spirit of my post Small Acts of Kindness: A New Way to Celebrate Valentine’s Day, I’m reviewing books about friendship and kindness.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a percentage of the proceeds if purchases are made after clicking on the links. This is at no extra cost to the customer.

Books About Friendship and Kindness

1. Bear’s New Friend (The Bear Books)

By Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman

Recommended Age: 3-7 years 

I love the whole Bear series; they’re a cute series of rhyming books. The Bear Books also usually include just the right little bit of repetition. This particular Bear Book covers important topics about making new friends, such as introducing yourself and others, inviting others to come play, and being shy when meeting new people.

2. Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids (Bucketfilling Books)

By Carol McCloud, Illustrated by David Messing 

Recommended Age: 4-9 years

I was introduced to this book by our preschool, and I have to say, I love it. Young kids are very literal, and this book offers a concrete description for the abstract concepts of feelings and being kind to others. The book explains that we “fill each others’ buckets” with kind actions, and dip into or empty each others buckets with unkind actions. McCloud goes on to explain that dipping into others’ buckets only empties our own. I love that she gives several very specific examples of both kind and unkind actions that even small children can do. McCloud introduces the topic of bullies as bucket dippers. She also explains that filling buckets doesn’t have to cost money or take a lot of time, and it’s something we can all do every day to make our communities a better place. This story both grabbed and held even my most distractable daughter’s attention. We just checked this book out from the library, but I’m thinking it’s one we need to add to our permanent collection.

3. Gossie and Gertie (Gossie & Friends)

By Olivier Dunrea

Recommended Age: 3-6 years 

This is a cute board book for younger readers. There’s not necessarily any deep lessons to be learned, but instead just a sweet story about a great friendship between two little goslings. Everywhere Gossie goes, Gertie goes too. Except when she doesn’t.

4. The Knight and the Dragon (Paperstar Book)

By Tomie DePaola

Recommended Age: 4-8 years

Two characters, a knight and a dragon, are two in a long line of enemies who have fought one another for generations. They follow in their ancestors’ footsteps initially, only to find that all that happens is they both end up hurt. A by-stander suggests that maybe they can use their talents to work together instead of using their skills to fight against one another. Together they open up a BBQ and both the knight and dragon, as well as everyone around them benefit from them learning to work together.

5. Because Amelia Smiled

By David Ezra Stein

Recommended Age: 3-7 years

This book embodies my theme for February this year: Small Acts of Kindness. One small girl, Amelia, smiles. And her simple, kind act creates a chain reaction of kind acts that travels across the world – from Italy to Paris and back to New York. Eventually, her kind act comes full circle to Amelia, causing her to smile, once again. I love that teaches that no matter how old, or how big you are, no matter how small your act, you can leave a positive effect on the world.

6. Freckleface Strawberry: Best Friends Forever

By Julianne Moore 

Recommended Age: 4-8 years

This book covers difficult topics like peer pressure and being different from others. Both Freckleface Strawberry and her best friend Windy Pants discover that despite their differences, they still have a lot in common. And they decide in the end to continue being best friends, despite what their peers think or say. Because when it comes down to it, both Freckleface Strawberry and Windy Pants both enjoy the same things. And they both enjoy each other’s company.

7. Miss Lina’s Ballerinas

By Grace MacCarone, Illustrated by Christine Davenier 

Recommended Age: 3-6 years

This is one of my favorite books for so very many reasons. But for the purpose of the review, I will focus on just one reason: the lesson it teaches about including others. Miss Lina’s ballet class has a routine that works well for them. A new student joins the class and it throws all the girls out of their routine and comfort zone. It takes a little problem solving and working together, but eventually they figure out how to work together and include everyone. The girls discover that working together with their new classmate is better than they thought it could ever be. This cute book includes rhyming, repetition, and even a little math. We’ve checked it out from the library multiple times, and it may just be time to add it to our personal library.

8. Bears on Chairs

By Shirley Parenteau 

Recommended Age: 1-3 years

This is a darling rhyming story with simple illustrations, perfect for extra young readers. The four little bears practice problem solving together so that they are able to share and include everyone, including Big Brown Bear. The two main reasons I love this book: 1). sharing is an important social skill for children to learn and practice and this book illustrates it beautifully, and 2). the bears are so, so cute! Who doesn’t love bears?! Especially with names like Calico Bear, Fuzzy Bear, Yellow Bear, and Floppy Bear.

9. Poindexter Makes a Friend

By Mike Twohy

Recommended Age: 4-8 years

This is a book about checking out a book from the library about making friends. Yes, you read that right. Poindexter is very shy, but he’s a great reader. One day, he meets a turtle at the library who is even more shy than him. The turtle wants to check out a book about making friends, but isn’t a very good reader. They read the book together, and together they practice the four easy steps to making friends: 1). Smile, 2). Introduce yourself, 3). Share, and 4). Be nice. Very cute concept, and great illustration of good social skills.

10. Best Frints in the Whole Universe

By Antoinette Portis 

Recommended Age: 4-7 years

On the alien planet of Boborp, friends are frints, babies are bloppies, and frints play eye ball. This book is filled with bright and bold colors, goofy illustrations, and wacky made-up words. But even on Boborp, frints don’t always get along. Portis describes how two frints resolve their argument and “regrow” their frintship.

Further Reading

For more ideas on kindness and friendship, check out my post Small Acts of Kindness: A New Way to Celebrate Valentine’s Day. For more children’s book reviews, check out my post 8 Must Have Children’s Books About Art.

Questions of the Day:

1. How do you teach your children about making friends?

2. How do you teach your children to work through arguments with friends?

8 thoughts on “10 Children’s Books that Teach Friendship and Kindness

  1. I love the way you have analysed the books.

    Questions of the day: I guess it would be teaching them to share with the other children!

    1. One thing I’ve found I love about being a parent is revisiting things I loved as a child, including some of my favorite books. Thank you for stopping by, Dody!

    1. Many of these books were new to me as an adult as well. I explore the library frequently with my littles – we loved these books when we found them!

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