For several months now, I’ve been intentionally searching out books about friendship for young children. My daughter is in her preschool years and is beginning to form friendships. To guide her along, I’ve been reading her the books I mention below. As I cultivated this list, I realized that some of the books would be great reminders to older children about the important aspects of friendship.
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Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle shows how important good friends are. When big, important, (and arrogant) Dump Truck gets stuck in the mud, none of the farm animals want to help him because he was rude to them. Ever friendly Little Blue Truck tries to help Dump Truck on his own, but gets stuck too. Now that their good friend is in need, the farm animals pitch in to free the trucks. Dump Truck learns a lesson about the importance of friends.
Little Blue Truck is not just for boys. My daughter loves this character too. We have three of the four books starring Little Blue Truck who never fails to show us that politeness is key.
Otis and the Puppy by Loren Long shows us that we can be brave when we have a friend in need. Otis the tractor enjoys working hard on the farm and playing with his farm animal friends. When the farmer brings home a new puppy, Otis befriends him as well. It isn’t long before Otis discovers that the puppy is afraid of the dark and offers him comfort at nighttime. But one evening, the puppy gets lost in the woods. Even though Otis is also afraid of the dark, his deep concern for his friend forces him to be brave and set out to search for the puppy.
It wasn’t until I was asked to review An Otis Christmas, that I was introduced to the brilliant writing of Loren Long. Her work melts my heart every time. I highly recommend the Otis series and her new one, Little Tree.
Olivia: A Guide to Being a Friend provides direct instruction on how to be a friend. She shows us that good friends play together, share, help each other out, and listen. I love what Olivia’s mom says at the end of the book, “The thing about friends is that all you need is one-but you can never have too many. Your heart grows and grows to fit them all.”
Llama Llama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney shows us how sometimes sharing can be easy, but sometimes it can be hard. Llama Llama has a new friend visiting. At first he doesn’t mind sharing his toys, until his friend plays with Llama’s special dolly. Then disaster ensues as they fight over the toy. Ultimately, Llama Llama realizes that playtime is more fun when we share with our friends.
We are big fans of Llama Llama at our house. He always seems to be going through something that my almost 4 year old can truly relate to. Be sure to check out my review of Llama Llama Gram and Grandpa.
Duck, Duck, Goose by Tad Hills shows us how difficult it can be to bring a third friend into the mix. Duck and Goose are long-time best friends when Duck introduces Thistle to Goose. Goose isn’t quite as enamored with Thistle as Duck is, but he tries to be friendly and play along anyway. Thistle takes over the group, and Goose has decided he’s had enough of the competitive games. He wanders off to play by himself. It isn’t long before Duck misses Goose and their old games, so he goes in search for him. The two are reunited and come up with a clever way to play together and still include Thistle.
This duo never fails to make me smile. We own almost every Duck and Goose book, and I can never decide which is my favorite. Each one is right for its own purpose. If you haven’t become acquainted with these feathery friends from Tad Hills, I suggest you do so soon. You can check out my review and storybook activity to go along with Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin.
Peanut Butter and Cupcake by Terry Border teaches us that sometimes we have to try out different friendships until we find one that truly complements us. Peanut Butter is new to the neighborhood, and he is out looking to make a friend. One by one he meets other foodie kids like Hamburger (walking his hot dogs), Cupcake, and Meatball. Unfortunately for Peanut Butter, they all have very different interests from him. It isn’t until he meets…you guessed it… Jelly, that he finds a companion to play with.
How to Grow a Friend by Sara Gillingham is a metaphorical book about friendship. It compares growing a friend to growing a flower. The flower doesn’t grow from its seed overnight. It needs time and care. You have to chase the bugs away and keep the weeds out. The illustrations, also by Gillingham, do a wonderful job of demonstrating how a friendship blooms despite the weeds and bugs that may occasionally get in the way. This is a great book that kids of ALL ages can use to learn about (or be reminded of) the needs of friendship.
Hopefully these books about friendship will prove helpful if you’re trying to teach children about making friends.