This post is part of the Back to School Ideas and Activities series from All Things Kids. See the end of this post for more details and to link up your own back to school posts!
I was provided a complimentary copy of Never Say A Mean Word Again for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.
When I was a kid, I was always excited but also anxious at the start of every school year. One of my biggest worries was about making friends in my new class. Learning to make friends is an important social skills, so talking through this process through books can help kids with this social hurdle and set them up for a great school year. Here is a list of some of our favorites:
Children’s Books About Making New Friends
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
This is a gorgeously illustrated book about the rewards of friendship. Once the Rainbow Fish learns to be generous and share his beautiful scales with others, he learns that the friendships he gains are worth much more. You can also read a review of the whole Rainbow Fish series.
When we received this book from Wisdom Tales, I was hooked. A children’s story set in Medieval Spain? Count me in! But I wasn’t sure my preschooler would be as interested. Turns out he loves this book. Despite the exotic setting, the story is told in such a way that any child can easily relate to it. How do you handle someone who seems determined to be your enemy? What to do when you are given the chance to take revenge? The lengths the boy in this tale goes through to put his enemy in his place – and the surprising results – make this a page turner that teaches an important lesson finding a peaceful path through conflicts.
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
Monkey and I both adore this book. It came along at the perfect time for us, when he was having trouble with anxieties about school. He could identify with Wemberly, who worried all the time, about everything from loose screws on the swings at the playground to whether anyone would come to her birthday party. But school was the biggest worry of all for Wemberly, until one day she had to face her fear – and ended up making a new friend, who helped her to worry less and enjoy herself.
Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes
This is another gem from Kevin Henkes. Chester reminds me quite a bit of Monkey: He has certain ways he likes to do things – and luckily his best friend Wilson likes to do things exactly the same way. They are two peas in a pod, content with only each other’s company – until Lily moves into the neighborhood. Chester and Wilson must learn to get along with someone who does things differently – and in the end come to appreciate her “strange” ways.
The Brand New Kid by Katie Couric
I came upon this book by chance, when I was looking for children’s books about Hungary. Lazlo, the brand new kid at school, is from Hungary, and everything about him seems just too weird for the other students. They tease him mercilessly until one day a fellow student realizes the damage they have done and decides to reach out. I love this book because it is fairly realistic about what a new kid – especially one that really sticks out from the rest – must endure, and the power of just one person taking a stand and becoming a friend. And yes, the author is that Katie Couric. I was not sure what to expect, but I was really impressed. The rhymes are sometimes a bit strained, but the overall message is great, and my son and his friends loved the book.
Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems
We love Mo Willems, so I was happy to find this book about a monster who is just not scary! Poor Leonardo does his best to terrify people, but with no luck until he finally discovers a boy whom he can make cry. But when Leonardo finally does, instead of being happy he feels badly and decides he would rather be his friend and make him smile.
Dear Whiskers by Ann Whitehead Nagda
I cannot say enough good things about this book! It is too advanced for Monkey, as it is a chapter book aimed more towards middle elementary school students. It is the story of a girl who discovers how to fit in by helping a younger student make friends. Fourth grader Jenny is disappointed when her second grade penpal turns out to be a new girl from Saudi Arabia who speaks little English and acts strangely. But as Jenny searches for ways to connect with Sameera, she helps the little girl’s classmates look at the new girl differently as well and, in the end, makes a new friend.
Today the bloggers of All Things Kids are bringing you a series of great Back to School Ideas and Activities. Be sure to check out all the links!
But we also want to see your great back to school ideas! Share them below: