We all wish to teach our children to create authentic relationships with others and spread kindness in the world. Literature is a wonderful way to convey this message because children can see themselves in the characters and identify with their journeys – the stumbles as well as the triumphs. Stories can make a lesson more memorable and often use humor to get a point across. Here are some wonderful new books about being a true friend to share with your children and students.
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Children’s Books About Being a True Friend
From picture books to a graphic novel and a magical middle grade novel, here are fantastic new children’s books about being a true friend.
South is a beautiful, sparsely told story about the friendship between a fisherman and the injured bird he nurses back to health. Since the bird cannot fly south for the winter, the fisherman makes the long journey to take him there himself. Over time, they form a close friendship, yet when the time comes, the fisherman knows he must say goodbye to his new friend and return home. This is a lovely story about the sacrifices we make for others, and the intangible rewards we receive in return. This is bound to become one of your child’s favorite books about being a true friend.
Prince and Pirate are as opposite as any two fish can be. Prince is used to the royal treatment, while Pirate is accustomed to a livelier sort of life. But what they have in common is a desire to be in charge, so when they are forced to share the same tank, sparks are sure to fly! The extremes these clashing tank-mates will go to in order to outdo the other will have your little ones laughing with every page. But the twist comes when a newcomer joins their tank, and Prince and Pirate unexpectedly find themselves banding together to help a little fish feel at home.
I’m so pleased to be working for the first time with Bryson’s Books, who shared with me The Mouse Who Lost His House, a little gem about animals coming together to help someone in need. When Mouse loses his house to a tornado, the other animals join forces to help him build a new home. This is a sweet story that children will love about generosity and lending a helping hand. It would be perfect to share with children to teach them to always “look for the helpers” after a disaster.
The only bit that threw me off is that many of the animals are quite out of their natural habitat – such as the elephant, who is definitely not a woodland creature. However, that is something a grownup book reviewer would notice, not a child, who would just be happy to see the animals they love in a story!
I actually had quite a bit of trouble reviewing Cosmic Commandos because as soon as it arrived in the mail, my 7 year old snatched it out of my hands, and it was a very long time before I managed to wrestle it back from him. (Okay, okay, I sneaked it out of his room while he was sleeping!) And it’s easy to see why he loves it so much – it is a fun, fast paced graphic novel all about a boy who finds his favorite video game coming to life around him.
On one hand, this is a rollicking adventure, as Jeremy must learn to defeat the obstacles that appear as he advances through the levels of the game each day. But at its heart, it is an exploration of the bond between siblings, as Jeremy confronts his troubled relationship with his twin Justin and learns to ask for help from this annoyingly perfect brother. (And Justin tries to understand why the brother he loves always rejectsWith time, Jeremy and Justin learn to see their differences as strengths and begin to work together as a team, deepening their relationship and choosing to become friends. From the illustrator of the amazing series Ordinary People Change the World Series (see, for example, I am Rosa Parks (Ordinary People Change the World)).
I also have a wonderful middle grade novel to share: Tumble & Blue is due out next week in hard cover, and it’s a book your older kids won’t want to miss. Everyone has felt from time to time that there is just someone wrong with them, but Blue really is cursed and who knows exactly who is to blame – his own ancestor. Greed caused him to break the blessing he received from the golden alligator deep in the bayou that fateful night so long ago, as he and another tried to split the fate the alligator offered. As a result, their descendants received mixed fates: some had golden lives, while others, like Blue, were cursed. Each is cursed or blessed in his own unique way – one girl has a magic touch with animals, while her twin sister is afflicted with the opposite curse of being constantly attacked by animals. Blue’s father, a race car driver, wins every race, yet Blue is cursed with losing everything he attempts – from simple card games to fights with a bully.
When Blue’s father unceremoniously dumps him at his grandmother’s house one night then disappears, Blue comes face to face with his quirky extended family – and the possibility that one of them can change their fate forever. Blue soon becomes friends with another cursed child, Tumble, and they decide to travel deep into the bayou to confront at last the golden gator and demand an end to the cycle once and for all. But can two bad luck kids succeed where others have failed? Or is Blue fated to disappoint his winning father forever?
This is a wonderful adventure story with just the right touch of magic to make this otherworldly story believable. The characters are richly painted, with all of their hangups, missteps, and strokes of heroism. Readers will root on this unlikely pair as they search out a different fate for themselves and come to understand the family ties woven into the fabric of their story.
Do you have favorite children’s books about being a true friend? Share in the comments!