Picture Books Embracing Dynamic Friendships

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Picture Books Embracing
Dynamic Friendships

Friendships help us develop trustcompassion and a sense of belonging. Lena Aburdene Derhally writes in The Washington Post, “Friendship is often underrated, considering the tremendous impact it has on our well being. Early-childhood friendship is something that is frequently overlooked as a positive developmental influence. We don’t always realize how attached young children are to their friends.”

Harmonious friendships take practice. Arguments and fighting are common occurrences among children. As children grow they will make friends and lose friends and they may not always get along. Through these ups and down children will develop different types of friendships where they can share hobbies, humour and sorrows.

Starting school is one of the biggest time in a child’s life to make new friends. Some children will confidently walk into their new classroom. For others, it is an overwhelming experience. They may hang around the doorway too shy to enter. It can be hard for these children to make new friends because of their fears.

Here are a few tips for shy or nervous children to make friends in any environment, not just school.

Here are a few more resources to help children develop healthy friendships.

Don’t let children be hard on themselves if they find it difficult approaching new children. Their confidence will grow with each new encounter, even if each one doesn’t end with more than an exchange of smiles. Be positive and encouraging!

This collection of picture books encourage children to share, cooperate and see events from a different perspective. The books offer strategies on how to work towards peaceful and good-natured friendships without being spoon fed.

On the Children’s Library Lady Friendship page there are hundreds of friendship picture books and the list will no doubt continue to grow.

Friendship Picture Books

Nia loves Alfie, her pet turtle. But he’s not very soft, he doesn’t do tricks, and he’s pretty quiet. Sometimes she forgets he’s even there! That is until the night before Nia’s seventh birthday, when Alfie disappears! Then, in an innovative switch in point of view, we hear Alfie’s side of the story. He didn’t leave Nia―he’s actually searching for the perfect birthday present for his dear friend. Can he find a gift and make it back in time for the big birthday party?” Abrams Books for Young Readers

“Ideal for all families who have ever heard (or said!) the words “Why can’t you both JUST GET ALONG?!”, here is the story of two young children with VERY different ideas of what they want to play. What starts with an innocent question (“What do you want to play?”) soon veers hilariously toward chaos, as two children engage in the age-old struggle of princesses, ponies, and ballet vs. dinosaurs, dragons, and race cars. Which child will win? Or will both find a way to play nicely together?” Doubleday Books for Young Readers

The animals and humans always knew their tree was special. The trunk was the best place to host championship bingo tournaments, and the branches were perfect for swinging in the shade! But when the tree gets sick, neighbors new and old will have to join forces if they have any chance of saving their treetop home.Crown Books for Young Readers

A little girl sees a shiny new bicycle in the shop window. She hurries home to see if she has enough money in her piggy bank, but when she comes up short, she knocks on the doors of her neighbours, hoping to do their yard work. They all turn her away except for a kindly old woman. The woman and the girl work through the seasons, side by side. They form a tender friendship. When the weather warms, the girl finally has enough money for the bicycle. She runs back to the store, but the bicycle is gone! What happens next shows the reward of hard work and the true meaning of generosity.” Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

“Ever since they were a dot and a speck, Circle and Square have been best friends…. Then someone new comes along: a cool, exciting Triangle. And three starts to feel like a crowd. . . . With their friendship bent out of shape, can they put it back together again?” Balzer + Bray

“When Molly and Mae meet at the train station, two journeys begin: a trip through the countryside and an expedition through the highs and lows of friendship. At first the way is scenic and smooth—and then something goes off track. Can Molly and Mae build a bridge of kindness back to each other?” HMH Books for Young Readers

“We all know nothing rhymes with orange, but how does that make Orange feel? Well, left out, obviously! When a fruit parade gets together to sing a song about how wonderful they are—and the song happens to rhyme—Orange can’t help but feel like it’s impossible to ever fit in. But when one particularly intuitive Apple notices how Orange is feeling, the entire English language begins to become a bit more inclusive.” Chronicle Books

“Birt and Etho are best friends, they play on Sudden Hill, making marvellous contraptions out of cardboard boxes. But then a new boy, Shu, wants to join in too. Birt isn’t sure that he wants Shu to join them. Eaten up with jealousy, he goes home and refuses to come out to play. Until Etho and Shu come to his house with the most marvellous cardboard contraption so far…” Simon & Schuster Children’s UK

“In his strange new room on his big new bed, Brody tosses and turns, holding his stuffed dragon named Horst. His parents can’t help him fall asleep, so he has no choice to go out and search for a better bed. Is it a squirrel’s nest? A cloud? A rowboat on a pond? No, the moon is too bright, and the croaking frogs are too loud, so there’s nothing for it but to go back home and jump into his big new bed, where a friendly dragon makes a perfect pillow.” Disney-Hyperion

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

“When something terrible happens, Taylor doesn’t know where to turn. All the animals are sure they have the answer. The chicken wants to talk it out, but Taylor doesn’t feel like chatting. The bear thinks Taylor should get angry, but that’s not quite right either. One by one, the animals try to tell Taylor how to process this loss, and one by one they fail. Then the rabbit arrives. All the rabbit does is listen, which is just what Taylor needs.” Dial Books

A clever little dog christens himself “Sad” when his humans fail to give him a name. Although they feed him and wash him, they don’t appreciate his many gifts, like his love of singing (“stop that yapping!”). When the people move away and leave Sad behind, Sad is heartbroken. But then a new family with a young boy arrives at Sad’s house in a big truck. Although Sad is initially frightened, it soon becomes clear that the boy is just the right person to make a dog’s life complete with playtime, treats, and a brand-new name: Lucky” Candlewick Press

“Today is Pet Club day. There will be cats and dogs and fish, but strictly no elephants are allowed. The Pet Club doesn’t understand that pets come in all shapes and sizes, just like friends. Now it is time for a boy and his tiny pet elephant to show them what it means to be a true friend.” Simon & Schuster

“Some people had rights, while others had none. Why shouldn’t they have them, too? Two friends, Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, get together for tea and conversation. They recount their similar stories fighting to win rights for women and African Americans. The premise of this particular exchange between the two is based on a statue in their hometown of Rochester, New York, which shows the two friends having tea.” Orchard Books

Perfect for teaming up with a friend, sibling, parent, or caregiver, each easy practice shows how cooperation helps us to imagine, move, and have fun in a whole new way. Includes a back-page guide for parents and caregivers, showing how to do each pose and how to connect them into an easy-to-follow flow.” Sounds True

What are your favourite friendship books? Let me know in the comments!
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