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Engaging Picture Books about Loneliness vs Solitude
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Picture books help your students explore big feelings and situations in a way that’s both manageable and relatable. In this post, you can explore picture books about loneliness vs solitude and how they differ.

Engaging Picture Books about Loneliness vs Solitude

Loneliness vs Solitude

  • Solitude can be a time of personal growth and reflection.
  • Loneliness can lead to feelings of isolation and sadness.
  • Solitude fosters creativity and productivity.
  • Loneliness can be a sign that something is wrong.

Why Read Picture Books about Loneliness and Solitude?

Feelings of loneliness are normal, and many children suffer from some form of isolation. Read these picture books about loneliness as discussion starters to help your students understand they are not alone. 

They will see characters learn to deal with feelings of isolation and uncertainty by making new friends, talking with adults and starting new hobbies. 

The picture books can also help your students understand loneliness vs solitude. The books show how someone might feel when lonely and also help them figure out what to do in this situation. 

Other books show characters enjoying their solitude and taking time for themselves. Your students must understand the difference between loneliness and solitude to decide what support they may or may not need.

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Picture Books about Loneliness and Solitude

Albert’s Quiet Quest by Isabelle Arsenault

Albert just wants a quiet place to read but is distracted by his friends playing around him. He finally loses his cool and shouts at everyone to be quiet. His friends quietly move away from Albert, who now feels a little lonely. But soon, he is surrounded by his friends, who have fetched their chairs and books to read with Albert.

Read Albert’s Quiet Quest to promote discussions on imagination, friendship, silence, and the joy of reading.

Albert's Quiet Quest by Isabelle Arsenault

Alone! by Barry Falls

Billy McGill lives at the top of the hill. He enjoys his peaceful life. But the squeak of a mouse put an end to that. Het gets a cat to catch the mouse, but the pair become unlikely friends. Barry gets more and more animals to get rid of the other animals he previously bought. Soon the house was full of animals. Will Billy stick around o move out to regain his peaceful life?

Read Alone! to promote discussions on frustration, self-reflection, problem-solving, thinkers, and peace and quiet.

Alone! by Barry Falls

Be a Friend by Salina Yoon

Dennis looks at the world differently but is lonely and misunderstood by his classmates. In the playground, Dennis kicks “an IMAGINARY ball…” and is surprised when a girl kicks it back, starting a new friendship.

Promotes open-mindedness, relationship skills and self-esteem.

Be a Friend by Salina Yoon

Beegu by Alexis Deacon

Beegu is lost on Earth. Despite her friendly nature, she finds the Earth unwelcoming, except for a litter of puppies and a group of children.

Reinforces themes of acceptance, belonging, differences, friendship and loneliness.

Beegu by Alexis Deacon book cover

Big Wolf and Little Wolf by Nadine Brun-Cosme

Translated from French, Big Wolf & Little Wolf by Nadine Brun-Cosme is a touching book about the courage to make new friendships, adaptability, and open-mindedness.

Big Wolf & Little Wolf by Nadine Brun-Cosme

Birdsong by Julie Flett

Katherena moves with her mother to a small town. She feels isolated, so she explores her surroundings getting to know her elderly neighbour, Agnes. They share a passion for art, birds and nature. Over time, Agnes’ health begins to fail, and Katherina finds a way to share the outdoors with Agnes.

Promotes discussions on indigenous communities, moving to a new home, loneliness, empathy, and intergenerational relationships.

Birdsong by Julie Flett

A Boy Named Isamu by James Yang

Isamu, an introverted young boy, finds the world around him noisy and busy. He explores nature in curious and creative ways. He grew up to be an artist, Isamu Noguchi, who made sculptures influenced by the nature he explored as a child.

Read A Boy Named Isamu to promote discussions on creative thinking, curiosity, wonder, introverts, asking questions, point of view and second-person narration.

A Boy Named Isamu by James Yang

The Dog Who Found Sorrow by Rūta Briede

A black dog helps children understand negative emotions and thoughts. No matter how sad or angry we are, we can find happiness. 

This translated book promotes discussions on self-management, loneliness, empathy, depression, and dealing with negative thoughts and feelings.

The Dog Who Found Sorrow by Rūta Briede

The Earth Shook: A Persian Tale by Donna Jo Napoli

In Iran, Parisa is woken by a powerful earthquake. She finds everything around her has been destroyed. Frightened, Parisa knocks on some doors, only to be faced with animals who have previously been hurt by humans. Alone, she dances, laughs, cooks food and waters the plants. One by one, the distrustful animals gradually come to join her.

Read to discuss risk-taking, sharing, resilience, loneliness and courage.

The Earth Shook: A Persian Tale by Donna Jo Napoli

Ella and the Waves by Britta Teckentrup

Ella sits alone in a boat, battling high waves. When a voice from beneath the water tells her she has to sail through the high waves, Ella is afraid. But there are other voices, voices of encouragement. A white bird, a pod of porpoises and a gentle whale help Ella face her fears with courage. When the seas calm, she sees other boats all travelling in the same direction as her, heading to new possibilities.

Read Ella and the Waves to promote discussions on encouragement, hope, courage, loneliness, and overcoming fears.

Ella and the Waves by Britta Teckentrup

The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith

The light of a star helps a lonely Fox forage for beetles, chase rabbits, and dance in the rain’s tapping beat. One day, Star isn’t there, and everything changes. Fox sets out to find the star. Tired from his journey, he falls asleep. On awakening, the fox looks up to see a sky full of stars and his heart burst with happiness.

The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith

The Ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon by Aaron Blabey

Annabelle Spoon haunts the town of Twee, and the townspeople are fed up. They want her gone. Herbert Kettle takes the time to listen and realises all Annabel Spoon wants is a friend.

Read The Ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon to start discussions on compassion, acceptance, loneliness and a sense of belonging.

The Ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon by Aaron Blabey

Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon

Musicians Herman and Rosie were both lonely. Herman hears Rosie singing from the street, and Rosie hears Herman playing the Oboe from the building next door. Rosie follows the music one day until they meet, and a new friendship begins.

Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon

Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer

Imaginary Fred appears when a lonely child wishes hard enough for a friend. This time it is Sam. They have a special relationship, but Fred expects to fade away when Sam makes a new friend, Sammi. But Sammi has her own imaginary friend, Frieda, and the group does everything together.

Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

Brian struggles to make himself stand out. When he befriends a new student from Korea, she helps him grow in confidence and feel less invisible.

Promotes themes of loneliness, kindness and relationship skills.

The Invisible Boy Activities and Comprehension Questions

I Go Quiet by David Ouimet

In a dystopian-looking place, a shy girl struggles in the world of noise. She sees herself as insignificant and finds solace in the pages of books. ‘When I read, I know there is a world beneath my branches.’ In her imagination, her words are powerful, and she realises that when she finds the courage, her words will have meaning in the real world.

I Go Quiet by David Ouimet

King of the Sky by Nicola Davies

This is the first of two books about picture books about belonging by Nicola Davies. A lonely Italian boy moves to the Welsh countryside. An unexpected friendship with an old man who races pigeons helps him feel like he is no longer a stranger and that he belongs in his new home.

Read King of the Sky to start discussions on belonging, friendships, immigration, loneliness, and patience.

King of the Sky by Nicola Davis

Like a Wolf by Géraldine Elschner

A dog chained up in a rescue centre tells the reader it is lonely and sad. Everyone fears the dog, but he just wants to be free. One day, a man comes to the centre and sees potential in the dog. He takes the dog home to become a sheepdog. The dog lives up to its potential and flourishes in its new home.

Read Like a Wolf to promote discussions on assumptions, making judgements, tolerance, fears, perception, loneliness, point of view, belonging, freedom and decoding illustrations.

Like a Wolf by Géraldine Elschner

A Lion in Paris by Beatrice Alemagna

This is the first of two books about loneliness by Beatrice Alemagna. After a weary day exploring Paris, a lion finds the perfect place to call his new home – on the plinth where the real lion statue at the Place Denfert-Rochereau, stands today.

Promotes a sense of belonging, curiosity and loneliness.

A Lion in Paris by Beatrice Alemagna

The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright

A timid mouse attempts to make himself heard after being ignored by other animals. The mouse realises that first impressions are not always what they seem as he develops a new friendship.

Promotes risk-taking, courage, independence and self-awareness.

The Lion Inside Activities and Comprehension Questions

The Lonely Book by Kate Bernheimer

A lonely library book sits on a shelf until a girl takes it home. Separated, the book and the girl wonder what happened to each other. Will they be reunited?

The Lonely Book by Kate Bernheimer

Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers

When a boy finds a penguin at his door, he sets out to help the sad-looking bird find its way home. After dropping the penguin on the ice, he starts his journey home. It felt strange to be alone, so he searched for the penguin. After a fruitless search, the boy returns home only to discover the penguin searching for the boy.

Promotes compassion, loneliness and a sense of belonging.

Lost and Found Activities and Comprehension Questions

Lotus and Feather by Ji-li Jiang

Lonely Lotus cares for Feather, a crane injured by a bullet. They grow closer, and the crane follows Lotus everywhere. One day, the little girl knew she had to let Feather migrate with the other cranes.

Promotes discussions on empathy, kindness, loneliness and friendship.

Lotus and Feather Ji-li Jiang

Me and My Fear by Francesca Sanna

A girl’s fear and anxiety grow when she moves to a new country. She feels isolated and worries about making new friends because of the language barrier. Her anxiety eases when she finds a new friend who has his own fears.

Use to discuss coping with change and anxiety, immigration, fears, and making friends.

Me and My Fear by Francesca Sanna

Meesha Makes Friends by Tom Percival

Meesha finds it hard to make friends because she struggles to read and respond to social cues. It takes an overwhelming situation for her to realise her special skills can help her make friends. 

Promotes self-esteem, relationship skills, and mental and emotional well-being.

Meesha Makes Friends Activities and Comprehension Questions

Oliver by Birgitta Sif

Oliver loves playing with his friends and a collection of toys. He enjoys solitude, and with his vivid imagination, he is never bored. A chance encounter with Olivia helps him realise having a real friend is not too bad.

This Amnesty-endorsed book promotes individuality, making friends, self-acceptance, play and imagination.

Oliver by Birgitta Sif

On a Magical Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna

This is the second of two books about loneliness by Beatrice Alemagna. It’s pouring rain, and a girl wants to play computer games. She rushes outside when her mother tries to take the game off her, only for her to drop it in a freezing cold pond. Despite her disappointment, she curiously explores the surrounding nature feeling like “the whole world seemed brand new as if it had been created right in front of me.”

On a Magical Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna

The Only Child by Guojing

In this wordless graphic novel, a lonely girl runs away from home to visit her grandma. On her way, she finds herself in a magical and wonderful world after befriending a mysterious stag. But she starts worrying about how she will find her way home.

The Only Child by Guojingy

The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry

This is the first of two books about loneliness by Beth Ferry. An old scarecrow successfully keeps all the animals away from his field until a baby crow crashes at his feet. Having never known friendship, the lonely scarecrow adopts and cares for the fragile bird. A loving bond develops between two should be rivals and lasts for many years.

The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry

Singing Away the Dark by Caroline Woodward

A brave girl narrates how she walks a mile to the school bus stop daily. She travels through the morning darkness with sights and sounds that frighten her. Instead of being afraid, she sings away the dark and her fears. Use to discuss courage, fears and resilience.

Singing Away the Dark by Caroline Woodward

Small in the City by Sydney Smith

In this practically wordless book, a girl searches a large, desolate city covered in snow while her mother waits at home. Initially, it seems she is talking to the reader, explaining how to survive in the city, but we later find out she is talking to her lost cat. Use to promote different perspectives and points of view.

Small in the City by Sydney Smith

Stina by Lani Yamamoto

Translated from Icelandic. Stína lives in Iceland but does not like the cold. She loves being at home and is inventive in keeping warm. She curiously watches children playing in the snow and wonders how they deal with the coldness of the snow. Stina soon finds out and makes new friends in the process.

Reinforces themes of courage, friendship, ingenuity, creativity and isolation.

Stina by Lani Yamamoto

Sumi’s First Day of School Ever by Soyung Pak

Sumi is overwhelmed on her first day of school because she doesn’t speak English. A kind teacher helps Sumi discover that school may not be as lonely and scary as she first thought.

Sumi's First Day of School Ever by Soyung Pak

Suri’s Wall by Lucy Estela

Read about the impact of war and the separation of families. This story is relevant today but also reflects on past conflicts’ effects.

Read Suri’s Wall to start discussions on immigration, loneliness and conflicts.

Suri’s Wall by Lucy Estela

Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry

This is the second of two books about loneliness by Beth Ferry. Captain Swashby loves living alone by the sea. When a young girl and her grandma move next door, he wants them to leave. He writes them notes in the sand which the sea washes away. His disappearing messages force him to talk with his new neighbours.

Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry

The Tree Keepers by Gemma Koomen

Sylvia, a little Tree Keeper, finds it hard to make friends. When she befriends a lost baby starling called Scruff, she learns what it means to find comfort in the company of others.

Promotes discussions on community, isolation, trust, making friends and relationship skills.

The Tree Keepers by Gemma Koomen

Once There was a Boy by Dub Leffler

An aboriginal boy who seemingly lives alone on an island meets a girl. “The boy dropped all his sapotes on the ground in surprise – one of them landed in the girl’s hands. She took a huge bite.” What follows is a story of temptation, broken trust, reconciliation, forgiveness and friendship.

Once There Was a Boy by Dub Leffler

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas

A lonely man delivers messages found in bottles in the sea. His loneliness grows as his wish to receive a message is never realised. When he finds a message with no name, he wonders how to deliver it he starts an amazing chain of events.

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas

The Visible Sounds by Yin Jianling

MiLi has been deaf since the age of two. Anxious and lonely, living in a silent world, she learns how to overcome her frustrations. She learns she can ‘hear’ the world differently by using her other senses. A chance touch led MiLi to discover she had a talent for dancing.

Read this story, based on the life of Chinese dancer Lihua Tai, to discuss overcoming adversity, loneliness, hope, achieving our dreams, and self-awareness.

The Visible Sounds by Yin Jianling

The Visitor by Antje Damm

One day a blue paper aeroplane flies through Elsie’s window. Hearing a knock at the door, she opens it to a boy asking for his plane. An unexpected friendship develops and brings colour and light to Elsie’s lonely life.

Read to discuss overcoming fears, cause & effect, relationship skills and risk-taking.

The Visitor by Antje Damm

What Next?

What picture books about loneliness and solitude do you read in your classroom or library? Let me know in the comments.

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