Picture Books that Unite and Promote Diversity and Friendship in the Classroom

Incredible Picture Books That Cultivate Friendship in the Classroom

Introduce your students to the power of friendship with these fun, inspiring picture books about friendship. From stories of teamwork and laughter to tales of individual courage and kindness, these reads will delight and encourage your class.

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Why Read Picture Books about Friendship?

Picture books are an excellent entry-point for teachers and students to open up conversations about friendship, maintain it, and handle different scenarios required in relationship skills.

Picture books help foster acceptance and appreciation, resulting in a more positive and balanced classroom environment.

As well as being great stories, these picture books about friendship offer strategies for working towards good-natured friendships. They illustrate characters sharing, cooperating and seeing events from different perspectives. The books also show the challenges involved in developing and maintaining friendships.

These stories also help children understand that friendship has rewards even in the most challenging times and can help us overcome tough situations. Your students will learn how to be a good friend, the importance of communication, and the need for compromise.

Teaching your students about friendships will help them become well-rounded individuals comfortable expressing themselves, taking the initiative and creating meaningful connections with others.

It’s also important to teach children to recognise when a friendship isn’t healthy or if they feel uncomfortable or unsafe around someone. Reinforce the importance of consent and respect in all relationships, even between friends.

Group of school children looking at the camera

Questions to use with Picture Books about Friendship

  • What characteristics did [character] have that made them a good friend?
  • What characteristics was [character] looking for in a friend? Why?
  • Why was it essential that [character] cooperated with [character]? Do you think [character] could complete the task by themselves?
  • What was the relationship between [character] and [character]?
  • How could [character] put aside their feelings towards [character] to work together? Why is it sometimes hard to cooperate?
  • In what ways did [character] depend on others?
  • How can positive friendships with others help us overcome difficult situations?
  • What characteristics make up a good/healthy/positive relationship?
  • What are the benefits of a good/healthy/positive relationship?
  • How can your actions affect relationships with others?
  • How does (honesty, communication, empathy, etc.) affect friendships?

Children's Books about Friendship

Albert's Quiet Quest by Isabelle Arsenault

Albert wants a quiet place to immerse himself in his books. However, his quest for solitude is disrupted by the antics of his friends.

Albert’s Quiet Quest sparks conversations on respect for other’s needs, the importance of silence, finding a balance between social interaction and personal space, and the power of a good book.

Alone! by Barry Falls

Albert wants a quiet place to immerse himself in his books. However, his quest for solitude is disrupted by the antics of his friends.

Albert’s Quiet Quest sparks conversations on respect for other’s needs, the importance of silence, finding a balance between social interaction and personal space, and the power of a good book.

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.

Be a Friend promotes open-mindedness, relationship skills and self-esteem.

The Boy with Flowers in His Hair by Jarvis

David has flowers in his hair and is sweet and gentle, and everyone likes him. David comes to school with a hat covering the flowers, which have turned bare and prickly. His classmates make flowers for David, which helps him feel like himself again.

The Boy with Flowers in His Hair explores friendship, being yourself, acceptance, coping strategies, compassion, thoughtfulness, and understanding others.

A Day So Gray by Marie Lamba

A fed-up girl only sees winter’s grey and dull colours on a cold day. Her optimistic friend encourages her to look closely at her surroundings. She takes her time and starts to see orange berries, blue water, purple shadows, and much more!

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

The Day You Begin illustrates the importance of sharing our personal stories, expressing that we sometimes feel like outsiders and how the courage to be ourselves connects us with others.

This book facilitates discussions on empathy, identity, a sense of belonging, a growth mindset, open-mindedness, self-awareness, and self-esteem.

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

Chloe and her friends consistently exclude the new girl, Maya, until a powerful lesson on kindness makes Chloe reconsider her actions.

Each Kindness explores the importance of relationship skills, the value of inclusion, the impact of bullying, the power of kindness, and the need for self-reflection.

Emmett and Caleb by Karen Hottois

Emmett and Caleb are as close as can be, yet their different personalities lead to misunderstandings. They always find a way back to each other, valuing their friendship over their differences.

Emmett and Caleb illustrate that friendships might face ups and downs, but forgiveness, understanding, and communication are key to maintaining them.

Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away by Meg Medina

Evelyn and Daniela must part ways as Evelyn’s family moves to a new home. Their last day is full of play and laughter in their favourite places, reminding them that distance doesn’t spell the end of true friendships.

Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away explores cherishing and creating memories, building resilience amidst change, adapting to new circumstances, and transitioning to a new home.

Flora's Magic House by Binette Schroeder

A lonely doll named Flora yearns to see the world. Her wish comes true when a gust of wind lifts her paper house, taking her and her friends on an unexpected journey. During their adventures, Flora realises the importance of her friends.

Flora’s Magic House invites discussions on adventure, friendship, contentment, and the joy of discovery.