Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Children's Books on Friendship

(*Spoiler Alert* Some book endings are revealed in this post)

There are many children’s books on friendship. Some are about making friends, some are about losing friends and some are about the diversity found in friendship. There are books in every genre and every form on this subject. From picture books to chapter books, from fantasy to historical fiction, there are many books on friendship that are available for children. Here are some that I love, divided into the age groups of ages 1-7 and 8 and up.

Ages 1-7

Do You Want to Be My Friend
by Eric Carle
Eric Carle is one of the best known names in children’s literature. His book Do You Want to Be My Friend? follows a mouse on his journey to find friends. He asks many animals to be his friend but each animal responds with, “No” until the mouse finally finds another mouse to be his friend. This is a book with few words but with brilliant pictures that let young children expand on the story with their own imagination. Do You Want to Be My Friend? is a great book to use to spark a child’s emotional intelligence about friendship. (Ages 1-3)

Will I Have a Friend?
by Miriam Cohen
Will I Have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen, addresses a common fear in children: the fear that they will never make friends. When Jim starts his first day of school, he asks his father if he will make friends. Though his father assures him that he will, Jim is still nervous. Jim doesn’t have much luck finding a friend until after nap time when he meets Paul and they bond over playing with the truck Paul brought to school. Soon, all the kids see them having fun and they want to play as well. This book speaks directly to the anxiety children feel on their first day of school and can be used to help calm those fears. (Ages 4-6)

Other Books on Friendship for Ages 1-7:
  • ·         Flip and Flop by Dawn Apperley (Ages 3-6)
  • ·         The Friendship Wish by Elisa Kleven (Ages 4-7)
  • ·         How to Lose All Your Friends by Nancy Carlson (Ages 4-6)
  • ·         A Rainbow of Friends by P.K. Hallinan (Ages 4-7)

Ages 8 and Up

A Friendship for Today
by Patricia McKissack
A Friendship for Today by Patricia McKissack is about Rosemary, an African American girl who is starting sixth grade in a new, integrated school. She is fine with the idea until her best friend, J.J., comes down with polio and ends up missing a year of school to recover. Rosemary is tormented by white children until she bonds with one of her tormenters, Grace, over an injured cat. Grace and Rosemary then learn to put aside their differences and learn they have more in common than they could have imagined. This is a great book for promoting diversity in friendship. (Ages 9-12)

Charlotte's Web
by E.B. White
Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White, is the ultimate friendship tale. Wilbur is born the runt in the Arable’s litter of pigs. Mr. Arable plans to kill the pig but his daughter, Fern, begs him to spare the pig.  He relents and Fern is allowed to raise the pig until he is too big for the house and must be moved to the Zuckerman’s farm. Still Fern visits Wilbur daily until she finds an interest in boys. Wilbur is heartbroken whenever Fern is not around but soon finds new friends on the farm and the best friend in Charlotte, a spider. Soon Wilbur finds out that he is going to die and become the Zuckerman’s dinner but Charlotte makes it her life’s mission to save Wilbur’s life. Charlotte spins webs with messages to convince the Zuckermans to spare Wilbur and Wilbur’s life is saved but Charlotte’s life has neared its end and Wilbur must say goodbye. This book shows children the power of friendship and also introduces them to the reality that all life ends. Their moral intelligence will be sparked as they realize that friendships can end because friends drift apart, like with Fern, or because of the death of a friend, as with Charlotte. There is hope, however, as the book ends with Wilbur befriending Charlotte’s children and this shows children that, even though they might lose friends, there will always be new opportunities for friendship. (Ages 8-12)

Other Books on Friendship for Ages 8 and Up:
  • ·         All Alone in the Universe by Lynne Rae Perkins (Ages 10+)
  • ·         Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder by Jo Nesbo (Ages 8-12)
  • ·         Ellen Tebbits by Beverly Cleary (Ages 8-10)
  • ·         The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson (Ages 9-12)
  • ·         My Last Best Friend  by Julie Bowe (Ages 8-10)
  • ·         The Secret Language of Girls by Frances O’Roark Dowell (Ages 8-12)

There are so many wonderful books to choose from when focusing on friendship in children’s books. What are some of your favorite children’s books about friendship? 

1 comment:

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