School Library Journal Book Picks: Friendship

Friendship makes the world go around! We all have family, but friends are the families we choose, the people who are in our life because they met us, got to know us, and loved us for who we are! A really good friend helps us be better versions of ourselves, and we help them be better, too! A friend can make a rainy day fun, or a sad moment a bit easier. And friends are like gardens — you have to tend to friendship to help it grow. Take care of your friends.

This list of books that highlight friendship was curated by Kimberly Olson Fakih, Senior Editor, Picture Books at School Library Journal.

Hello, Friend, Hola, Amigo!

Hello, Friend, Hola, Amigo!

A bilingual board book that will have readers singing along, it has the happiest, most inclusive message we can imagine:Welcome everyone into your life, regardless of what they look like and what language they speak! Bright, acrylic illustrations featuring people of all colors make the message pop!
Age Groups: Little Kids, Toddlers
Skills: friendship
Author: by Andrés Salguero and Sara Palacios

Discussion Questions

  • Where are you from?
  • What language(s) do you speak?
  • What does the word friend/amigo mean to you?
  • Do you have any friends who are different from you?
  • What do you play or chat about with your friends?

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What if, Pig?

What if, Pig?

There has never been a friend as kind, fun, and generous as Pig, but he is also a “a Tremendous Worrier, a Porky Panicker, a Proper Nervous Nelly.” Mouse and the many others who feel lucky to count Pig among their friends just want to help. The comic poses and vibrant colors add much-needed levity to this important story about fear, anxiety, and friendship. Young readers will learn that being afraid is a common, temporary feeling, and that they can talk to others about it.
Age Groups: Little Kids, Toddlers
Skills: Feelings, friendship
Author: Linzie Hunter

Discussion Questions

  • What are some words you would use to describe YOUR friends?
  • How do Mouse and Pig's other friends describe him?
  • What is Pig afraid of in the story?
  • Have you ever been worried about a friend? Why?
  • What happens in the story?
  • What do you think we can learn from "What if, Pig?"

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Friendbots: Blink and Block Make a Wish

Block, an earnest, purple, cube-shaped robot, observes Blink, an enthusiastic, blue, sphere-shaped bot, staring at the ground during recess, and Block’s curiosity is piqued. Themes of friendship, acceptance, and shared adventures combine fora colorful, relatable tale, with a small butterfly becoming a third, quieter, friend.
Age Groups: Big Kids, Little Kids
Skills: friendship, Similarities and Differences
Author: Vicky Fang

Discussion Questions

  • This book is a graphic novel/comic. What do you notice about the way the story is told that makes it a graphic novel/comic? What do you think about this style?
  • Describe Blink and Block.
  • Do you have any good friends like the robots in the story?
  • What do the friends wish for? Why?
  • What do the friends discover?

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School Library Journal
Vamos Let's Go to the Market

Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market

Sometimes the very best companion is a dog. Little Lobo is going to the market with his best friend, a dog named Bernabé. The desert town is vibrant with commerce, street vendors, and an array of animal inhabitants. For Little Lobo there is no stopping; he absolutely enjoys greeting acquaintances, delighting in street performances, and fulfilling his job of delivering supplies at the market. Page turns encourage readers to say the Spanish words as they go, advancing Spanish vocabulary and cultural references.
Age Groups: Big Kids, Little Kids
Skills: friendship
Author: Raúl Gonzalez III

Discussion Questions

  • Do you have any pets like Lobo's pet Bernabé?
  • What is special about Bernabé?
  • What happens on the adventure? What do Lobo and Bernabé see at the market?
  • Did you learn any new words from this book? Let's go back and find them to make sure we know what they mean!
  • Do you have any friends you like to go on adventures with?

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Best Friend in the Whole World

Roland, a lonely rabbit, encounters a lone pine cone while walking in the woods. Longing for companionship, Roland names it Milton and brings him home. This picture book is charming in its simplicity and thoughtful in centering empathy as it quietly affirms the specialness of imaginary friends.
Age Groups: Big Kids, Little Kids
Skills: friendship
Author: Sandra Salsbury

Discussion Questions

  • Roland lives a quiet life filled with books, music, and tea parties for one. What does he sometimes feel and why?
  • What does Roland love about his friend Milton?
  • Who is the ‘Best Friend in the Whole World’?
  • Let's talk about what makes a good friend! How can YOU be a good friend to others?

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School Library Journal
Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away

Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away

The heartbreak of moving is explored with tact and generosity. Daniela goes over to her friend Evelyn’s apartment to play just as they do every day, because she is her mejor amiga. They play games, just like always, and laugh, just like always; but the more Daniela talks about their games, the more readers begin to understand that the girls are about to be parted. Simple and easy to understand, even for non-speakers of Spanish, this book has illustrations and context that help with translation.  
Age Groups: Big Kids, Little Kids
Skills: friendship, separation
Author: Meg Medina and illustrated by Sonia Sánchez

Discussion Questions

  • How do Daniela and Evelyn feel in the story?
  • What can we learn from the story about moving and friendship?
  • Have you ever had to move? How did it feel?
  • Have you ever had a friend who moved away? How did it feel?
  • What's similar and different from Daniela and Evelyn's neighborhood and your neighborhood?

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School Library Journal

School Library Journal is the premiere publication for librarians and information specialists who work with children and teens. A source of quality journalism and reviews for more than 60 years, SLJ produces award-winning features and news coverage on literacy, technology, education policy, and other issues of interest to the school library and greater educator community. SLJ evaluates a broad range of resources, from books and digital content to databases, in 6000-plus reviews published annually. 

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