While the desire and need for friendship comes naturally to children, the ability to make and keep friends, and what it means to be a friend, isn’t always so natural. Children need to learn how to be a good friend from positive examples and teaching. Reading children’s books that eloquently demonstrate good friendships, as well as the perils of gossip and other negativity that hinders friendships, is a great way to teach young children how to choose, make and keep friends. Use these great books about friendship to get started.
Nineteen Girls and Me by Darcy Pattinson. When little John Hercules Po starts kindergarten he quickly realizes he is the only boy among a class of twenty students. His older brother is convinced that those girls will turn John Hercules into a sissy. Instead, John learns that friends aren’t decided by gender and he makes nineteen great friends through imaginative play in this endearing book on friendship. Help your child choose and keep friends based on important factors like personality and commonalities, rather than silly “norms.”
The Lion and the Mouse a fable by Aesop. Fables are designed to have a moral to the story, or teach a lesson much like a parable. In this fable, the two unlikeliest creatures somehow find friendship as a tiny mouse frees a thorn from the giant lion’s paw. This fable is a great way to teach children that friendship isn’t about who we are “supposed” to become friends with. Children are reminded through this story that friends come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. This classic is the quintessential friendship story.
Help! A Story of Friendship by Holly Keller. This cute story featuring animal characters is great for young elementary-aged children. It’s sad to see how quickly gossip, little white lies, and silly rumors weave there way between friends in school. This book is a great tale of how these negative friendship-destroyers have no place among friends, or anyone for that matter. Even if you think your child is too young for gossip and rumors, this book may get her thinking about such talk before it ever becomes a problem.
There are dozens of great children’s books that discuss friendship, but these three mom and librarian recommended titles are perfect for instilling the values and importance of friendships with your children. As your child begins really making friends through school, church, and clubs, discuss friendship with him, using these great books as a springboard for all-important friendship conversations.