I saw this quote on Facebook recently, and I thought it was so true. ” We need to care less about whether our children are academically gifted and more about whether they sit with the lonely kid in the cafeteria.” I had been struggling with finding a theme for this post, and then after reading this and looking through my stack of library books, I realized so many of the ones I want to share with you are about friendship. As the new school year begins, perhaps you’ll want to share some of these with your kids, no matter what their age, to start some conversations about friendship and kindness.
Trent is starting middle school and he’s heard the stories about it being such a rough time. However, after his experience in fifth grade he is hoping that it’s a big improvement and he can make a fresh start! You see, Trent accidently hit his friend with a hockey puck during a casual pickup game, and his friend died. So now, Trent is quite certain everyone in town hates him. He’s never invited over to join the baseball games in the park or to go over to a neighbor’s to play. That could be because he can’t forgive himself. Then after Trent stands up for a girl in the park, Fallon, who is being teased and bullied because of her severe scar, they slowly become friends, but it’s not easy. As you read this book, you’ll find your heart breaking a bit for both of the kids, but you’ll also find yourself feeling very proud of how they tackle their problems.
AR 4.5, Lexia 700 Friendship, bullying, grief, middle grade chapter book
See You Next Year by Andrew Larson and Todd Stewart reminds me so much of our summer vacations each year as I was growing up. Instead of the beach, we went to a lake cottage, but my family established many traditions during that annual trip, just as the main character in this story does. And just like the little girl in the story, we were happy that nothing changed. Our days were long and lazy with lots of outside time, just as hers are. But this year something does change. She makes a friend! It turns out that it’s nice to have someone to build sandcastles with you, to play in the waves with you and to write postcards with you on a rainy day. Reluctantly, on Saturday her family tells her new friend “see you next year” and heads for home. But on Monday when the mail arrives there’s a surprise for the little girl. . . The muted illustrations in the story will make you reminisce about those lazy beach days with your family, and perfectly illustrate this sweet story. If you’re looking for a book to share with your little one that will lead to conversations about your families summer traditions and friendship, this is a great choice.
Friendship, beach vacations, traditions, picture book
Max and Marla are great friends, even though Marla is an owl. Their dream is to be winter Olympians! This story tells the tale of their perseverance and teamwork as they work together to overcome the many obstacles they encounter as they struggle to achieve their goal. In the end, they realize the real prize they have earned is their friendship! The charming water color and ink illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to this endearing story about true friends.
Friendship, teamwork, perseverance, picture book
Ms. Pennypacker, the author of the middle grade Clementine series and the big favorite from the past year, Pax, has written a delightful book about a new fourth grader, Waylon, who is aspiring to be a great science hero, as well as struggling to become the peacemaker, both at home and at school. You see, Arlo Brody, the largest boy in the fourth grade, is dividing the class into two groups. While part of Waylon yearns to be chosen for Arlo’s group, another part of him wants to join his friends in the other group. When Arlo actually picks Waylon, because of his resourcefulness and wacky ideas, Waylon is torn. His friends are in the opposing group and can’t believe that Waylon has deserted them! At home, Waylon is struggling to bring his family back together. They always did everything together, but since his sister, Neon, who just turned 14, is wearing all black and only says “What’s the point?” in response to anything and everything, and wants nothing to do with her family, they are drifting apart.
Waylon is determined to make peace in both his class and his family. It turns out that even though he feels his world is exploding, all he needs is “one awesome thing” to make everything right again! That “one awesome thing” turns out to be Waylon’s friendship, kindness, empathy and perseverance, which brings everyone together again.
This book would be a great read aloud with your child or to a class. It is a great discussion starter about class cliques and groups, bullying, friendship, empathy and kindness. At home, it’s also a book that might help your younger kids gain a better understanding about their older siblings and the struggles they are dealing with in their lives.
P.S. Be sure and notice the endpapers. They are priceless!
Kindness, friendship, family issues, bullying, class cliques, middle grade chapter book Lexia 650 AR 4.0
This picture book is about a very unique and caring friendship between a little boy and his mailbox. Liam really wants mail, but he never receives a thing. Then, one day he had an idea! Maybe if he wrote a letter, the recipient would write back. There was just one problem – he didn’t have anyone to write to. So he decides to write a letter to his mailbox. As soon as he puts the letter into the box, it begins to rattle and shake and suddenly a fire breathing dragon appears, with a tag saying “For Liam”! Liam loved the dragon, so he wrote a thank you note. Not only did he thank the mailbox for his new dragon, but he also asked for more mail. And, my did he receive mail! So many wild and crazy creatures kept arriving that he soon had no more room! Then another idea came to Liam. Maybe his friends were wishing for mail too. He could send mail to every friend he knew! This will bring lots of giggles, but it’s also a great story to provoke a conversation about Liam’s thoughtfulness toward his friends.
Friendship, kindness, humor
Here’s another post about kindness and friendship that you might want to check out.
Kindness Picture Books For Kids
These are just a few books about friendship. There are so many! What are your favorites? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!