Books about Making Friends for Ages 3–5 and Caregivers

By Skokie Staff Youth Services

As young children move beyond family, they have the opportunity to make friends. While exciting, making friends requires social and emotional skills and resilience. Here are some of our favorite picture books to foster these skills in a fun way, as well as parent guides.

Note: Originally developed for D69 TOPS Preschool Parent Group.

  • How to Two

    2019 by Soman, David

    This joyous counting book celebrates creative ways to include new friends. One child playing alone becomes two on a seesaw, grows to three jumping rope, until ten children are playing together.

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  • Friendshape

    2015 by Rosenthal, Amy Krouse

    A blue circle, yellow square, red rectangle, and green triangle show all the different ways friends interact with each other through illustrations, dialogue, and simple text. This title is also available as a downloadable video on Hoopla.

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  • How to Grow a Friend

    2015 by Gillingham, Sara

    This story compares building a friendship to growing a plant. Detailed, colorful illustrations and simple phrases about ways to be friends are delightfully featured in this lovely book.

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  • Be a Friend

    2016 by Yoon, Salina

    Dennis, who mimes to express himself, feels lonely and invisible to the other school kids. While kicking an imaginary ball, Joy comes over to catch it, sparking an instant friendship between them.

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  • Manners with Friends

    2016 by Plattner, Josh

    Each page in this short book features a type of etiquette that is used with friends, like saying sorry, giving hugs, and inviting people over to play.

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  • My New Friend Is So Fun!

    2014 by Willems, Mo

    Gerald and Snake fear that Piggie and Brian Bat are having so much fun playing together that they will no longer need them as their best friends. Every book in the Elephant and Piggie series is a showcase for their not always easy, but always wonderful, friendship.

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  • CY Makes a Friend

    2017 by Stephens, Ann Marie

    CY loves to make all kinds of things. One thing he can't make, though, is friends. Scared of venturing out of the house, CY works up the courage to go outside and meet people. Then, he creates something he and a friend can do together.

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  • Mimi and Bear Make a Friend

    2017 by Trasler, Janee

    Mimi and her bear go to the park where they are the best at doing everything. Then one day, they see another child who seems to be the best at doing other things. When the boy hurts himself, Mimi is a friend by helping him.

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  • Will You Be My Friend? A Bunny and Bird Story

    2000 by Tafuri, Nancy

    Bunny asks a bird to be his friend, but the bird is too shy to respond. Until, that is, a storm forces the bird to take shelter in Bunny's hole. When Bunny helps the bird rebuild her nest, the bird sings her new friend a special song of thanks.

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  • All Kinds of Friends

    2018 by Rotner, Shelley

    An array of sweet, colorful photographs and simple phrases showcase all the different places and ways kids become friends.

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  • How to Be a Friend: A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping Them

    1998 by Brown, Laurene Krasny

    Straightforward advice for preschool through early elementary-aged children learning how to navigate new friendships and gain social skills.

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  • Raising the Shy Child: A Parent's Guide to Social Anxiety

    2015 by Fonseca, Christine

    A practical guide for parents who are looking for help with shyness and social anxiety in their child. Fonseca includes worksheets, case studies, and practical advice for helping kids overcome shyness and make friends, and when to seek help.

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  • Socially Strong, Emotionally Secure: 50 Activities to Promote Resilience in Young Children

    2011 by Bruce, Nefertiti

    The fun and easy activities in this book help build resiliency by teaching social skills and building emotional strength.

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