A new boy recently started in Owen's preschool class. He's kind, friendly, and enthusiastically wants to engage in play with Owen. Owen, on the other hand, is struggling to figure out this new and unexpected friendship. He often runs away when this boy is near or struggles with sharing his toys and play space.
In the past year, Owen has come a long way in controlling his emotions and behaviors. But, I see him struggling to navigate this new world of creating friendships, being a good friend, and accepting differences in others.
Making friends and exploring friendships is an important part of growing up. It's through a lot of practice - and mistakes - where kids truly learn what it takes to be a good friend. In our parenting quest to guide him, we've discovered these really great preschool children's books about friendship.
Children's Books about Friendship - Elephant & Piggie
Hands down, my favorite children's books about friendship are the Elephant & Piggie books by Mo Willems. Using simple words and lots of facial and body expressions, Willems spins engaging stories about common friendship "stuff." Owen just loves listening to these books and even reading along. Here are a few of our favorites:
- "Are You Ready to Play Outside?" Piggie is so excited to play with Gerald (Elephant) outside until it rains on his parade. See how some worms and a good friend save the day! Kids will learn the importance of having friends while learning how to be a good one.
- "A Big Guy Took My Ball" When a big guy takes Piggie's ball, Gerald is unsure if he can stand up for his friend. In a funny twist, kids will discover the importance of not jumping to conclusions and how to include others.
- "My New Friend Is So Fun!" Piggie and Brian are new friends. Gerald and Snake are so happy their best friends are playing together until they begin to worry that maybe they are having too much fun. Kids will explore how to be okay with letting a special friend play with someone else.
- "Should I Share My Ice Cream?" Gerald has a big decision to make about sharing. Kids will relate to Gerald's struggle to share something that's special to him and see how friendship involves receiving as well as giving.
Other Favorite Preschool Books about Friendship & Caring
- "Leonardo, the Terrible Monster" This is another one by Mo Willems that I have to include on this list. Leonardo's goal in life is to scare the "tuna salad" out of someone but he's just not scary. When he finally finds the "perfect candidate," he learns that maybe scaring people isn't as fun as being a friend.
- "Llama Llama and the Bully Goat" Llama isn't so sure what to do when Gilroy Goat starts teasing him and throwing sand at him at school. Eventually, he remembers how to deal with bullies and also learns a lesson in forgiveness and moving on.
- "Cloud's Best Worst Day Ever" When Cloud's best day turns into the worst day, he takes his anger out on his friends. See how he learns that it's okay to be mad but not mean and also how to say "I'm sorry" to his friends.
- "Gossie & Gertie" Gossie and Gertie are best friends. Using simple illustrations and text, kids will love seeing how being best friends doesn't always mean liking to do the same things.
- "Elmer and Rose" Elmer, the patchwork elephant, and his cousin learn a valuable lesson about being different and fitting in.
- "Frog and Toad" This collection of storybook classics tell timeless tales of friendship.
There are so many more that I could have included on this list but it's a great start!