Friendship is an abstract concept for little minds to grasp. What does a friend do? What does being a good friend look, sound and feel like? What does it mean to “be kind?” Thankfully, there are amazing books out there to help! Check out these five amazing books on being kind and being a better friend.
Preschool Books About Friendship and Being Kind
Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry
This amazing little book tells a very simple story in a few rhyming phrases. Stone and Stick are lonely, until Stick “sticks up” for Stone when Pinecone teases him. Then Stone helps Stick out of a tough spot. The adorable illustrations in this will captivate even the youngest students while showing them what a good friend is like.
Extending the Learning: Having a concrete thing to link to the main idea can be a great way to help students remember the story and the message. Check out our “pet rock” activity!
“When you are kind to others, it not only changes you, it changes the world.” – Harold Kushner
Llama Llama and the Bully Goat by Anna Dewdney
The Llama Llama books are amazing, and this one is no exception. Little Llama’s preschool class has to deal with Gilbert, a bully goat, and show him how to be kind instead of a bully. This book is particularly nice as it shows that bullies can change when shown kindness, as well as showing students how to deal with mean behavior from others.
Extending the Learning: Have the children pair up and come up with their own examples of kind friend behavior vs. unkind friend behavior to show the class.
Pete the Cat and the New Guy by James Dean
Pete the Cat and his cool friends are intrigued by the “New Guy” that just moved in. He looks different, and no one can quite figure out what he’s good at. But the friends persist and discover an amazing thing that this new guy can do. The message of this story is great: all of us are special in our own way!
Extending the Learning: Make an interactive bulletin board matching each character with what they are good at. Go the extra mile and add in your students by putting photos of them into the mix as well as what they are best at!
Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev
An elephant as man’s best friend? This book embraces friendship and being unique. When the main character tries to take his best buddy to the Pet Club, they are rejected at the door. Instead of giving up, they find others that don’t quite fit in the mold and make their own group. One of the best parts of this book is that it demonstrates true friendship and kindness in the actions of the main character and his pet elephant.
Extending the Learning: Have a special day where students can bring in a stuffed animal and have their own “pet club.” Each student can take a turn explaining why their pet is special.
Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller
When a classmate spills grape juice on her dress at snacktime, the main character struggles with finding ways to be kind and make her feel better. Some of those attempts don’t quite work out, but through persistance, she helps the Tanisha feel better in the end. Demonstrating persistance, the main character realizes that maybe she cannot solve Tanisha’s problem, but she can do small things to help her feel better, and those acts of kindness add up.
Extending the Learning: Start a kindness jar in your classroom. Whenever you catch someone being kind, put in a pom-pom. When the jar is filled, have a celebration!
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu
The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates
This beautiful, simply told picture book clearly illustrates for young children (and for ALL of us) that there is always room for more friends, under the umbrella and metaphorically in our world. Amy June Bates wrote and illustrated this picture book with her daughter Juniper in the fall while walking together in the rain.
Gemma and I had the absolute pleasure of hearing Amy speak about the process of creating this book, and then, of course, we had to get an autographed copy. It has become one of our favorites for reading with our students whenever there is a comment such as, “You can’t play here.”
“When you have more than you need, build a bigger table – not a higher fence.”