Picture Books About Friendship! Read Alouds for Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade

November 9, 2021

Social-Emotional Learning is so important in kindergarten, first, and second grade and I find that teaching about these topics is easiest through a read aloud. In today’s post, I want to focus on friendship and what it means to be a good friend.

These picture books are some of my favorites for teaching about friendship in K-2 classrooms. In this post, I share 5 picture books to teach about all the different aspects of friendship (benefits of having a friend, what good friends do, inclusivity, acceptance, etc.) Enjoy! Before I dive in, I wanted to let you know you can watch or listen to all this information in video format below:

To read this post, just keep scrolling! Please note: the book links listed below are Amazon affiliate links, meaning I get a *small* percentage of the sale if you choose to purchase it!

 

Onto my favorite friendship books:

1. Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry

Stick and Stone is a great picture book that emphasizes the importance and value of friendship. 

At the beginning of the story, Stick and Stone are all alone, until they meet up on the playground and start to play together. When Pinecone makes fun of Stone, his new friend, Stick, stands up for him. And later, when Stick gets stuck in a puddle, Stone is able to help move him out of it. Both Stick and Stone are able to see how great their friendship is, and how friends can help you out verbally or physically no matter what happens!

This is a cute little story that shows our students how enriching friendships can be and how our lives are better when we have friends to enjoy it with. To check out the book, just click the image above or head here: Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry

 

2. Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev

Strictly No Elephants is about a little boy and the friendship he has with his pet elephant. They help each other out, never leave one another behind, and encourage one another because that’s what friends do. One day, the boy and his elephant go to pet club day. However, when they show up, they see a sign that says “Strictly No Elephants.” The boy and his elephant are sad that they could not go to pet club day, but then they meet another girl who was also not allowed to go to pet club day with her pet skunk. At the end of the book, they all get together and start a new pet club where everyone is invited. 

Not only is this book a cute story about the friendship between the boy and his elephant, but it is also a great lesson on inclusivity and acceptance. It is a great talking point during the book to discuss how it feels to be left out, and what we should do if someone is being excluded. To check out the book, just click the image above or head here: Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev

Also… If you happen to be a member of my SJT Writing Club, I uploaded story-based writing units for both Stick and Stone and Strictly No Elephants.

 

3. My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems

You can read almost any Elephant & Piggie book and it will fall in the theme of friendship. In this one, in particular, Piggie notices that his best friend, Gerald, is sad. He tries to cheer his friend up by pretending to be a cowboy, a clown, and a robot. At the end of the book, Gerald is so happy to finally see Piggie because he didn’t realize that it was Piggie pretending to be the other characters all along. All it took to make Gerald happy was being with his friend, Piggie.

My Friend is Sad is a cute book about friendship filled with the best of Mo Willem’s humor. You can use this book to ask your students what they would do when their friends are sad, and discuss how it makes them feel when their friends are sad. I mentioned above that any Elephant & Piggie book would be great to use when discussing friendship. Specifically, “Can I Play Too?” and “Should I Share My Ice Cream?” are great books to read aloud and include in your friendship discussions. 

To check out the book, just click the image above or head here: My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems

 

4. The Adventures of Beekle by Dan Santat

The Adventures of Beekle is about Beekle, an imaginary friend, who is waiting for a real kid to choose him as their friend. However, instead of waiting in imaginary land for someone else to choose him, Beekle decides to go on an adventure to make his own friend. At the end of the book, Beekle and Alice become each other’s first friends, and they navigate the world of friendship together.

This is a great book to help some of your more shy students recognize that they don’t have to sit around and wait for friends. Instead, they can take a chance and put themselves out there until they find their own Beekle or Alice. 

To check out the book, just click the image above or head here: The Adventures of Beekle by Dan Santat

 

5. The Sandwich Swap by Kelly DiPucchio

The Sandwich Swap is about two friends, Salma and Lily, who sit together every day at lunch. Lily always has a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and Salma has a hummus and pita sandwich. One day, Lily told Salma that she thinks her sandwich is gross, so Salma tells Lily that she thinks her sandwich is gross. Their hurt feelings turn into anger and the girls get in a big fight over the sandwiches. The fight turns into a big food fight with the whole class until Salma and Lily start to feel bad about their words towards one another and make up. At the end of the book, Salma and Lily swap sandwiches, and they realize that the sandwiches are not gross, in fact, they are both pretty good. 


This book was written by Kelly DiPucchio, but it was also written by Queen Rania of Jordan based on true events from her childhood. It is a great story that shows we should recognize and celebrate each other’s differences.

To check out the book, just click the image above or head here: The Sandwich Swap by Kelly DiPucchio

 

So there are 5 of my favorite read alouds to discuss some different aspects of friendship in a K-2 classroom! Have you read any of these before?! Do you have other books you like reading about friendship? Let me know in the comments!

 

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