By TMoM Team Member Ellen Bryant Lloyd

I recently overheard two elementary-age girls at my neighborhood pool discussing the upcoming school year. They had recently learned the name of their teacher and excitedly discussed the friends they hoped would be in their respective classes. Their conversation took me back to my elementary years when I couldn’t wait to learn the same information— who would be my teacher and what friends would be in class with me.

Friends have always been an important part of my life, beginning from a young age. I remember walking into my first-grade classroom, filled with great anxiety. As soon as I saw the smiling faces of several friends, I felt instant relief and had the sense that all would be okay. Throughout the school year, my friendship grew with friends I saw on day one as well as new friends I made. It ended up being a great year.

As a new school year begins, the topic of friendship may come up with your children. They may be excited about seeing old friends or apprehensive about making new friends. I thought this would be an ideal time to introduce a few suggestions for books about friendship — how to make new friends and how to be a friend — for you and your children to explore.

May this be the beginning of a fantastic school year for your children filled with great learning, fun and many friends!

How to Grow a Friend by Sara Gillingham

In this sweet book, the author describes how friendship is much like growing a flower — it takes patience, care, and room to grow. Young readers will quickly embrace the metaphors used to illustrate how friendships blossom in direct correlation to how we treat others. Children will surely find that “growing” friends is not only fun, but also easy!

Big Friends by Linda Sarah

Can a person ever have too many friends? In this book, Birt and Etho are best friends who play fun, adventure-filled games together that include them being pirates who sail across the ocean, astronauts, kings, or soldiers. However, they face the question of expanding their friendship with a new boy who wants to join their friend circle. Will the two let him in and the three become friends? Read and find out!

How Do Dinosaurs Stay Friends by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague

Jane Yolen’s books have been favorites for many years. Her funny, engaging stories always seem to hit the mark in the hearts of young readers. This book features the antics of her familiar Dinosaur friends who learn how to keep a good, healthy friendship by practicing sharing, giving, resolving conflict, and apologizing.

Make a Friend, Be a Friend by Eric Braun

It is true that life is better with friends, but sometimes making friends and keeping friends doesn’t happen as organically for children. This book is a great guide to help create a roadmap for finding and making friends and how to be a good friend. The author even included a section with suggestions for what to do when times between friends are challenging.

How to Spot a Best Friend by Bea Birdsong

This book examines the interesting idea of whether someone can spot a best friend. The little girl in the story announces to her mother that “Today, I will find a best friend.” Despite her mother, telling her that finding a best friend could take some time, especially since it is just the first day of school. The girl confidently replies, “A friend lends you a crayon. A best friend lends you a brand-new, extra-sharp green crayon.” This fun, creative story helps children better understand what it means to be a best friend.


Ellen Bryant Lloyd is a writer and mom of two children, one who has flown from the nest and the other is not far from it. She blogs about perspectives on life and parenting at and tweets at @EllenBLloyd. She is the author of FRECKLES and FRECKLES and The Great Beach Rescue, a freelance writer and memoir ghostwriter. Ellen lives in Greensboro with her husband, her daughter, when she is home from college, and the sweetest dog ever. She looks forward to seeing her son, who is now living and working in a nearby metropolitan city, as often as possible.

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