Making Friends through Books  

This article is by Publisher Spotlight intern Tricia LaMorte.

International Day of Friendship is celebrated every year on July 30th. What a great day to show some extra love to your friends, and to teach children to do the same! Whether the kids in your life are trying to make new friends or just want to appreciate their old ones, these picture books are a great way to celebrate the power of friendship.  

What better way to celebrate International Day of Friendship than with a book about friendships that cross borders? Twice as Many Friends, written by Brian Amador and illustrated by Vanina Starkoff, is an English and Spanish singalong book from Barefoot Books about how two languages are better than one. Whether you’re traveling far away or meeting new people who have moved to your city, being able to speak English and Spanish means you can make even more friends! The book provides access to a video animation of the story, as well as audio sung by Sol y Canto

cover image for Twice as Many Friends
Mina Belongs here cover

Even though knowing two languages is certainly wonderful, children don’t have to be able to speak the same language to become friends. For another story of friendship that crosses barriers, check out Mina Belongs Herewritten by Sandra Niebuhr-Siebert, illustrated by Lars Baus, and published by Floris Books. Mina is afraid to start Kindergarten, especially because no one there speaks the same language as she does, but she quickly realizes that this doesn’t have to stop her from making friends and having fun! Just as powerful as the story are its fantastic illustrations, which beautifully represent Mina’s growing confidence and sense of belonging. 

Sometimes, making friends can be hard. Luckily, Bear is here to help in How to Make Friends: A Bear’s Guide written by Cat Rabbit, from Berbay Books. Bear really wants to be friends with Lamb and Koala, but she doesn’t know how to go about it. At first, it seems like they have nothing in common, but eventually they begin to realize how many fun things they can do together! The story is illustrated with images of Rabbit’s amazingly adorable felt characters. 

How to Make Friends cover
Home is Where the Heart is cover image

Home is Where the Heart Is by Jonny Lambert, published by Tiger Tales Books, teaches a heartwarming lesson that can resonate with readers of all ages. Bear and Hare couldn’t be more different, but that doesn’t stop them from being the best of friends. When Bear loses his home in a storm, Hare welcomes him into his own home—and the two quickly learn that having a roommate can be tough. But when they try to go back to living apart, Bear and Hare realize that sometimes, home isn’t a place: it’s a person. 

If you’re looking for more fun forest friends with valuable lessons to teach, look no further than Are We There Yet?, written by Sven Völker and published by Cicada Books. When Bear wakes up from hibernation, his best friend Butterfly invites him on a journey with no destination. Bear is confused, but he agrees to travel with Butterfly. As they venture through the forest together, the two animals share wisdom with each other, and Bear learns that sometimes life isn’t about where you go, it’s about who you go there with.  

Are We There Yet? cover
The Friendship Surprise cover image

The Friendship Surprise, written by Giorgio Volpe and illustrated by Paolo Proietti, is all about making new friends and keeping the old. While his best friend Hazel is hibernating, Little Red makes a new friend: Brock the Badger. When Hazel wakes up, Little Red begins to worry that Hazel and Brock may start to like each other more than they like him. Does having new friends mean risking losing the old ones? This sweet, gentle story from Red Comet Press shows kids that it’s okay to be afraid of losing your friends, but ultimately, friendship is meant to be shared, not kept secret.  

We hope these titles offer you a fun way to celebrate friendship with the young readers in your life! Happy International Day of Friendship!  

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