Books by Theme

Best Friends

Friends fill a special place in a child's life. Fun, secrets, happiness, and sorrows are all better when shared with a buddy, teammate, or pal. Share these recommended books with kids ages 0-9 and together celebrate the way friends know how to stay close, no matter what.

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

A Letter to Amy

By: Ezra Keats
Illustrated by: Ezra Keats
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Peter finds a special way to invite Amy, the only girl and a singular friend, to his birthday party. But the wind catches his letter just as he puts it in the mailbox. Keats' well-liked character (first introduced in A Snowy Day) is back for another everyday drama.

Charlotte's Web

By: E.B. White
Illustrated by: E.B. White
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

An affectionate, sometimes bashful pig named Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte, who lives in the rafters above his pen. In this story of friendship, hardship, and the passing of time, E.B. White reminds us to open our eyes to the wonder and miracle found in the simplest of things.

Freedom Summer

By: Deborah Wiles, Jerome Lagarrigue
Illustrated by: Jerome Lagarrigue
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Joe and John Henry are friends who have many interests in common, including swimming. But because John Henry has brown skin and Joe's is the "color of pale moths," they cannot swim together in the town’s pool. Told by Joe and eloquently illustrated, the emotions and power of friends trying to understand an unfriendly world are timeless.

Frog and Toad Are Friends

By: Arnold Lobel
Illustrated by: Arnold Lobel
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Five short stories about best friends celebrate everyday activities. Each of them has a very distinctive personality; but Frog and Toad find that their differences are what make their friendship special. Gentle illustrations and an easy-to-read text create treasured tales. Be sure to read other stories about the amphibious friends in Frog and Toad Together and Frog and Toad All Year.

George and Martha

By: James Marshall
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

George and Martha’s friendship is revealed in a series of short stories each illustrated with seemingly simple but hugely expressive illustrations – appropriate for the size of these hippos' happy friendship.

Gossie and Gertie

By: Olivier Dunrea
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

When Gossie loses her beloved red boots, she searches everywhere for them. Ultimately, she finds Gertie, another gosling, wearing her boots! The small yellow birds settle their issue and go off together, each wearing one red boot. The small, square book ideally supports the crisp, appealing illustrations.

Me, Mop, and the Moondance Kid

By: Walter Dean Myers
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

T.J. narrates the story of how he and his brother, nicknamed the Moondance Kid, become friends with Mop. Even after the boys are adopted they remain friends, though they worry about Mop – will she be adopted, too? A surprise ending which involves their shared love of baseball allows the children’s friendship to continue in this enjoyable novel.

My Friend Rabbit

By: Eric Rohmann
Illustrated by: Eric Rohmann
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Rabbit always thinks of things to do even though they often lead to trouble. When Mouse's toy airplane gets stuck in a tree, Rabbit's animal ladder is sure to release it — with very funny results in this Caldecott Medal-winning book.

Pink and Say

By: Patricia Polacco
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Both Pink, the son of black slaves, and Say, a poor, white boy, fought in the Union army during the Civil War. Only Say survives the Andersonville Prison to tell of their remarkable friendship and how Pink saved Say and taught him how to read. This poignant story, complemented by Patricia Polacco's signature illustrations, is based on a story from the author’s family.


By: Peter Golembock, Paul Bacon
Illustrated by: Paul Bacon
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This short, illustrated vignette from the career of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play baseball in the major leagues, depicts his strength and that of his teammate Peewee Reese, who stood together against the prejudice of both fans and players. This powerful story makes the life and times of Robinson come alive for younger readers.

The Lost Ball/La pelota perdida

By: Lynn Reiser
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Two boys and their dogs look for the balls they have each lost in the park. Not only do they find them, they each find a friend. The text, in Spanish and English, appears in different colors along with crisply lined illustrations, allowing readers to follow Richard and Ricardo on their hunt. When the boys find their balls and discover their shared interests, they (and the colors) come together on a single page. Reiser's Margaret and Margarita, Margarita y Margaret (Greenwillow, 1993) explores a similar theme as girls and their mothers meet and discover friendship despite speaking different languages.

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