My Friends: Books for Young Children
These books for young children celebrate the importance of friendship, as well as the ups and downs that friends sometimes go through together. This booklist also highlights a diverse range of cultures and abilities among friends.
A Letter to Amy
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.
A Tisket, a Tasket
The song made famous by jazz great Ella Fitzgerald in the 1930s has been re-created, re-energized and newly presented in a picture book version. Sprightly cut paper collage illustrations show two children losing and ultimately finding both a lost basket and a friendship.
Alma Speaks Up / Alma habla
Alma and her friends André and Rafia can't wait to help their neighbor, Mr. Huda, make his storefront beautiful. They are going to paint a mural on the wall outside the store! But when André wants to do the mural his own way, it's up to Alma to talk to him about it. Can she find a way to express herself without hurting Andre's feelings?
Bein' With You This Way
Product Description: On a beautiful sunny day, an African American girl visits the park and rounds up a group of her friends for an afternoon of fun and playground games. As they play, this happy crew discovers that despite their physical differences — straight hair, curly hair; brown eyes, blue eyes; light skin, dark skin — they are all really the same. With the irresistible and exuberant beat of a playground rap, Bein' with You This Way invites readers of all ages to join in this celebration of diversity.
Benny Doesn't Like to Be Hugged
A little girl uses rhyming verse to describe the unique traits of her autistic friend. Benny likes trains and cupcakes without sprinkles, but he can also be fussy sometimes. The narrator doesn’t mind, however, because “true friends accept each other just the way they are.” A gentle story encouraging children to appreciate and accept our differences.
Join two best friends, an Asian Indian boy and girl, as they spend an active day outdoors running, climbing, sliding, and more. Spanish version available.
Block Party (Confetti Kids)
The neighborhood is having a block party where everyone is responsible for bringing a food dish. Padma is excited about the party until she learns that her mother is planning to bring lentil soup. Padma thinks soup is so boring! Everyone else will bring fun things like pizza or hot dogs. Plus Padma worries that her friends won’t like the soup—but to her delight, she discovers that they not only like the soup, they want to learn how to make it.
Buddy Bench (Confetti Kids)
Five friends from diverse backgrounds learn how to navigate common childhood challenges, new experiences, and the world around them in the realistic and kid-friendly Confetti Kids early chapter books. In this story, Padma is excited about meeting new people at school. Making friends comes easily to her, but she soon discovers that it can be hard for others. When she notices a boy sitting by himself every day, Padma enlists her friends to create a buddy bench, where kids can go if they need a friend.
Product Description: In this humorous Southwestern retelling of "The Little Red Hen," Burro finds it difficult to get any help from his friends as he diligently works to turn corn into tortillas. In addition to its Southwestern flavor and clever puns, the delightful story imparts an accurate picture of the traditional way that tortillas are made. (Spanish version available through Kindle.)
Product Description: Estela is attending her first swap meet, where she plans to sell a music box to make money for lessons with the Ballet Folklórico. When a strong wind ruins the flowers the woman across from her is selling, Estela decides to give her the music box so she can listen to cheerful music while she makes new flowers. Although Estela may not have enough money for the lessons, her heart is full. And in this charmingly illustrated story, the flower seller has a wonderful surprise for Estela.
Everybody Wears Braids
A celebration of the many different ways a multiracial group of seven friends braid their hair. Spanish version available.
Reenie and her mother often fish along a river nicknamed Jim Crow, where they often see Peter and his father fishing, too. Since Reenie is black and Peter is white, they never speak — until Reenie reaches out to bridge a divide even wider than the river. A hopeful ending concludes this expressively illustrated recollection of the author's childhood.
Follow That Map! (Confetti Kids)
Five friends from diverse backgrounds learn how to navigate common childhood challenges, new experiences, and the world around them in the realistic and kid-friendly Confetti Kids early chapter books.Pablo and his friends want to spend the last day of summer at Coney Island. They can ride bumper cars or play ring toss--there's so much to do! But first, they need to figure out how to get to Coney Island from their neighborhood.
Friendship Club / El Club de la Amistad
When Alma finds large empty cardboard box she thinks it will make the perfect clubhouse for her and her friends! The kids quickly get to work on making the cardboard box feel truly special but when more and more of Alma's friends want in on the clubhouse they start running into space issues. Can Alma find a way to include everyone? Kids won’t want to miss this easy reader based on a popular episode of the show. Based on the PBS Kids series Alma’s Way, created by Emmy Award-winning actor Sonia Manzano, best known as Maria on Sesame Street.
Hello, Friend / Hola, Amigo
This fun, bouncy bilingual song from 123 Andrés' Grammy Award-winning album is brought to life in a whole new way that's perfect for storytime sharing! Sara Palacios animates this popular song with vibrant, fresh illustrations that will engage little ones and their parents.
Hola, Amigo: Songs of Friendship
Hola, Amigo started out as a song in 123 Andrés’ debut album, and became a fan favorite. Hola, Amigo: Songs of Friendship has remastered versions of Hola, Amigo in Spanish and English, and eight more songs that explore the theme of friendship, in two languages. You can also see the related book, Hello, Friend / Hola, Amigo.
I'm New Here
Maria, Jin, and Fatimah are new to their American elementary school. The words that they hear around them and see on the page are confusing. They each long for the language that they understand and the friends who understand them back home. They feel as though they don’t fit in—they are alone, confused, and sad in their new school. After observing those around them, each new student slowly gains the confidence to interact with their new surroundings. They realize that their peers and teachers are very supportive, welcoming, and excited to learn what these new classmates have to share.
Isabel and Her Colores Go to School
English, with its blustery blues and whites, just feels wrong to Isabel. She prefers the warm oranges and pinks of Spanish. As she prepares for class at a new school, she knows she's going to have to learn — and she would rather not! Her first day is uncomfortable, until she discovers there's more than one way to communicate with friends. This is a universal story about feeling new and making new friends.
Though Jamaica wonders who lost the stuffed dog and struggles with the decision to try and find its owner, she ultimately returns it to the playground where she found it. When the dog is reunited with its rightful and very relieved young owner, Jamaica finds a new friend.
Let's Talk About It: Extraordinary Friends
Until children get to know someone who may seem different, they often respond to them with fear or anxiety. That usually changes when people become known as individuals. Six children with different disabilities are introduced in an even, calm text and authentic photographs while typical children’s responses to them are explored and validated.
Making Friends (Mr. Rogers)
Who better to teach children about making friends than the friendliest neighbor of them all, Mr. Rogers! In his gently written picture book, children will see firsthand how much fun making new friends can be. Loaded with real pictures of friends having fun together, this will help any early reader get excited about meeting new people.
Henry dreams of becoming a rock star drummer and practices at home whenever he can. One day while Henry is drumming, his mom has to work, and asks him to stop playing. Henry decides to go outside to play his drum and he sees his friends. Henry wants to keep practicing, but he also wants to play with his friends. By playing Freeze Dance, he can do both. And when his mother finishes work that evening, they figure out how to enjoy music together too.
My Pal, Victor
Dominic and Victor are friends who share stories, jokes, and games and cheer each other on. At the end of the book, readers discover something special — the boys don't let the fact that Victor is in a wheelchair get in their way of having fun! Colorful illustrations bring this simple yet thoughtful story to life. Winner of ALA's 2004 Schneider Family Award.
New Words, New Friends
New Words, New Friends is a storybook resource for teachers, librarians and parents to teach young children who speak different languages how to learn and play together. This heartwarming story of friendship that grows under the guidance of a nurturing and mindful teacher is the backdrop for an intentional social story on building communication skills for children in culturally and linguistically diverse preschools, story hours, or child care programs.
One Green Apple
In this heartwarming story, Farah is trying to get used to a new country and language. She knows what's happening around her, but without the words to say what she's thinking in English, she feels alienated from her classmates. A trip to the apple orchard helps her begin to bridge those gaps, however, and she realizes that "Laughs sound the same as at home." As she practices her first "outside-myself word," she knows that she will be able to say more in time. Beautiful watercolor illustrations bring Farah, her classmates, and the apple orchard to life.
One Is a Drummer: A Book of Numbers
The Chinese-American girl introduced in Round Is a Mooncake (2000) and Red Is a Dragon (2001, both Chronicle) counts her favorite things. In bouncy verse, she engages in activities with her multicultural friends and family…A glossary gives two-sentence explanations for the Asian elements, from Eight Immortals to mahjong tiles, adding versatility and ethnic interest to the book without intruding on its simplicity. — School Library Journal
Rosa Rides Her Scooter
Let's find out which toys Rosa and her friends are playing with today! An important series that celebrates inclusivity, promotes gender equality and embraces the uniqueness of every child.
Rosita (Sesame Street Friends)
Meet your favorite Sesame Street friends in this adorable photographic board book starring Rosita, a muppet who speaks English and Spanish! Elmo's friend Rosita stars in this colorful, photographic board book. Babies and toddlers will love turning the sturdy pages to find out what Rosita — a bilingual muppet with Mexican heritage — likes to do with her family and her Sesame Street friends.
The Garden (Confetti Kids)
Five friends from diverse backgrounds learn how to navigate common childhood challenges, new experiences, and the world around them in the realistic and kid-friendly Confetti Kids early chapter books.
Under My Hijab
Grandma wears it clasped under her chin. Aunty pins hers up with a beautiful brooch. Jenna puts it under a sun hat when she hikes. Zara styles hers to match her outfit. As a young girl observes six very different women in her life who each wear the hijab in a unique way, she also dreams of the rich possibilities of her own future, and how she will express her own personality through her hijab.
Want to Play? (Confetti Kids)
It’s a warm, sunny day, and the gang heads to the neighborhood playground to play. What should they play? Henry wants to play basketball, and Padma wants to play Follow the Leader. Finally Pablo comes up with a great idea: to play pretend. It’s a game that everyone can do easily. They can pretend to be archaeologists, astronauts, and explorers. There’s no limit to what they imagine they can be!
We Play Music
It’s a celebration of sound when a group of neighborhood children gather on a stoop to play their instruments. Spanish version available.
Who Is My Best Friend?
A girl tells about some of the things she and her best friend — her dad — do together. Spanish version available.
Yasmin the Friend
Yasmin knows exactly what she wants to play when her friends come over. But it turns out her friends have their own ideas. Could a creative compromise make everyone happy?
See more great related resources and videos in our Multicultural Literature section!