What does it take to be a good friend and kind classmate? Help your students figure out important friendship skills with these picture-perfect stories about finding, making, or being a friend. All of the books are excellent springboards for discussions about important social skills and the meaning of friendship.
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood
How do you turn a potential enemy into a friend? Try surprising him with kindness and sharing a delicious snack! This beloved story delights children with its engaging conversational style, warm illustrations, and surprise ending. It's available in a Big Book format, too. For additional teaching tips, check out Scholastic's Book Guide with reproducibles for this story.
Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse by Leo Lionni
Alexander, a real mouse, yearns to be like just like Willie, a wind-up toy mouse that everyone adores. Alexander almost gets his chance when a magical lizard offers him a wish-come-true. A change in circumstances prompts Alexander to selflessly use his wish to make Willie real instead.
Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel
All the books in the Frog and Toad series demonstrate the give-and-take of best friendships. In one of the five stories in this collection, Toad literally stands on his head in an attempt to cheer Frog up when he's not feeling well. In another, Frog spends the day helping Toad look for a lost button. Check out Scholastic's Discussion Guide for Frog and Toad Are Friends.
Toot and Puddle: On Top of the World by Holly Hobbie
When adventurous Puddle goes missing, stay-at-homebody Toot finds the gumption to go looking. His search takes him through the dark woods around Pocket Pond, to the top of Orchard Hill, on a train, bus, plane, and bike all the way to France, where he finds Puddle in Provence. The pig friends enjoy more travels, but remember to call home so their pal Tulip won't worry. Other books in this best-friend series include Toot & Puddle, Toot & Puddle Charming Opal, and Toot & Puddle: Puddle's ABC Book, for which Scholastic has a Lesson Plan.
The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman
Fifth-grade classmates who happen to be in the same work group form an unlikely alliance when Brenton, the computer genius, invents a homework machine and the other three convince him to let them try it. It doesn't take long for the perfect homework to raise the teacher's suspicions and the new friendship circle to raise resentment among "old" friends. The story is told from the first-person point of view as each of the main characters talks to the town's police chief.
Crash, by Jerry Spinelli
Seventh-grade jock John "Crash" Coogan has been bullying Penn Webb since Penn, a scrawny, peace-loving vegetarian, moved in during the summer before first grade. Crash's aggressive, winner-takes-all attitude wanes after his much-loved grandfather comes to live with his family and later suffers a debilitating stroke. Crash gains more self-awareness and comes to understand and appreciate Penn's consistently optimistic and open-hearted nature. His transformation from bullying jock to empathetic, supportive friend completes itself during a track meet that has him pitted against Penn.
The Moon Bridge by Marcia Savin (Asian Collection)
The backdrop for this multicultural friendship story is San Francisco during World War II when many Japanese-Americans were sent to internment camps. Ruthie, a fifth-grader, stands up for Mitzi Fujimoto, a fourth-grader of Japanese heritage. This act fractures her relationships with bigoted classmates, including her best friend. Ruthie and Mitzi become close and vow to correspond and meet again on the Moon Bridge after Mitzi's family is forced to go to an internment camp. Besides prompting conversations about friendship and lessons on multiculturalism, this book offers many opportunities to connect to social studies lessons on the World War II era.
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Smart and curious Harriet plans to be a writer. In preparation, she follows a neighborhood spy route and writes down thoughts and blunt observations about the people she sees along the way, including her friends. When her classmates get a hold of the secret notebook, Harriet has to wrestle with being on the outs with all of them. Class discussions can be paired with a writing lesson on journaling.