Books that center around the power of friendship are a great way to incorporate social and emotional learning into your curriculum and your classroom. Books about friendship explore important themes like empathy, kindness, compromise, and learning to put yourself in someone else’s shoes—all critical emotional tools that will help kids both inside and outside of the classroom.
We’ve rounded up our 5 favorite books about friendship—perfect for kids in grades 3–5—along with suggestions on how to teach them so you can embrace the power of friendship in your classroom.
Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan
Ravi is the new kid at school who just arrived in America from India and isn’t quite sure where he fits in. Joe has lived in the same town all his life, but is dealing with a new reality now that his best friend just moved away. Joe and Ravi might be from very different places, but they’re both stuck in the same school, and now share the same common enemy—the class bully.
Why We Love It: From exploring issues of cultural identity and facing new challenges to themes of bullying and, of course, the power of friendship, there’s so much to unpack in this compelling novel by award-winning and bestselling author Sarah Weeks and debut voice Gita Varadarajan—and that’s what makes it so great. It’s engaging, funny, and serves as a reminder to kids that friendships can often blossom where you least expect them.
How to Use it in Your Classroom: Lead a discussion around welcoming a new student into your class. Have your students imagine themselves as the “new kid in school” and list some of the emotions and fears they might be feeling. Then ask them to offer suggestions on how to show kindness to a new student. How can they initiate a new friendship? Could they create a welcome kit for a student who just moved to town? Brainstorm with your class and talk about why doing these things can be so meaningful.