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Happy World Friendship Day! On World Friendship Day, Friday 30th July, we have the chance to celebrate the friendships that we are grateful for, and reflect on the important people we have in our lives. These selected books explore a wide range of friendships, the adventures and memories that friends make, and also the challenges you may face together. Friendships grow and change, but they will often stay with us for a lifetime. We hope these books do too. You can purchase these books directly from our store here.

Beginning readers:

Making Friends: A Book About First Friendships by Amanda McCardieMaking Friends: A Book About First Friendships written by Amanda McCardie, illustrated by Colleen Larmour, published by Walker Books

Friendships are precious, but they can also be tricky to navigate – especially when you’re little. In this charming and supremely sensitive book, we meet Sukie and Joe: two children making friends for the first time. With words by Amanda McCardie, who has studied child development at the Tavistock, and pictures from Colleen Larmour, a rising star, Making Friends is the perfect tool for talking to very young children about friendship and everything that goes with it, from meeting new people to celebrating differences and standing up for one another.

“Remarkable … a good starting place to help children talk through emotions.” Observer on A Book of Feelings (McCardie)

Big Words for Little People: Friendship written by Helen Mortimer, illustrated by Cristina Trapanese, published by Oxford University PressBig Words for Little People: Friendship

This series is ideal for exploring big topics with young children in a way that feels good. Through these books children can discover and understand new words to help them to talk about the ups and downs of first experiences and new emotions with confidence.

This little hardback book creates a moment to focus on Friendship. It introduces words to talk about feelings with confidence and in a way that feels good. The engaging art style, fun characters and picture book feel make it perfect to share and, because it is from Oxford, it is packed with educational goodness to help children develop and grow.

ThThe Longer the Wait, the Bigger the Hug by Eoin McLaughline Longer the Wait, the Bigger the Hug written by Eoin McLaughlin, illustrated by Polly Dunbar, published by Faber

Everyone’s favourite (socially distanced) friends return in this charming and touching follow-up to While We Can’t Hug.

Hedgehog is waiting for his friend Tortoise to wake up. But where is Tortoise and when will he wake?

Hedgehog’s friends are all very lovely, but they just aren’t as much fun at the beach, or at hide and seek, or at holding hands, or at hugs.

Tortoise begins to stir – the one boulder that Hedgehog didn’t think he could lift to turn . . .

Tortoise has been dreaming of Hedgehog. And the hug that follows is their best yet!

Duck and Penguin Are Not Friends

Duck and Penguin Are Not Friends written and illustrated by Julia Woolf, published by Andersen Press

Betty and Maud are the best of friends, and so surely their stuffed toys are too! But despite what Betty and Maud might think, Duck and Penguin are definitely NOT friends. They do not want to swing together, they do not want to cook together, and they certainly DO NOT want to play baby dolls together…

A witty picture book about friendship that takes a peek into the hidden world of toys from former Dreamworks animator and illustrator Julia Woolf.

Early readers:

What if, Pig? written and illustrated by Linzie Hunter, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books

Mouse has never had a friend quite like Pig. Pig is so incredibly kind, endlessly thoughtful and fabulously fun, but he also has a big secret… he’s a tremendous worrier!

What if, Pig?When Pig gets the brilliant idea to throw a party for Mouse and their friends, he can’t help but think of everything that could possibly go wrong. After all, what if a lion eats all the invitations? What if nobody comes? Or worse, what if everyone comes and has an awful time?

In this adorable story, Linzie Hunter’s charming, bright illustrations pair perfectly with her sweet and funny story about friendship and the endless wonder of “what if” that readers of all ages can relate to. This picture book is a great conversation starter in the home or classroom and a great way to talk to your children about worries or anxieties. Perfect for boys, girls, families and anyone who has ever had a worry or a wobble!

Under the Same SkyUnder the Same Sky written by Robert Vescio, illustrated by Nicky Johnston, published by New Frontier Publishing

Two children on opposite sides of the world crave friendship. Is it possible to be friends across the miles?


Know Your Feelings! written by Beth Cox and Natalie Costa, illustrated by Vicky Know Your Feelings!Barker, published by b small publishing

Be on your own team! From dealing with friendship wobbles and bullying to understanding tricky feelings and self-esteem issues, the awesome activities in this book have been expertly designed to help children be a good friend to themselves and others! Manage emotions, build confidence and encourage empathy with inclusivity expert Beth Cox, Power Thoughts founder Natalie Costa and Blue Peter Book Award winner Vicky Barker.

Twelve Days of Kindness written by Cori Brooke, illustrated by Fiona Burrows, published by New Frontier PublishingTwelve Days of Kindness

One little girl realises that the new girl in her class is struggling to make friends.

With the help of their football coach they come up with a plan.

Can their school football team bring them together, and expand their friendship group?

Fluent readers:

A Different Sort of Normal by Abigail Balfe

A Different Sort of Normal written by Abigail Balfe, published by Penguin Random House Children’s

A beautifully illustrated true story of one girl’s journey growing up autistic and the challenges of navigating the ‘normal’ world around her, for anyone who has ever felt like they don’t fit in.

Hi! My name is Abigail, and I’m autistic. But I didn’t know I was autistic until I was an adult-sort-of-person. This is my true story of growing up in the confusing ‘normal’ world, all the while missing some Very Important Information about myself.

Told through the authors remarkable words and illustrations, this book challenges the commonly held views about autism and shows just how much it can vary across the gender spectrum.

The Last Bear written by Hannah Gold, illustrated by Levi Pinfold, published by HarperCollins Children’s BooksThe Last Bear

Imagine making friends with a polar bear… The Last Bear is a celebration of the love between a child and an animal, a battle cry for our world and an irresistible adventure with a heart as big as a bear’s.

There are no polar bears left on Bear Island. At least, that’s what April’s father tells her when his scientific research takes them to this remote Arctic outpost for six months. But one endless summer night, April meets one. He is starving, lonely and a long way from home. Determined to save him, April begins the most important journey of her life…

Pax, Journey Home written by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Jon Klassen, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books

PaxPax, Journey Home is a breathtaking novel about chosen families and the healing power of love.

It’s been a year since Peter and his pet fox, Pax, have seen each other. Once inseparable, they now lead very different lives. Pax must protect his litter of kits in a dangerous world. Meanwhile Peter, orphaned after the war, has left his adopted home and joined the Water Warriors, a group determined to heal the land from the scars of the war.

When one of Pax’s kits falls desperately ill, he turns to the one human he knows he can trust. And no matter how hard Peter tries to harden his broken heart, love keeps finding a way in. Now both boy and fox find themselves on journeys toward home, healing – and each other.

Independent readers (NB: may contain mature content): 

Future Friend written by David Baddiel, illustrated by Steven Lenton, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books

Future Friend is a terrifically entertaining time-slip adventure that combines action, laugh-out-loud humour and the importance of friendship, in a story that asks the question – what would happen if your best friend came from the future?Future Friend

The year is 3020.

Pip@256X#YY.3_7 is lonely and bored: she goes to virtual school on her G-Glasses, she only has a talking cat and parrot to hang out with, and she can’t even leave her LivingSpace due to the extreme heat and floods outside.

Until the day that Pip explores a glowing ring in a lab and finds herself in a warehouse, in 2019.

Where she meets boy-inventor Rahul – who is also lonely and bored.

Together, Rahul and Pip are no longer lonely. But they have a whole load of new problems, including hiding talking animals from Rahul’s parents, and finding a way back to the future.

Plus – just maybe – saving the world…