The best books about best friends

Who are we?

Besides creating inventive best friends Melia and Jo, Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson created problem-solving best friends Peg and Cat, stars of Peg + Cat picture books and the PBS TV series which airs around the world. While creating those sets of best friends Jen and Billy became best friends themselves, brainstorming together, learning together, singing and dancing together, sharing pizza, inspiring and supporting each other, and laughing together many times a day. So yeah, they know a lot about best friends. 


We wrote...

Book cover of Melia and Jo

What is our book about?

Tech whiz Melia loves to create things in her backyard laboratory. Artistically inclined Jo loves to swirl and leap and go wild with words. When Jo leaps into Melia’s yard the two girls find that if you blend the arts and science, something unbelievable happens. Together, they form a STEAM dream team! Melia and Jo is inspired by two of history’s boldest adventurers: famous flyer Amelia Earhart and singing/dancing/comedienne Josephine Baker.

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The books we picked & why

Book cover of Can I Play Too?

Billy Aronson and Jen Oxley Why did I love this book?

Thoughtful Elephant Gerald and his playful pal Piggy are a pair of best friends created by Mo Willem, author of beginning-reader bestsellers Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale. While all the books in the Elephant and Piggy series are delightful, Can I Play Too? gets extra points for dealing with disability in a sweet and clever way. Though a Worm who wants to play catch with Elephant and Piggy has no arms, our super-friendly heroes come up with an ingenious solution, and a new friend.

By Mo Willems,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Can I Play Too? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Perfect for children just learning to read, this highly original book is told entirely in speech bubbles with a repetitive use of familiar phrases. From the award-winning author of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.
Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.
Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.
Gerald and Piggie are best friends.

In Can I Play Too? Gerald and Piggie meet a new friend, Snake, who wants to join in a game of catch. But don't you need arms to catch...? Mo Willems creates another hilarious escapade starring the…


Book cover of Narwhal

Billy Aronson and Jen Oxley Why did I love this book?

When the world’s most outgoing Narwhal meets the deadpan Jelly Fish a deep-sea best friendship is born. With their loopy dialogue, goofy logic, and slapstick physical comedy, all presented in comic book-style frames, Narwhal and Jelly are a classic comedy duo capable of cracking up humans of all sizes. This first book in the Narwhal and Jelly series features two wacky stories followed by breaks for funny facts about Narwhals and Jelly Fish and the official Narwhal song and winds up with an extra-clever story in which the wet besties create their own book within the book.

By Ben Clanton,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Narwhal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do they love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together.
A wonderfully silly early graphic novel series featuring three stories. In the first, Jelly learns that Narwhal is a really good friend. Then Narwhal and Jelly form their own pod of awesomeness with their ocean friends. And finally, Narwhal and Jelly read the best book ever -- even though it doesn't have any words...or pictures!
Ben Clanton showcases the joys…


Book cover of Chirri & Chirra

Billy Aronson and Jen Oxley Why did I love this book?

In Chirri and Chirra, Japanese author and artist Kaya Doi captures the magic of best friendship with gorgeous colored pencil illustrations and a dream-like tale. When twins Chirri and Chirra head off into the woods for a bike ride they find themselves in a wonderland that blends the strangeness of Lewis Caroll with the sweetness of Goodnight Moon. Along the way they stop to enjoy chestnut coffee, clover blossom tea and jelly sandwiches, all served by forest animals. They swim in a lake, nap under a tree, and ride on to a cozy hotel just in time for a forest animal concert that lights up the night of the girls’ perfect day.

By Kaya Doi, Yuki Kaneko (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Chirri & Chirra as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book in a completely charming series by a well-known Japanese author and illustrator, Chirri & Chirra introduces two girl characters who go on wonderful adventures together through the natural world. Vibrant, lively, and astonishingly sweet in a pure, unsentimental way, these pages present us with relatable children, small animals, lots of food, atmosphere, and many mysteries.

Born in Tokyo, Japan, Kaya Doi graduated with a degree in design from Tokyo Zokei University. She got her start in picture books by attending the Atosaki Juku Workshop, held at a Tokyo bookshop specializing in picture books. Since then she has…


Book cover of Imaginary Fred

Billy Aronson and Jen Oxley Why did I love this book?

Can imaginary friends count as best friends? Totally. Imaginary Fred is a brilliant riff on imaginary friendship, told from the point of view of the imaginary friend. When imaginary Fred befriends non-imaginary Sam, the two have so much fun that Fred panics he’ll be replaced by a real kid (again!). But when real Sam brings home his new friend real Sammi, Sammi befriends Fred too…and her own imaginary friend Freida becomes Fred’s total B(I)FF! The book is quirky/funny, but really moving too. Everybody gets a best friend.

By Eoin Colfer, Oliver Jeffers (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Imaginary Fred as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF CHILDREN'S BOOK OF THE YEAR, IRISH BOOK AWARDS
An extraordinary collaboration between Irish Children's Laureate, Eoin Colfer, and picture book superstar, Oliver Jeffers!

Sometimes, with a little electricity, or luck, or even magic, an imaginary friend might appear when you need one. An imaginary friend like Fred...

Fred floated like a feather in the wind until a lonely little boy wished for him and found a friendship like no other.

The perfect chemistry between Eoin Colfer's text and Oliver Jeffer's artwork make for a dazzlingly original colour gift book.


Book cover of The Terrible Two

Billy Aronson and Jen Oxley Why did I love this book?

Miles Murphy and Niles Sparks are up to no good, but their no good is SO good that we have to include them among our best best friends. The Terrible Two, a chapter book of over 200 pages and twice that many laughs, tells the tale of these two most ingenious, wily, and slightly maniacal middle school pranksters. Their pranks are disruptive but never destructive, and are aimed mainly at pompous meanies. Though Miles and Niles begin as prankster rivals they soon come together in a beautiful friendship, challenging one another to be the best they can be, which in this case means filling the school with cows.

By Jory John, Mac Barnett, Kevin Cornell (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Terrible Two as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Miles Murphy is not happy to be moving to Yawnee Valley, a sleepy town that's famous for one thing and one thing only: cows. In his old school, everyone knew him as the town's best prankster, but Miles quickly discovers that Yawnee Valley already has a prankster, and a great one. If Miles is going to take the title from this mystery kid, he is going to have to raise his game.

It's prankster against prankster in an epic war of trickery, until the two finally decide to join forces and pull off the biggest prank ever seen: a prank…


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Radio Free Olympia

By Jeffrey Dunn,

Book cover of Radio Free Olympia

Jeffrey Dunn Author Of Radio Free Olympia

New book alert!

Who am I?

I’ve always been a child of the woods. I preferred to leave my home and wade a creek or explore a hillside. Nothing compared to the sight of a black snake or the feel of a mud puppy. School was a torture until an English teacher introduced me to Richard Brautigan and then read my first serious story to the class. Since then, this dyslexic nature lover has become a dream fisher and history miner with a Ph.D. in English Literature and Cultural Studies. Retired from forty-one years of teaching, I now write and publish cultural fiction.

Jeffrey's book list on where imagination and nature run free

What is my book about?

Embark on a riveting journey into Washington State’s untamed Olympic Peninsula, where the threads of folklore legends and historical icons are woven into a complex ecological tapestry.

Follow the enigmatic Petr as he fearlessly employs his pirate radio transmitter to broadcast the forgotten and untamed voices that echo through the wilderness. Venture deeper and encounter Baie, the founder of Wildsisters, a cranberry-infused roadhouse that offers solace to lost and wayward women. When a newborn is kidnapped, Baie and her community must unite to recover what has been stolen. Yet, their quest for justice extends beyond the realm of human characters—it must also be served for the fragile flora, the diverse fauna, and the very essence of the natural world.

Radio Free Olympia

By Jeffrey Dunn,

What is this book about?

Unleash the Power of the Wilderness in Radio Free Olympia


Discover the captivating allure of Washington's untamed Olympic Peninsula in Radio Free Olympia, an extraordinary literary masterpiece that immerses readers in a mesmerizing realm of visionaries, folklore legends, and historical icons. With an enchanting blend of magical realism and cultural fiction, the brilliant wordsmith Jeffrey Dunn artfully intertwines multiple narratives, crafting an intricate ecological tapestry that resonates deeply within the soul.


Embark on a riveting journey alongside the enigmatic Petr, a foundling whose path leads him deep into the heart of the majestic mountain rainforest. Armed with nothing but a…


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