The best picture books about finding and helping friends

Who am I?

As I child I could be found reading anywhere, anytime. Through books I could go on adventures, learn about new worlds, explore emotions, and make friends. A schoolmate and I picked our library books together and traded during the week so we wouldn’t run out! As I shared this love of reading with my children, I realized I wanted to write books that a child would ask for again and again. Books that would explain tough topics, bring giggles, ignite imaginations, show a child the importance of friends, and empower them to solve their own problems. 

I wrote...

No More Noisy Nights

By Holly L. Niner, Guy Wolek (illustrator),

Book cover of No More Noisy Nights

What is my book about?

Who is making so much noise and how will Jackson get to sleep? Despite silly, sleepy mistakes, Jackson finds a fun, quiet activity for his noisy neighbors. He finally gets a great night’s sleep and discovers three new friends in the morning. This book helps kids explore ways to be not-so-afraid when the lights go out — making it an ideal outlet for little ones who may have a fear of ghosts, monsters, and pixies. No More Noisy Nights shows children that sometimes things aren’t as they seem and that making friends is easier with a little cooperation. 

Cozier than a mole in fuzzy pajamas, No More Noisy Nights is an underground, under-the-covers read-aloud picture book that is perfect for calming bedtime boogety-woogeties.

The books I picked & why

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George and Martha

By James Marshall,

Book cover of George and Martha

Why this book?

I have always loved to read comics in the newspaper. My favorite is Peanuts. Like Peanuts, the sparse text, simple pictures, and humor of all of the George and Martha books make me smile. I can still hear the giggles when I’d read them to my children. But don’t be fooled because hidden in the sparse text are nuggets of gold about friendship. Friends are honest, friends help each other, friends support each other, friends forgive and friends use humor to cheer each other up. 

Strictly No Elephants

By Lisa Mantchev, Taeeun Yoo (illustrator),

Book cover of Strictly No Elephants

Why this book?

I must confess I have a fondness for elephants since my children are graduates of The University of Alabama and their mascot is an elephant. And it reminded me of Jerry Smath’s But No Elephants that was much loved in our home. A boy laments that when you have a tiny elephant for a pet you never quite fit in. But that’s ok because they are friends and they help each other. When they are not allowed in the Pet Club, they’re sad, but they find a girl with a skunk and before you know it, they’ve made new friends and a club where All Are Welcome. I love the portrayal of friendship and inclusion in the text and illustrations.


By Aaron Becker,

Book cover of Journey

Why this book?

Because I like to write stories, I love wordless picture books because the reader tells the story. In Journey, adventures begin when a lonely girl draws a magic door. I love how the journey requires her to problem solve and draw what she needs. When she comes to a river, she draws a boat, but at the waterfall she draws a hot air balloon to escape. When she sees a bird imprisoned, she sets it free, but she’s captured, losing her crayon in the process. The bird returns, crayon in beak, and draws a door. When she goes through, she is back home and meets the boy who has drawn the bird. At the end of her journey is a friend. The illustrations are rich with details, adding layers to the story.

Mr. McGill Goes to Town

By Jim Aylesworth,

Book cover of Mr. McGill Goes to Town

Why this book?

Recently my son asked if I still had this book because he wanted to read it to his children. Why do some childhood books stick in our memory? Mr. McGill was a fun book with characters like Mr. McGill repairing his mill, Mr. McRae cutting his hay, Mr. McCall building his wall. They all have tasks that are too big to do alone and they all want to get to town before the sun goes down. It is a wonderful story of working together; showing how helping someone else can help you. And why do they want to get to town before the sun goes down? “Then when they were done, they sat out of the sun, where Mr. McQuade served them cool lemonade! Ahhh…”

The Christmas Witch

By Steven Kellogg,

Book cover of The Christmas Witch

Why this book?

Steven Kellogg has written wonderfully imaginative stories with illustrations that should be pored over. Both of my adult children wanted this book from my stash. It’s an atypical Christmas book, yet shows us that love and generosity can turn enemies into friends. Gloria is training to be a witch, but she’d rather smile than scowl. She’s sent by an angel to a dark planet where the Pepperwills and Valdoons have been feuding for centuries. With some help from elves, Gloria figures out how to bring light to the planet. The clans finally end their feud when Gloria asks them, “remember how happy you were when the magic of Christmas entered your hearts?” Just imagine if we could all be Gloria spreading love and generosity.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Christmas, adventure, and friendships?

5,215 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Christmas, adventure, and friendships.

Christmas Explore 70 books about Christmas
Adventure Explore 89 books about adventure
Friendships Explore 322 books about friendships

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Dungeon Critters, Remarkables, and The Murderer's Ape if you like this list.