Some of the best kids' chapter books about friendship are those that deal with the topic in a roundabout way. These excellent novels view friendship as a matter of circumstance rather than as a theme, and they always feature characters that seem real and flawed so that the plot feels genuine to readers. Most of the books don't set out to share messages about friendship or teach its importance, but young readers can pick up tips from the books and view the characters' relationships as inspiration in their own friendships.
Best Kids' Chapter Books About Friendship
All of these books feature likable characters that struggle with creating and maintaining friendships, issues with which almost all children can identify. Some of the best kids' chapter books about friendship appear often on school reading lists, but others are more contemporary and likely to be considered "fun" reading. If you know a kid who isn't too keen on reading but is having difficulty with friendships, one possible way to interest him or her in a new book is by pointing out the similarities between the main character and the child.
Because of Winn-Dixie
Kate DiCamillo's chapter book about a girl, India Opal Buloni, and the stray dog she finds at a local grocery store is a classic example of how friendship with an animal can be just as powerful as friendship with a human. Because of Winn-Dixie has proved to be popular with kids nationwide, and the story was eventually made into a feature film. Opal grows more courageous during the book with Winn-Dixie by her side, and through that process, she gets to know various townspeople and improve the flawed relationship she had with her father. A similar book in theme is Shiloh, which may appeal to boy readers that Winn-Dixie doesn't grab. In Shiloh, Marty Preston finds an abused beagle near his home and grows closer and closer to the dog in his attempts to protect it from its violent owner.
Whales on Stilts!
Whales on Stilts! focuses on Lily, a quiet girl who is severely lacking in self-confidence. She has good reason to be: her two best friends, Katie Mulligan and Jasper Dash, are the heroes and main characters of their own (fictional) book series and each of them defeats villains and goes on rollicking adventures all the time. Lily feels inadequate and timid until an army of stilt-walking whales with devastating laser eyes invades her town, and Jasper and Katie help support her and boost her confidence as she finally takes center stage in defeating some villains of her own.
The Mysterious Benedict Society
The first book of a trilogy (so far), The Mysterious Benedict Society tells the story of four friends who come together in an effort to defeat an evil mastermind and save an adult who they all love. Each child is handpicked for the adventurous tasks through rounds of vigorous testing, so the friendship dynamic is interesting because it depicts kids who did not naturally approach one another. Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance each bring individual strengths and quirks to the table, and reading about their struggles to cooperate and grow stronger as a team is both touching and inspiring.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
A great book for preteen girls, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is the first of a series about four close friends who separate for the first time and share their new life experiences through letters and a common pair of jeans that they mail to one another throughout a summer. The girls' bond is evident through the care they each take in writing letters and sharing news with the others, and the book is seamless in its handling of the individual characters and the friendship that brings the plot together.
Selecting More Books
If these recommendations aren't suitable for the kids you know or if you're seeking books that feature different themes or content, ask a librarian or a primary-school teacher for some help. People who are familiar with the wide variety of chapter books available for kids can help you choose the most suitable titles for whatever you're seeking. Almost every chapter book for kids deals with friendship in some form, so you and your kids have a great variety from which to choose and enjoy.