Books about friendship for tweens often shape the social development and emotional well-being of young readers. These important children's books offer relatable stories and characters that teach essential lessons in making good friends and navigating friendship challenges.
Learn how parents can use books to help teach tweens to make friends, the best middle grade books to help kids understand friendship, crucial lessons about friendship all kids should learn, and how book clubs can promote social skills and a love for reading.
How parents can teach tweens to make friends
Encourage open communication
One of the best ways parents can help tweens make new friends is by fostering open communication. This means creating a safe and comfortable environment for them to discuss their feelings, experiences, and concerns about friendships. By promoting communication, parents can provide guidance as kids navigate middle school friendships and the challenges they sometimes bring.
Provide opportunities for social interaction
To make friends, tweens need opportunities to meet and interact with their peers. Parents can play a role in creating these opportunities by arranging playdates, enrolling their children in clubs, and encouraging them to attend school events. These interactions help kids develop skills which are vital for understanding what it means to be a true friend.
Teach empathy and active listening
Empathy and active listening are crucial components of strong, healthy friendships. Parents can help their tweens develop these skills by modeling empathetic behavior and teaching them how to be good listeners. When reading, regular discussions on how characters interact can also be an effective way to help tweens better understand their own emotions.
Discuss friendships in books and relate them to real-life situations
Books about friendship can provide valuable insights and lessons for tweens, presenting stories that are both touching and relatable. Parents can use these stories as a springboard for conversations about friendship, encouraging children to reflect on their own relationships.
By relating the lessons found in books to real-life situations, parents can help tweens develop a deeper understanding of friendship. This will help prepare them for the trials they may encounter as they form new bonds with their peers.
Books that help kids understand how to better make friends
The following titles offer great examples of empathy and friendship.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Wonder is an inspiring and heartwarming story that follows a young boy named August, who has a facial deformity. As he enters public school for the first time, August navigates the challenges that often come for someone unique like him. The book teaches valuable lessons about empathy, kindness, and accepting differences, helping tweens understand the importance of being a good friend. A modern classic. Buy it here.
The Kindness Club by Courtney Sheinmel
This engaging series revolves around a group of middle school students who form a club dedicated to helping others. Through their adventures, the characters learn about teamwork, empathy, and the power of a lifelong friendship together. These books offer valuable insights into the intricacies of making friends and maintaining strong, healthy relationships. Buy it here.
Rules by Cynthia Lord
This is the story a girl named Catherine who struggles with the challenges of having a younger brother with autism. Through her journey, Catherine learns important lessons about acceptance, empathy, and the true meaning of friendship. This touching book teaches tweens that making friends sometimes requires stepping outside of their comfort zone to embrace our differences. Buy here.
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
A classic tale, this novel tells the story of two best friends, Jess and Leslie, who create an imaginary kingdom. As they navigate the difficulties of their friendship, they learn valuable lessons about loyalty, support, and the importance of imagination. This story highlights the bonds that can form between unlikely friends. Buy it here.
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
This is a thought-provoking novel about a girl named Melod, who has cerebral palsy and cannot speak. Despite her challenges, Melody is determined to make friends and prove her intelligence. Through her story, readers learn about empathy, perseverance, and the power of friendship. This touching story helps tweens understand everyone deserves a chance at friendship, regardless of their differences. Buy it here.
Important lessons of friendship to teach children
Kids who learn these core lessons are sure to have an easier time making good friends.
Empathy and understanding
Teaching empathy is a vital aspect of nurturing strong friendships. Children should learn to put themselves in others’ shoes, understanding and appreciating their feelings and experiences. By cultivating empathy, tweens can develop more profound connections with their friends and better support them during challenging times.
Trust and loyalty
Trust and loyalty are the cornerstones of any lasting friendship. It’s essential to teach children the importance of being reliable, keeping promises, and standing by friends through thick and thin. These traits allow tweens to form deep bonds with peers and build a dependable support system.
Conflicts are inevitable in any relationship, but learning how to resolve them effectively is a crucial skill. Teach children to communicate openly about their feelings, listen to their friends’ perspectives, and work together to find solutions. Conflict resolution skills help kids navigate the complexities of friendships and maintain healthy, long-lasting relationships.
Acceptance of differences
Embracing differences is a critical lesson in friendship. Children should learn to accept and celebrate their friends’ unique qualities, backgrounds, and experiences. By fostering an inclusive attitude, tweens can develop more diverse friendships that enhance their lives and broaden their perspectives.
The value of support and encouragement
Support and encouragement are essential in any friendship. Tweens should learn the importance of cheering their friends on, celebrating their successes, and offering a helping hand when needed. By being supportive and encouraging, children can help their friends reach their full potential and strengthen the bonds of friendship.
Books that teach children about the lessons of friendship
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Charlotte’s Web is a timeless classic that tells the heartwarming story of the unlikely friendship between a pig named Wilbur and his only friend, a spider named Charlotte. Through their bond, children learn valuable lessons about loyalty, selflessness, and the power of true friends. This touching tale also helps tweens understand friendships can come in unexpected forms. Buy it here.
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
In this captivating story, Ivan, a gorilla living in a shopping mall, forms a unique and unexpected friendship with a baby elephant named Ruby. Together, they embark on a journey to find a better life, teaching children the importance of perseverance, empathy, and the strength that comes from supporting one another. This engaging book encourages tweens to appreciate the power of friendship in overcoming challenges. Buy it here.
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
The Harry Potter series is not only a magical adventure but also a treasure trove of friendship lessons. Harry, Hermione, and Ron’s enduring bond demonstrates the importance of loyalty, trust, and courage in the face of adversity. The books also highlight the value of embracing differences, as the characters’ diverse backgrounds and skills strengthen their friendship. But it here.
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Because of Winn-Dixie tells the story of a lovable dog who helps a young girl form friendships and discover the importance of community. This sweet book teaches tweens about empathy, acceptance, and the power of kindness in building strong connections with others. Buy it here.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
In A Wrinkle in Time, Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin embark on a thrilling adventure through space and time. Along the way, they learn the significance of trust, courage, and the unbreakable bonds of friendship. This exciting and imaginative book teaches children that friendships can provide the strength needed to face even the most daunting challenges. Buy it here.
How to help kids build social skills and a love of reading with book clubs
The right book club activities can offer a win-win to parents who hope to encourage their children to develop social skills and a love of reading.
Create a welcoming and inclusive environment
Encourage open-mindedness and mutual respect, allowing book club participants to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions. This approach enables tweens to explore different perspectives and learn from one another.
Encourage group discussions and active listening
Promoting group discussions in book clubs is an excellent way for tweens to practice active listening and develop communication skills. Guide participants in engaging conversations about the books they read by asking open-ended questions that prompt thoughtful reflections. This process not only helps kids improve social skills, but also deepens their understanding of the lessons learned within the books read.
Offer diverse book selections
Providing diverse book selections that explore various themes, genres, and perspectives creates an engaging and enriching book club experience. This approach exposes tweens to different narratives, encouraging them to embrace new ideas and appreciate the complexity of friendships. Reading diverse books can also help children build empathy and understanding toward people from different backgrounds and experiences.
Organize fun, interactive activities
Incorporating fun and interactive activities can make book club meetings more enjoyable and memorable for tweens. Plan activities related to the book’s themes, such as games, crafts, or even field trips. After all, fun experiences can help kids connect with the stories on a deeper level while strengthening their friendships with fellow book club members.
Provide opportunities for leadership and responsibility
Book clubs offer a unique opportunity for tweens to develop leadership skills and a sense of responsibility. Encourage children to take turns leading discussions, selecting books, or organizing events. This involvement empowers tweens to take ownership of their learning experiences and develop essential life skills.
Books about friendship for tweens serve as powerful tools to teach valuable life lessons and foster social skills development. By introducing children to diverse stories that explore the complexities of friendship, parents can help their tweens understand essential qualities like empathy, trust, loyalty, and acceptance.
Book clubs offer an excellent opportunity for children to build social skills and cultivate a love for reading. By creating a welcoming environment, encouraging group discussions, offering diverse book selections, and organizing fun activities, book clubs can significantly enrich tweens’ lives. These experiences not only help children develop a firm foundation in social skills but also instill a lifelong love of reading, which will continue to serve them well throughout their lives.
By investing time and effort in nurturing these essential skills and providing a supportive environment for tweens to grow, parents can help their children form lasting and meaningful friendships. These friendships will contribute significantly to their overall well-being, shaping them into empathetic, caring, and well-rounded individuals who are prepared to navigate the evolving world around them.
More books for tweens
Books for tweens aren't limited to those about friendship.
Don't miss our great write-up on scary books for tweens and how they can be used to help your child develop even more essential life skills.