Relationships Book List

Books about friendship, family, love, kindness, sharing and negotiating relationships.

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Picture Books

Love You Always by Frances Stickley, Illus. Migy Blanco

Hoglet is worried as he walks home with mummy and notices the leaves changing. Will she still love him if he changes? Will her love ever change?

The Storm Whale by Benji Davies

Lonely child Noi spends lots of time alone because his fisherman father works hard. One day he finds a baby whale washed up and takes it home to care for it. He learns that he must let the whale go back to where it belongs.

The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson,Illus. Axel Scheffler

George the giant meets so many animals in need of his help that he ends up giving away all of his smart clothes.

Love Is by Diane Adams, Illus. Claire Keane

A little girl finds a duckling and takes it home to care for it. A tale about love and responsibility.

Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson, Illus. Axel Scheffler

Baby monkey has lost his mum! Butterfly offers to help but keeps getting it wrong because none of the animals she takes him to look like him. But, of course, none of the butterfly's babies look like her! Charming and funny, it shows us we don't always have to look the same to be family. My favourite Julia Donaldson book by far!

Collin and Lee, Carrot and Pea by Morag Hood

Two friends who are very different. Teaches children the value of having friends who are different from us. A board book suitable for very young children.

Instructions by Neil Gaiman, Illus. by Charles Vess

A wonderful picture book for old or young! Written in typically whimsical fashion, this illustrated poem instructs the reader as they journey through a fairy tale but older readers may recognise a deeper meaning behind the 'instructions'

Want To Play Trucks? by Ann Stott, Illus. by Bob Graham

Jack wants to play trucks and Alex wants to play dolls. Can they find a way to play together?

I Want a Friend! by Tony Ross

Tony Ross' Little Princess series is just so fantastic at supporting children with issues in a humourous way that adults will also appreciate. The Little Princess has started school - will she make friends?

Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers

The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson, Illus. by Axel Sheffler

The snail wants to see the world, so he hops on the back of his friend the whale and off they go! But when the whale gets beached, it's his tiny friend who has to save the day! A lovely story of friendship and adventure.

Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

Footpath Flowers by JonArno Lawson, Illus. by Sydney Smith

A small girl collects flowers on her walk with her distracted father and gifts them to others. A stunning, wordless picture book about small kindnesses and the value of giving.

Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel

The classic tale of the best of friends, Frog and Toad, who are always there for each other. 

So Much by Trish Cook, Illus. by Helen Oxenberry

Everyone in this large extended family comes to see mum and baby because they all love baby so much.

This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers

Wilfred knows that the moose he names Marcel belongs to him and is his pet, even if he doesn't always follow Wilfred's rules. One day, someone else claims the moose as their own. This story raises questions about the concept of ownership but also about whether others need to do what we say and want all the time.

Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers

Winnie-the-Pooh Classic Collection by A.A.Milne, Illus. by E.H. Shepard

Everyone, old and young, delights in the tales of Christopher Robbin, Pooh and friends. The tales are simple and heart-warming with a philosophical rich examination of friendship and love that is timeless.

The Girls by Lauren Ace, Illus. by Jenny Lovlie

Four girls meet and form a friendship that lasts a life time. They're lives go in different directions but they are there to support each other throughout. Lovely book.

My Hair by Hannah Lee, Illus. by Allen Fatimaharan

When a penguin arrives on the boy's doorstep, he tries to find out who owns him and then decides to take him home to the South Pole. But was the penguin really lost or did he just need a friend?

Great Women Who Changed The World by Kate Pankhurst

Discover the stories of remarkable women who changed the world for the better.

One of the best picture books in recent years. Julian wants to be a mermaid but will his grandmother approve? A gorgeous celebration of being true to who you are.

Not Like The Others: A Hidden Picture Book About Diversity by Jana Broecker 

Try to spot the fox with the fluffiest tail and all the other animals that are not like the others. A celebration of difference. 

The boy and the penguin are back. They are such good friends and do everything together. One day, the penguin decides he wants to fly. Will his friend help him?

In Every House, On Every Street by Jess Hitchman, Illus. by Lili la Belaine

A loving look at all the different homes and the families that live in them and share love, tears and laughter together. 

"My birthday's coming up so soon,
I'll need new clothes to wear.
But most of all, I need to know,
How shall I style my hair?"

A visit to the hairdressers to get ready for a birthday celebration is full of excitement and amazing hairstyles!

Hansel And Gretel by Rachel Isadora

Rachel Isadora has retold and illustrated several classic fairytales with African characters. Beautiful, bright and eye-catching illustrations.

 
Ages 8 - 12

Lightning Girl by Alesha Dixon and Katy Birchall

9+ Aurora Beam discovers that her mum is a secret superhero and finds out she has her own powers. When she meets her mum's evil twin, she has to choose between being a super hero or a super villain... 

The Boy At The Back Of The Class by Onjali Rauf

9+ A new boy joins the narrator's class and they discover that he is a refugee called Ahmet who was separated from his family. His new friends think they might be able to help. This is a wonderful, heart-warming and important book highlighting the plight of refugees. 

Tristan Strong Punches A Hole In The Sky by Kwame Mbalia

9+ Tristan Strong has accidentally opened a chasm to the MidPass and finds himself caught up in a battle between African-American folk heroes, ancient African gods and the monster inhabitants of the MidPass. First in the series from the 'Rick Riordan Presents' imprint. 

Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone

9+ Eska, Flint and Blu set out to save the kingdom of Erkenwald from the Ice Queen. Blu has Down's Syndrome. It is refreshing to see a strong character such as Blu represented with love and sensitivity where her condition is just incidental to the story.

Booked by Kwane Alexander

12+ Second book in the hugely successful, Newberry medal winning series from Kwame Alexander. A novel in verse about a football-mad boy who hates books.

High-Rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson

9+ It's the hottest summer on record in London and someone in Nik and Norva's high-rise block, the Tri, has been murdered. Can they solve the mystery before the summer holiday is over? 

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Down

9+ Ted and his sister Kat are waiting for their cousin Salim to finish his ride on the London Eye. But when the doors open, Salim is nowhere to be found. Ted's brain 'runs on a different operating system' to other people's and this might just save the day. A neurodivergent narrator who let's us glimpse the world as he sees it.

The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

9+ Matthew has crippling OCD which means he stays home most of the time looking out of his window. Which makes him the last person to see his neighbour's son before he disappears. Can Matthew solve the mystery?

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

The Girl Who Stole An Elephant by Nirzana Farook

A Pocketful Of Stars by Aisha Bushby

A Kind Of Spark by Elle McNicoll 

9+ August Pullman has never been to school before because he has Treacher-Collins Syndrome and spent most of his life having surgeries and being home-schooled. We join him as he starts in fifth grade and tries to make friends and deal with bullying. One of the best books to teach children empathy.

9+ Chaya and her friends go on an adventure through the jungle with an elephant after stealing the queen's jewels.

9+ Safiya's mum doesn't understand her passion for gaming and she feels like an outsider at school. When her mum ends up in a coma, Safiya finds herself in a magical world that reminds her of one of her games and meets a mysterious, rebellious girl who looks familiar.

9+ Adeline is a neurodivergent girl who campaigns to have a memorial to women killed in witchcraft trials in her town because she empathises with them being seen as different. At the same time she is the target of cruel behaviour from a girl in her class. An important book which demonstrates the challenges faced by autistic children and adults.

Bill's New Frock by Anne Fine

7+ Bill wakes up one day and he is a girl. His mum makes him wear a frilly, pink dress to school and Bill discovers that things are somehow different when you are a girl.

Tall Story by Candy Gourlay

9+ Andi loves basketball and wishes she could be taller. When her half-brother Bernardo comes to live with them from the Phillipines, she hopes he is tall and likes basketball too. Turns out, he is actually taller than anyone she has ever seen! Told from both perspectives, we see how the siblings negotiate a clash of cultures and their own personal issues to build a relationship.

Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

9+ Ally has been hiding her dyslexia for a long time and getting into lots of trouble until in her latest school, she meets Mr Daniels who sees the creative, smart child underneath it all.

Song For A Whale by Lynne Kelly

9+ Iris was born deaf and lived with her deaf grandparents her whole life, until her grandfather dies and life just isn't the same. Then she finds out about a whale that can't communicate with other whales and she sets out on a journey determined to help.

Asha And The Spirit Bird by Jasbinder Bilan

9+ Asha's father has not been heard from in months and someone is threatening to ruin the family farm. With her friend Jeevan, Asha sets out on a journey through the Himalayas to find her father, guided by the spirit of her grandmother in the form of a majestic lamagaia - a huge bearded vulture. A fantastic book with a strong female lead.

The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher

7+ Ten-year-old William Trundle loves dinosaurs and enjoys his life at home and school until a bully called Brenda joins his class. Suddenly, William, a wheelchair-user, is made to feel different and alienated. He meets the Christmasaurus, who also feels different, and together they embark on an adventure.

 
Teen and Young Adult

Not my usual age group so only a few titles here but these books are just too good to ignore!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

14+ A stunning novel about sixteen year old Starr who witnesses her best friend, Khalil, shot and killed by a police officer. As the only witness, Starr struggles with what to do in the face of mounting pressure from all sides, including threats made to her family. An important book inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, I could not put it down. Content warnings: some swearing, violence, sexual and drug references so I would perhaps recommend this for older teens.

Noughts And Crosses by Malorie Blackman

12+ The seminal work of one of Britain's greatest living children's authors. Sephy and Callum have been friends since they were young but cannot be anything more because she is a cross and he is a nought - a 'blanker' whose only purpose is to serve the crosses. A tale of star-crossed lovers whose choices have resounding repercussions. I've added this to the Teen/YA section because I've always felt the relationship to be more mature than suitable for a middle grade book. 

Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

14+ Superb West-African inspired fantasy series which starts with this book. Zelie is marked out as a Maji by her white hair but the Maji no longer have power. Their magic has been destroyed, along with her mother and the other Maji who were killed by the king's men. But magic is returning to the land of Orisha, thanks to a stolen scroll and the king's daughter Amari. Together, Zelie and Amari must return the scroll to its rightful place and restore the magic of Orisha for good.