Building Relationships Through Books

Books that build a bridge and foster connections between children, adults, and peers

Young children’s relationships with their teachers and peers are foundational for learning and healthy development. This series of books highlights teacher-child relationships, peer relationships, and ways to solve social problems as they arise in the classroom.

Book Cover of the Dot
teacher-child relationships

The Dot

Written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, this story illustrates how a sensitive, responsive educator helps a young artist finds inspiration in her own artwork.
Page of the book Benny Doesn't Like to Be Hugged, where two children are flying kites
peer relationships

Benny Doesn't Like to Be Hugged

Written by Zetta Elliott and illustrated by Purple Wong, this is a simple, yet beautiful story about a friendship between a child with autism and a typically developing child.

A page of the book Thank You Omu, where children and adults are gathered
peer relationships

Thank You, Omu

Written and illustrated by Oge Mora, Thank You, Omu is a story about how small acts of kindness, like sharing, can bring a community together.

peer relationships

The Night is Yours

Written by Abdul-Razak Zachariah and illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo, this story is about a little girl who makes sure to include everyone in her game of hide-and-seek.
Elliot Big City Book Cover
peer relationships

Little Elliot, Big City

Written and illustrated by Mike Curato, this is a story about a small elephant who faces some challenges throughout his day. But with the help of a new friend, no challenge is too big.

A page of the book share and take turns. Young girl playing at table while two other children are nearby.
social problem solving

Share and Take Turns

Written by Cheri J. Meiners, this book provides many opportunities to talk and think about social situations that young children may encounter in the classroom, such as sharing toys or taking turns.

Baby's First Words Book Cover
teacher-child relationships

Baby's First Words

Written by Stella Blackstone and Sunny Scribens and illustrated by Christiane Engel, this book captures a day in the life of young toddler. It features colorful illustrations and simple labels that are perfect for following children’s lead as they explore familiar objects, places, and actions.
Kindness and Strong Book Cover
peer relationships

Kindness Makes Us Strong

Written and illustrated by Sophie Beer, this story highlights the power of everyday acts of kindness. Kindness is a friendly hello, a roaring cheer, or a quick boost. See how you can engage our youngest readers with the power of kindness.

That's (Not) Mine book cover
problem solving with peers

That's (Not) Mine

Written by Anna Kang and illustrated by Christopher Weyant, this story highlights different ways to (not) solve problems with friends in a fun and engaging way.


Key Takeaways

Highlight educators as a resource

Educators can help children view them as a resource by sharing stories that feature adults showing empathy and working together with children to find solutions.

Explicitly teach social skills

Reading books that explicitly teach social skills can help all children learn how to interact with peers in a positive and respectful way.

Focus on problems and solutions

Young children are still learning how to share, take turns, and work collaboratively with their peers. Educators can help children develop social problem-solving skills by discussing how characters in stories encounter social challenges and solve problems together.