8 ​Books About Teamwork and Friendship

Friendships can be made at home with family, at school, in the neighborhood, at playgroup, or a PJ Library event. Friendships make us happy and making and keeping friends is a lifeskill that children start learning early. In Judaism, the value of friendship, or dibbuk chaverim, describes the bond formed in friendships.
 
Stories are a wonderful way to help children learn positive social skills and the building blocks of friendship. The books listed below are good jumping off points for children to learn about being a good friend, listening to friends, contributing to community, and being all around mensches.
 
 
Baby Be Kind by Jane Cowen-Fletcher
Recommended for ages 6 months to 2 years
Everyone can take part in tikkun olam (repairing the world). Petting a puppy, sharing snacks, and helping someone who has fallen down all help make the world a little better.

 
I Can Help by David Hyde Costello
Recommended for ages 2 to 3 years
When this little duck gets lost, he needs help getting home where he belongs. Luckily, lots and lots of animals are available to help -- just the way a community should be!


 
Five Little Gefiltes by Dave Horowitz
Recommended for ages 3 to 4 years
Mama Gefilte isn’t thrilled when her curious little ones leave their jar and go out to explore the world, but she can certainly be proud of what they know about being a mensch.
 

Picnic at Camp Shalom by Jacqueline Jules
Recommended for ages 5-7 years
Carly and Sara are bunkmates who get off to a rocky start but their love of music (and a surprise in common) leads to a great summer camp friendship.

 
Across the Alley by Richard Michelson
Recommended for ages 6 to 7 years
Abe’s grandfather wants him to be a violinist; Willie’s father assumes he’ll grow up to be a baseball superstar. As it turns out, the boys are happiest when they exchange hobbies!

 
Clever Rachel by Debby Waldman
Recommended for ages 7 to 8 years
Two youngsters, Rachel and Jacob, learn the importance of putting differences aside and working together as they solve tricky riddles that change lives.


Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller
Recommended for ages 7 to 8 years
When a family of otters moves in next to Mr. Rabbit, he’s a little nervous -- he’s not sure if they’ll get along. But then he remembers the Golden Rule: Do unto otters as you would have otters do unto you! This book shows how treating others with respect is the basis of friendship, cooperation, and sharing.

 
All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
Recommended for ages 8 and up
In Sydney Taylor’s classic story, five young sisters experience Jewish life in New York City in the early 1900s. They find adventure in activities such as visiting the library and dusting the front room. In reading this book, contemporary children experience the simple, family pleasures of talk, inventive play, and holiday celebrations.
 
Parents and grownups, would you like to learn more about the Jewish thinking behind the value of friendship? Head over to My Jewish Learning for more information.

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