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 book cover - Two babies embrace a brown and white puppy and an elephant stuffed animal.

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.

Clever Rachel book cover - An animated looking family gathers and converses.

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 book cover - Stylized and cute otters decorate the cover.

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.

Five Little Gefiltes book cover - Five happy and smiling Gifeltes in front of a cityscape.

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.

I Can Help book cover - A duckling peeks out from the reeds next to a pond.

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!

Jackie and Jesse and Joni and Jae book cover

Jackie and Jesse and Joni and Jae
by Chris Barash

Recommended for ages 5 to 6

Jackie and Jesse and Joni and Jae are really good friends! Sometimes, however, they’re not their best selves. On Rosh Hashanah, when they perform the ritual of tashlich, each of these four children takes a moment to consider ways they could have been better friends in the past year, and set goals to make the coming year the best yet.

Maddie's Fridge book cover - Two children look at each other while leaning against a fridge.

Maddie's Fridge
by Lois Brandt

Recommended for ages 7 to 8

When Sofia learns that her best friend, Maddi, doesn't have enough food in her fridge, she wants to help -- but Maddi has asked Sofia not to tell anyone. What should Sofia do?

Picnic at Camp Shalom book cover - Two happy children having a picnic.

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.

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.