10 Books About Friendship for Middle Graders and Up

Valentine's Day, the day in which we celebrate friendship and love, is around the corner. Friendship, though, should be celebrated always. Middle graders usually undergo a lot of changes and discoveries, which usually involve how they interact with others. New friendships are made and others are broken. Some friendships are mended and strengthened. With those thoughts on mind, I compiled a book list of 10 books about friendship for middle graders and up. 

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate was the 2013 Newbery Medal's winner. Ivan is a friendly gorilla who lives in a cage within a shopping mall. Ivan watches TV and cares about art and his friends Stella and Bob. He starts seeing his life differently after he meets Ruby, a little elephant taken from the wild. Narrated in first person and inspired in true events, this is a story about friendship reminiscent of the classic Charlotte's Web

Pax by Sara Pennypacker is the powerful story of friendship between Peter and his fox Pax. Peter is forced to abandon Pax when his father has to go to the war and he has to move with his grandfather. Once Peter is living far away from home, he decides he must reunite with Pax. This book received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and the School Library Journal. 

When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin is a heartbreaking story about the power of friendship during dark times. A former foster kid who is bullied at school, Ben Coffin prefers to be immersed in sci-fi books. His life gets better when he takes in Flip, a stray dog, and becomes friends with Halley. In the midst of tragedy, Ben discovers the meaning of friendship and home. 

Wonder by R.J. Palacio is the amazing story of August, a middle grader, who was born with severe facial deformities. Auggie goes to school for the first time because he was homeschooled. Kids bully him in school relentlessly. Auggie, however, is resilient and discovers the true meaning of friendship and family.

Related post: Review: Wonder

Beautifully illustrated and written by Henry Cole, Brambleheart: A Story About Finding Treasure and the Unexpected Magic of Friendship is an animal fantasy novel. Twig, a chipmunk, sets out to find himself  but discovers a secret. He has to decide whether or not to keep the secret. In the meanwhile, he learns the meaning of friendship.

Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker is the sensitive story of Stella and Angel, two foster girls living with Louise on Cape Cod. Tragedy strikes, and the girls need to forge a strong friendship in order to survive. 

Hundred Percent by Karen Romano is a story about a girl named Christine Gouda, whose nickname is Tink. Christine is entering puberty and has to find her own identity in the middle of many changes. The story portrays the typical changes in friendships and relationships that take place during the middle-graded years. 

Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives is the moving and inspiring memoir of Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda. Caitlin started sending Martin letters as part of a school's assignment. However, they became pen-pals and forged an awesome friendship that changed their lives. 

A Newbery Honor Book and classic of children's literature, Charlotte's Web by E.B. White is the acclaimed and beloved story of the friendship between the spider Charlotte and the pig Wilbur. Generations will continue loving this book, which covers friendship, love, and death. 

An award-winning Newbery Medal and ALA Notable Children's Book, Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson is a modern classic about friendship. Jess Aarons dreams of being the fastest runner in fifth grade. Leslie Burke, a new girl, is his competition. Jess and Leslie start a great friendship. They become inseparable and invent a magical world in the woods called Terabithia. Jess has to rely on the power of friendship and family when a tragedy occurs.  

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