Book covers: You Are Not My Friend But I Miss You, The Squirrels Who Squabbled and Norris the Bear Who Shared

Tech & Media

7 Great Picture Books That Encourage Kids to Share

May 16, 2018

As a parent of two kids under the age of five, I spend a lot of time talking about sharing and taking turns.

One day I’ll be reminding my older son that he doesn’t actually need all 200 building blocks in the set and could probably share a few with his little brother, and the next I’m taming a toddler tantrum because my youngest really wants the blue car, even though he already has the red one.

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Sharing is caring, as the saying goes, but it can also be a little complicated sometimes. As much as I want my kids to embrace sharing, I want them to know that there are times when they don’t have to share. And I also want them to understand that other people don’t have to share with them, just because they want something.

Generosity is a great quality to have, but entitlement? Not so much. As we navigate this tricky topic together, I know I can always rely on a good book to reinforce the messages that I’m trying to help my wee ones learn.

Here are some of my favourites. 

You Are Not My Friend, But I Miss You (By Daniel Kirk)

When a sock monkey gets upset with his puppy pal for not sharing a ball, he decides he’d rather find new friends or play alone. But he soon realizes that he misses his friend, and that perhaps he wasn’t doing his part to share, either. The text in Daniel Kirk’s book about friendship and sharing may be sparse, but it carries an important message: sharing isn’t meant to be a one-way street. Recommended for ages 2 and up.

Llama Llama Time to Share (By Anna Dewdney)

Everyone’s favourite llama is about to get a lesson in making friends! When the new neighbour Nelly Gnu comes over for a play date, things get tense when she wants to share Llama’s beloved stuffie. The two eventually find a common interest and have a blast baking a pretend cake in Llama’s play kitchen, and by the end of the visit, he learns that sharing his toys means sharing fun, too. Recommended for ages 2 to 5.

Norris, the Bear Who Shared (By Catherine Rayner)

Norris the bear is very wise and very kind. So, he doesn’t seem to mind very much when two curious critters start inspecting the plorringe fruit he’s been waiting so patiently to fall from a tree. Who will win the prized plorringe treat in the end? With its gorgeous painted illustrations and simple text, Catherine Rayner’s tale is a sweet way to reinforce themes of sharing and generosity with your wee ones. Recommended for ages 3 and up.

The Squirrels Who Squabbled (By Rachel Bright, Illustrated by Jim Field)

Cyril and Bruce are two very determined squirrels who each want the last pinecone in the forest. Driven by greed and an inability to share, the pair chases the pinecone all the way to a waterfall, where they’re almost met with disaster — until they finally learn to work together. With fun rhyming text and gorgeous illustrations, this one is sure to be a big hit with your kiddos. Recommended for ages 3 and up.

We Share Everything (By Robert Munsch, Illustrated by Michael Martchenko)

It’s the first day of kindergarten for Amanda and Jeremiah, and they’re having a little trouble getting along. They don’t want to share books, they don’t want to share blocks and they don’t want to share paint. But their teacher insists that “in kindergarten, we share everything!” which leads to a hilarious scene — in classic Robert Munsch style — of shared outfits that will have your kids laughing out loud. (Note: There’s also a board book version for younger kids that swaps the kindergarten setting for daycare.) Recommended for ages 3 to 7.

One Big Pair of Underwear (By Laura Gehl, Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld)

Featuring bears wearing underwear and yaks eating snacks, this book of tongue twisters takes little ones on a hilarious journey, with plenty of colourful characters and wacky scenarios along the way. Can all the animals learn to share, or will someone always be left out of the fun? This is one you’ll want to read aloud over and over again. Recommended for ages 4 to 8.

The Boy Who Wouldn’t Share (By Mike Reiss, Illustrated by David Catrow)

In a story that will no doubt seem very familiar to parents of siblings, Edward refuses to share any of his toys with his little sister Claire. “It’s MINE!” he insists, as he hoards all of his toys into a giant pile. But when he gets stuck in his tower of treasures and misses out on snack time, Edward learns a valuable lesson about sharing, forgiveness and generosity from Claire that turns the whole day around. Recommended for ages 4 to 8.

Article Author Alicia McAuley
Alicia McAuley

Read more from Alicia here.

Alicia McAuley is a freelance writer, editor and all-around web nerd who never met a pop culture reference she didn't like. The former editor of a parenting website, these days she shares a home office in the suburbs with her husband, two adorable boys, and two lazy cats. You can find her cracking jokes on Twitter @aliciamcauley and pinning projects for her to-do list on Pinterest.

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