How To Mend a Friend

How To Mend a Friend

By Author / Illustrator

Karl Newson, Clara Anganuzzi



Age range(s)



Templar Publishing




Paperback / softback




A heartfelt picture book that explains empathy, told in simple words. Some friends need a great big hug to make them feel well. Some prefer to be alone. / Some listen, others tell the most adventurous stories of the times that went before! Some friends may not want to talk about them anymore. /

How to Mend a Friend is a heartfelt picture book which touches on empathy, loss and friendship. At times, we all feel a little bit broken. Karl's simple text is a guide on How to Mend a Friend, whether it's a friend with a broken toy, a broken heart, a loss they can't explain or the sadness that comes when someone else eats the last cookie. Featuring a child and an imaginary animal friend, children will find it easy to relate to the story throughout, whilst learning how they might support a friend who feels sad.

Q&A with Karl Newson 



From children’s favourite and award-winning author of 'I am NOT an elephant' and 'I am a Tiger', comes a more emotional and thought-provoking story about how differently us and our friends may respond to difficult emotions and what might be best for them or us when we are 'feeling blue'.

How to Mend a Friend is a book about self-help and emotional intelligence for our young and old children - without them realising it! It explores what different friends might need when feeling sad. We learn a whole host of ideas and strategies to help our friends feel well, for example; lending them a great big hug. But more remarkably, with the help of an imaginary animal friend, this story teaches our youth about how they can help themselves when feeling blue. For example; reading a book, enjoying a bubble bath, watching some TV, indulging in their favourite foods, letting out a shout and writing their feelings down.

This story broaches the topic of depression and sadness in an extremely clever way where our children are simply learning a range of ways they can try and improve their mood. I feel so strongly that this picture book guide is a must-have in any children's setting. It sparks discussion, if children feel they want to share, about strategies they have used to improve their mood or somebody else's to make them feel well again. It's time we got talking!

Picture book / Reviewed by Jessica Bunney, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 3+


The main themes of How to Mend a Friend are empathy, sadness and supporting a friend. It was written by the author Karl Newson whilst he was undergoing treatment for cancer so it has a very emotional feel around it. It is such a beautiful book - the words and illustrations are stunning! If you like animals, you will love the pictures.

How to Mend a Friend is written in verse and speaks about how we are all different and deal with our emotions in various ways such as reading, going out in nature or singing. Or it may be that we want to be alone, we want to shout or we want to be silent. The text then goes on to talk about how to help a sad friend, for example, giving a hug, a smile, cake or flowers.  Often we think that friends will be with us forever, but some aren't. I really liked the line 'Some friends will grow old with you. Some will come and go.' This shows us that it's okay if we're not friends with people forever.

I would totally recommend this book for younger children to use during a lesson on friendship or wellbeing. It can give children ideas on how to cope with their emotions and how to support those who are feeling sad, but also that just because one friend likes hugs, the other friend may not. It really is beautifully written and should be in every classroom to bring about conversations on wellbeing and looking after each other, which we all need.

Picture book / Reviewed by Catherine Kus, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 3+


Other titles