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The paper examined the effect of literature in the school library on the social development of empathy and friendship skills of children. The study was done with two private primary schools in Orerokpe Educational Zone of Delta State, Nigeria. Two objectives and two research questions guided the study. The population of the study was 28,172 and the sample comprised 63 primary four pupils. Purposive and cluster sampling techniques were used to sample 32 pupils in experimental group one and 31 in the experimental group two (control group). Cluster sampling technique was further employed to draw out the two intact classes for the experiment. Data collected was were analyzed using mean and standard deviation, while analysis of covariance was used to test the hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. From the findings, it was discovered that exposing children to literature is effective and significant in both their ability to empathize with others and their ability to make friends. The implication is that schools should pay adequate attention to literature books when stocking the library, especially those with empathy and friendship themes as they will greatly impact the children on their ability to empathize with others and their ability to make friends with ease.
Key Words: literature, children’s literature, school library, social development, empathy skill, friendship skill.