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Best Children’s Picture Books for Self Esteem, Self Acceptance, Confidence, and Being Your Own Person
- A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon is such a fun story for kids and it teaches children to be your own person with confidence! It’s okay to be different and not follow the crowd. This story also teaches about resisting peer pressure. This book is written for middle to older school-aged children.
- Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees tells of a giraffe that feels different and left out of the jungle dance until he realizes he has his own dance moves that are unique and special. It’s a rhyming book and very fun to read. It is enjoyable for children of all ages, in my opinion. We read it to our baby girl and that is how I first found it, but older children would enjoy it perhaps even more.
- I Like Me! by Nancy Carlson is a story about a pig who likes herself and picks herself back up when she makes mistakes. Even more than that, she likes her body and that is an important message to send in today’s world. I often like having kids create their own I Like Me books. It is written for young children (around pre-school age).
- You Are Special by Max Lucado and Sergio Martinez is a religious classic about everyone’s individual worth regardless of popularity. I remember loving it as a child and remember everyone else loving it, too. It’s written for children elementary school-aged and up.
- Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger is a hilarious book about a penguin being his own person in his dress ideas, and behaviors. It was another childhood favorite. Written for school-aged children and up.
- The Emperor’s New Clothes, a Hans Christian Andersen classic but retold by Riki Levinson and illustrated by Robert Byrd, tells a humorous story of an emperor who was fooled into wearing no clothes because he was told only stupid people can’t see how fine and rich they look. It’s a great analogy to teach kids about the importance of using your voice to stick up for your beliefs and not give into peer-pressure. (I couldn’t find the copy I read to link to, but you can find many variations of the classic online.)
- The Ugly Duckling: Of course, no list on self esteem books would seem complete without this other Hans Christian Andersen classic. The ugly duckling learns that he does have great beauty inside (and out) even though he doesn’t look like the other ducks. Instead, he’s a swan.
- Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose by Dr. Seuss tells the story of many animals who wanted to live on Thidwick’s antlers. He just didn’t have the heart to say no. Luckily, he grew new antlers just in time to escape to safety. This book is great for teaching older children who are acting too passively that sometimes we just have to say no and be assertive. “No” isn’t mean- instead it means we are keeping us safe and happy.
- Exactly Like Me by Stephanie Moss and illustrated by Gail Yerrill is a cute book for young, pre-school children to learn how every child has different, important qualities. The mouse sees many different animals with awesome qualities but is happy being himself because he has great qualities, too.
- The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken is a darling book that tells a story mostly through pictures. It’s about a child who made a mistake on her artwork and she used that to creatively change it into the beautiful piece artwork she achieved by the end. This is a great book for perfectionists who beat themselves up over every mistake. Instead, we can all learn and grow from our mistakes and become the great person that we are.
- The Lovables in the Kingdom of Self-Esteem by Diane Loomans and illustrated by Kim Howard tells children that there are many different, important qualities in every person. The Kingdom of Self-Esteem is full of animals who have little poems devoted to their qualities, such as being capable, loving to learn, or being gentle and strong.
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