Self Esteem

Building children’s self-esteem is important to their development and general well-being. These books focus on helping them see that they are unique, special, and that they can contribute to the world around them. While some are more subtle than others, each of the books on this list can provide children with an often needed self-esteem boost.

Top 5 Children’s Books About Self-Esteem

have you filled a bucket today? Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: Like many of the children’s books about self-esteem, this focuses on helping to give kids a greater sense of purpose through helping others. With a focus on kindness, respect, being fair, being responsible and being generous, this book shows kids how rewarding it can be to help out those who are in need. It is a character development program that works for kids of all ages. The metaphor of ‘bucket filling’ is simple, straight forward, and will be understood by virtually anyone. This book showcases how a community is a much better place to live when everyone treats each other kindly.
the dot The Dot: Part of effective self-esteem building is encouraging children to impart on a journey of self-discovery that will help them learn the most important truths about themselves. This book helps them to do just that. It all starts with Vashiti, who follows her art teacher’s instructions and draws a mark to see where it goes. Her initial mark is an angry one, but as she continues to follow it where it takes her, she realizes that anger is just on the surface, and there is much more underneath. Once she realizes how she really feels, she is able to embrace her feelings and improve her self-esteem.
beautiful oops! Beautiful Oops!: When children make a mistake, they can often be led to believe that they are a bad person as a result. This book strives to show children that everyone makes mistakes, that it’s OK to make mistakes – in fact, mistakes can be good! A mistake is a way to learn new things, to better understand ourselves and the world around us, and a way to embrace who we are. This book uses artful examples of mistakes that turned out for the better, such as spilled paint on a drawing that only serves to make it brighter and more vivacious.
you are special You Are Special: This book centers around a small, wooden people named Wemmicks. Every day they do the same thing: they either put a gold star or a gray star on one another. The beautiful, flawless smooth wooded people get gold stars, while the ones with a bit of chipped paint or other minor flaws get the dreaded gray dots. This is a heartwarming tale that shows kids that no matter what others may think of you – or what kind of star they think you deserve – you are special in your own right. It is a powerful tale that shows that it doesn’t matter how the world rates you. What matters is how you rate yourself.
the little engine that could The Little Engine That Could: This is probably the most well-known of all children’s books about self-esteem, and it has been beloved for decades. The book shows the power of positive thinking, and how important it is to believe in yourself. The littlest engine is told he can’t make the cut, but he never believes it – even when bigger, stronger, newer engines say that even they can’t handle the large load of toys that need to get up the mountain. The little engine keeps trying, and he keeps believing, and in the end his belief in himself pays off when he makes it to his destination.

Other Great Picture Books on Self-Esteem

i like myself! I Like Myself!: A great combination of both silly and serious, this is a book that truly embraces how important it is to accept ourselves – flaws and all! The joyous, rhyming text is paired with wild, bold, and colorful illustrations, and the result is a sassy book that comes straight from the heart. It encourages children to appreciate all their little quirks – both inside and out. Have messy hair? So what! Come down with the dreaded beaver breath? Who cares? Kids will giggle along with the funky rhymes and will remember the lessons in this book for years to come.
it’s okay to be different It’s Okay to Be Different: With bright, bold colors and clever illustrations, Todd Parr’s book shows kids how important confidence is – and just how to get it. Through acceptance and understanding, young children who are just learning to read can be inspired by this celebration of individuality. This book is designed to be a teaching tool in a number of ways: to increase emotional development, to celebrate multiculturalism, and to encourage character growth. It is a big, bold, and much needed addition to the genre of children’s books that seek to help children become better, more confident members of their schools and communities.
i’m gonna like me: letting off a little self-esteem I’m Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem: Written by actress Jamie Lee Curtis, this delightful book is told through alternating points of view. At times it’s narrated by a boy, at times it’s narrated by a girl. Both narrators are bursting with life and happiness, and they show kids that it’s OK to feel good about yourself and to be proud of who you are. It encourages kids to realize that they are unique, and that their uniqueness means they have something to add to the world. The lively, colorful and bold artwork is the perfect companion to the sparkling writing. This is a book that will get kids excited, laughing, and ready to let off a little self-esteem.
how full is your bucket? for kids How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids: Another book about kindness, this story follows a little boy named Felix, who goes about his day and runs into various people, including his sister, his grandpa, and other family and friends. Some of the folks he runs into are happy, others are sad. Felix’ grandpa uses a simple bucket / dipper metaphor to help Felix understand why some of the people he sees make him feel happy, and some of them make him feel safe. Ultimately, it is a lesson about how our own feelings can affect the feelings of those around us and those we care about.
spaghetti in a hot dog bun Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: A charming and uplifting book, Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun is the story of Lucy, who is constantly teased by Ralph. Ralph tells her how she’s one of a kind – but not in a good way! Initially Lucy lets his words get to her, but eventually when Ralph needs help, Lucy makes a courageous choice that will change their dynamic forever. This book shows kids the rewards of doing the right thing and of being proud of who they are – even when it’s not easy to make the right decision and feel good about themselves.
the lovables in the kingdom of self-esteem The Lovables in the Kingdom of Self-Esteem: This is a book that can teach both children and adults. With truly remarkable illustrations that are beautifully rendered, and an energetic and engaging rhythm, this book is truly a masterpiece. It focuses on the importance of the relationship both to oneself and to others. The Kingdom of Self-Esteem is full of animals, both big and small, who know how important they are, and how important their role is inside their kingdom. A book that’s perfect for both boys and girls, this is a story that will resonant with anyone who needs a self-esteem boost.
happy to be me! Happy to Be Me!: Part of the adorable, “Elf-help Books for Kids,” series, this book is fun, fantastical, and full of adorable whimsy. The book teaches children and parents alike that building strong self-esteem means giving yourself the power and the permission to truly be yourself. It showcases the importance of letting the special people in your life know how loved and cherished they are – simply for being themselves. A cute, pint-sized elfin friend is the guide through this book, and he takes the reader through a fascinating process of self-discovery. The reader will explore what makes them unique, will build a healthy self-image, and will get important tools for handling difficult situations.
the crown on your head The Crown on Your Head: It’s hard to decide what works better in this book: the absolutely stunning illustrations, or the magical, beautiful prose. Regardless of which one your family will like more, there’s no question that this is a book that really gets its message across. The story follows a magical crown, which glows and glimmers. Through the story we learn that every child is born with their own crown, and that crown represents their uniqueness. This is a soothing, beautiful, melodic story that’s a perfect way to send a young one off to bed with the message that they are truly magnificent.

The books on this list will help children understand that their differences are not disadvantages, but are advantages. They will understand that they are unique and that their uniqueness makes them a special, wonderful person. They will discover the skills they need to understand how to feel better about themselves, and how to improve the lives of others.

2 Responses to “Self Esteem”

  1. Elaine says:

    Also love Finklehopper Frog. He is teased because he can’t run like the other animals, but learns to appreciate his special talent of hopping!!!

  2. Shannon says:

    I also love Howard B. Wigglebottom Listens to His Heart by Howard Binkow

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