Back-to-School Books That Build Confidence and a Positive Self-Image

When children have self-confidence and love themselves, they are more likely to try new things, bounce back quickly after mistakes, and be kind to others. One way of instilling these important feelings and overall positive attitude is by reading books that help remind them of how amazing each and every person is. Here are a few of our favorite books that inspire self-worth and confidence in children.

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You Matter by Christian Robinson, 2020

(Ages 2 and up)

If ever there was a book that a child NEEDS to hear, it is this one. You Matter combines Christian Robinson’s beautiful signature artwork with a message that each of us is important. With just the right amount of humor mixed in with the simple text, this is a book that will resonate with the youngest listeners to the oldest readers.

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A Boy Like You (2019) and A Girl Like You (2020) by Frank Murphy; illustrated by Kayla Harren

(Ages 4 and up)

In these beautifully illustrated treasures, an unseen narrator gives sage advice to a young boy and girl encouraging them to be their best selves. The emboldening text urges children to try new things, stand up for themselves and others, be a good friend, and love themselves just the way they are.  There are so many great lessons in these books and they are sure to be revisited often through the years.

Buy A Boy Like You      Buy A Girl Like You

 

The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes; illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, 2019

(Ages 4 and up)

Filled with colorful illustrations and affirming text, this playful book is sure to generate excitement about starting kindergarten. When a mother deems her son the “king of kindergarten”, he gains the confidence to face anything. With a giant smile, he listens to his teacher, shares, plays, and makes new friends. This charming story will leave readers eager to explore their own royal school kingdoms.

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Zero by Kathryn Otoshi, 2010

(Ages 4 and up)

When the number zero feels empty inside and that she doesn’t “count”, she tries to reshape herself in the form of other numbers. It is only when she looks at herself with a new perspective that she realizes that by being herself, she adds even more value to the other numbers. This book is elegant, sophisticated, and a wonderful tool for teaching children self-worth.

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Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow; illustrated by Luisa Uribe, 2020

(Ages 5 and up)

Names hold such power and when they are pronounced incorrectly, even inadvertently, it stings. This compelling story stars a young girl who is devastated when her classmates and teachers cannot say her name correctly. Her mother teaches her the lyrical nature of names; a lesson that is elegantly captured through enchanting illustrations. Most notably, her mother shares the importance of one’s cultural heritage and how it shapes identity.  With a new-found confidence, the girl returns to school and shares her knowledge with her class.

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All the Ways to Be Smart by Davina Bell; illustrated by Allison Coploys, 2019

(Ages 4 and up)

Rhyming text and lively illustrations feature a variety of diverse children showcasing their own special talents. “Smart is not just being best at spelling bees, a tricky test. Or knowing all the answers ever…Other things are just as clever. Every hour of every day, we’re smart in our own special way. And nobody will ever do…the very same smart thing as you.”

I love the message of this book! In a society that puts a ton of pressure on children, I’m thrilled to discover a book that reassures them that there are a lot of ways to excel and that we each have our own unique gifts.

Buy It Here

 

We Will Rock Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins, 2020

(Ages 5 and up)

In this outstanding sequel to WE DON’T EAT OUR CLASSMATES, the lovable Penelope T. Rex returns to school and grapples with being the only dinosaur in her class. When her teacher announces the upcoming talent show, Penelope can’t wait to show off her musical skills, but doubts herself when she steps on the stage for rehearsal. Filled with humorous illustrations and comical text, children will love following Penelope as she overcomes her stage fright and pursues her passion.

With tons of kid appeal, this story is perfect for inspiring children to conquer their own fears and find their inner rock stars!

The end papers feature various drawings that appear to be created by children showcasing their various talents, which could serve as a prompt for students to create their own artwork highlighting their gifts. This activity would both boost their confidence and help students get to know one another.

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Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall, 2015

(Ages 5 and up)

This book pulls at my heartstrings each time I read it. It is tailor-made for every child who has ever felt like they don’t belong. When a blue crayon wrapped in a red label can’t draw the color red, he feels like a failure. No matter what he tries, nothing works. When someone asks him to draw an ocean, however, he realizes that he is actually blue and can accomplish great things.

This story is so clever and poignant and so perfect for reminding children that everyone has a special talent that is just waiting to be discovered.  Between the artwork and the positive messaging, there is so much to love about this brilliant book!

Buy It Here

 

Extraordinary Ordinary Ella by Amber Hendricks; illustrated by Luciana Navarro Powell, 2020

(Ages 5 and up)

While all of Ella’s friends have something they are good at, Ella fears she doesn’t have any talents. While preparing for the school talent show, however, Ella provides several random acts of kindness to her friends and discovers that by just being herself she is in fact quite extraordinary.

I simply adore this book! Ella is a relatable character and the simple text paired with engaging illustrations make this a good choice for a classroom read aloud or one-on-one sharing. The message that everyone has self-worth and that kindness is something to be celebrated is powerful without being overly didactic.

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Just Like Me by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, 2020

(Ages 5 and up)

This special book is an incredible mix of poetry and eye-catching illustrations that celebrate all kinds of girls. The colorful pictures that pop off the page combined with the engaging poetry that represents a variety of personalities and aspects of being a girl make this a book that will resonate with many.

Buy It Here

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