When Sophie Thinks She Can’t by Molly Bang

When Sophie Thinks She Can’t by Molly Bang, 2018 
Children fail at some point. It is a fact. Learning how to persevere and problem solve are important life skills they can learn from making mistakes. When Sophie Thinks She Can’tby Molly Bang focuses on this growth mindset approach. Sophie does not believe she is good at math and worries when her teacher presents the class with a puzzle challenging students to build a rectangle using twelve small squares.
When the teacher sees her students struggling, she introduces the concept of “yet”.  She encourages them, “You haven’t figured it out … YET. Keep working! Keep trying, and you will.” With more time, all of the children are successful in creating different types of rectangles. Readers will be happy to see that Sophie’s new growth mindset mentality stays with her and spreads to other aspects of her life as she returns home and helps her dad with a new problem.
Caldecott Honoree, Molly Bang’s beautiful artwork does a wonderful job highlighting Sophie’s emotions throughout her journey. Sophie’s classroom is particularly bright and colorful filled with a group of diverse students including one in a wheel chair. This inspirational book that many children will relate to belongs in every school and home library!

*** While I clearly love this book, I wanted to note that the first page did make me cringe. While Sophie is attempting to put together a puzzle at home, her sister says some hurtful words to her that adds to her frustration and insecurity. I was saddened that a family member could be so cruel, but used this as a talking point to my children about the effects of unkind words. Fortunately, the rest of the book is absolutely wonderful and the positive growth mindset message greatly outweighs the first scene.


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