We want our kids to feel confident about who they are and have the confidence to try new things. The thing is, they are bombarded with many social pressures and opinions of others that can challenge their self-esteem. In my experience as an educator, I've learned it’s never too early to help little ones feel good about who they are, and positive about all things that they tackle. This book list offers opportunities to read and discuss the importance and the power of confidence. Read the book descriptions below, or head straight to the shopping list!
1. Sometimes kids think they need to be more like someone else in order to have confidence. That is what Mouse believes in The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright. But, of course, confidence never arrives when you're not being true to yourself — which is valuable message this book share. In particular, I love the powerful line, "If you want to change things, you must first change you."
2. There are moments when little ones need encouragement from a loved one to find the confidence to do something. That's just what happens in You Can Do It, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt. Mama always has an encouraging answer for little Stinky Face as he goes on exciting new adventures. This book teaches little readers that it's OK to be afraid sometimes, but that they have the strength to overcome their fears.
3. Princess Truly in I Am Truly by Kelly Greenawalt is the story of a young girl proclaiming her confidence in herself. The book is a great affirmation and reminder to young girls that, with confidence and hard work, you can do anything. Also check out the utterly charming and inspiring Princess Truly in My Magical, Sparking Curls.
4. I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont is a book that I always had on hand in my classroom when I taught early childhood students. This playful, rhyming read is all about having the confidence to just be you. Your kids might even want to make a sign that says, "I Like Myself!" and hang it on the bathroom mirror.
5. When you take on a new task or set a new goal, it requires a lot of skill, discipline, and confidence. That is just what Little Choo needs in Big Choo by Stephen Shaskan. Little Choo wants to ride the big rails just like his papa, and in this book, he learns to have the confidence to keep trying.
6. Sometimes kids feel like they need to hide or give up their favorite things if they don’t fall in line with what all the other kids like. A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon is such a tale. A young girl likes lima beans, but no one else in her class does, so she pretends she also doesn't like them — and as a result, breaks out in stripes and stars and just about everything else! Eventually, she learns to have confidence in herself, even when she feels like she stands out in the crowd.
7. For kids who love to explore their imagination, Happy Dreamer by Peter H. Reynolds is a celebration of what is means to be a dreamer and the many ways to be happy. It's a playful but empowering book with a message that we should all embrace our creative uniqueness and never forget to dream!
8. Five-year-old Zoe in I Can Be Anything!, written and illustrated by Diane Dillion, knows she can be anything when she grows up — from an archaeologist to the U.S. president. She's bold and sassy, but sometimes there's a little voice of doubt and "what if" that she hears. However, she swats it away and says "don't tell me I can't!" This is a great story to celebrate empowered girls!
9. The bestselling Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andrae tells the story of Gerald the giraffe who wants so badly to be able to dance. But with thin legs and crooked knees, it's hard! He finally learns to dance to his own tune with encouragement from an unlikely friend.
10. Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal is an entertaining and creative book for kids who don't want to stick out from the norm. With simple text but also some challenging vocabulary, this clever story is about an exclamation point who learns how to use his individuality to his advantage and embrace it.
Connect with Jodie at Growing Book by Book.