We want our kids to feel confident about who they are and have the confidence to try new things. But, our children are bombarded with many social pressures and opinions of others that can challenge their self-esteem. That's why 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.
1. Sometimes kids think they need to be more like someone else, and then they will have confidence. That is what Mouse thinks in The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright. But, confidence never comes when trying to be someone else. We all have to be who we are. I liked 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 gently reminds her little one that, "You can do it, Stinky Face!"
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 try anything. Also check out 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 luck, 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. 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. Eventually, she learns that having the confidence to like the things you like is the way to go.
7. For kids with their heads in the clouds or those who love to explore their imagination — and feel great about it, 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, believes 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 but she swats it away and says "don't tell me I can't!" The is a great book to celebrate girl power with your little lady.
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 of the exclamation point who learns how to use his individuality to his advantage and embrace it.
Encourage your kids to feel comfortable with who they are, and use that confidence in their day-to-day challenges by sharing some of these books with them. And, keep building your child's character. Check out our book list of books that build courage and five tips for building your child's self-esteem.
Connect with Jodie at Growing Book by Book.