From the Scholastic Bookshelf: How to Talk to Kids About Self-Esteem

A belief in one’s worth comes from experience, so be prepared to help set goals — then let your child take the reins.

Feb 02, 2022



From the Scholastic Bookshelf: How to Talk to Kids About Self-Esteem

Feb 02, 2022

All parents want to raise their kids to have high self-esteem. Simply put, self-esteem is one’s belief in oneself and their worth. It’s confidence gained through competence, and competence is learned from making choices and dealing with the consequences.  

Parents can play a role in building their child's self-esteem by helping them set goals within reach and providing opportunities to achieve them. 

For its 100th anniversary, Scholastic spoke with experts to identify a set of tips, articles, and books that make starting a conversation with your child about self-esteem easier. These resources are part of a broader initiative, called the Scholastic Bookshelf, created for Instagram to raise awareness around contemporary issues affecting children today.

Whether you’re looking to show your child examples of self-love or give them a self-esteem boost when they’re feeling low, these books will brighten your family’s day.

For more quick tips and book recommendations, sign up for our Scholastic Parents newsletter!

A Self-Esteem Boost for Pre-K Kids:

Giraffes Can’t Dance is the jeer Gerald gets when he shimmies at the Jungle Dance. To Gerald, all the animals in the jungle have better moves, and their negative remarks about his abilities don’t make him feel any better about his buckling knees and too-long neck. But when Gerald meets a cricket who believes all animals can dance, Gerald slowly gets the courage to tap to his own tune.  

A book of rhyme, rhythm, and lively illustrations, Giraffes Can’t Dance will delight preschoolers and deliver a read-aloud to remember. 

A Self-Esteem Boost for Early Elementary Kids:

Fourth grader Sarai Gonzalez can do anything — she’s AWESOME! She’s got a thriving cupcake business and solid dance skills. When Sarai’s grandparents suddenly need to move, Sarai steps into action to buy back the house. Except houses are expensive, more than Sarai ever thought. 

Inspired by the life of viral video sensation and social activist Sarai Gonzalez and brought to the page by award-winning children's book author Monica Brown, Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome is a motivating tale of ambition and entrepreneurship. The self-esteem boost your young reader will get from Sarai’s relentless optimism is the icing on top.

A Self-Esteem Boost for Middle School Kids:

Older readers in middle school may find themselves crowded out of classroom discussions or singled out and excluded from extracurricular activities, which doesn’t feel good. 

In “How Can I Make Myself Heard?” from Scholastic Choices magazine, several experts give advice to Sara, the only girl on her high school robotics team. On multiple occasions, Sara’s proposals have been shunned or outright dismissed by her male peers, and it’s more than a blow to her pride — it’s affecting her self-esteem. 

In response, a female CEO, a professor of rhetoric, and fellow female robotics club members offer advice for taking the reins: Speak up, specify the collective goal, and stay consistent with voicing your ideas. It’s a reminder that kids need advocates at any age, and advocates listen.

Be sure to visit the Scholastic Bookshelf for more resources on self-esteem and other must-discuss topics, like confidence and happiness.

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