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22 books that help foster self-esteem and confidence


This is such a positive book!! I love the motivational text and these illustrations are absolutely AMAZING!! Written in a way that speaks directly to child it offers a surprising amount of wisdom. Telling the child about ways to act and things that will happen as they grow and become awesome human beings. It’s impossible not to feel a little emotional while reading this to your little one. Each page is like a motivational piece of advice you’d give to your child. I read it to my second graders and they loved it, the tiger is such a great character and if you’re looking for an upbeat, beautifully illustrated book this one is a great choice and will quickly become the most requested book on the shelf.


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A wonderful story about self confidence and how each one of us is uniquely beautiful. About a girl named Unique who is feeling shy and nervous about going to a new school. When she arrives at her new school she doesn’t really even want to talk, she doesn’t want join in the soccer games... she really feels unsure of herself. The teacher gives her the class pet to take care of, observe and report back to the class about. One night she notices the butterfly has emerged from its cocoon. Excited about this amazing turn of events she happily drifts off to sleep. That night she has a transformative dream, inspired by the class pet, she dreams of riding on the back of the beautiful butterfly surrounded by vibrant colors. The butterfly speaks to her and offers some wonderful wisdom that remained with her in the morning. Feeling inspired to be herself despite her differences she walks back into school with a new found confidence and winning attitude. Going to a new school is definitely a stressful experience for a lot of kids and I love books that recognize that. Confidence is not easy for everyone to find and that’s why stories like this are so important. This is really worth picking up and will certainly be an excellent addition to your Children’s Bookshelf.


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What a gorgeous book! The illustrations were the first thing that really caught my attention then after reading the story I knew I had to read this with my students. Features a young girl who’s afraid of the dark. Her grandmother has a chat with her about the importance of facing her fears. While there, grandma decides it’s time to let her in on a little secret about a magical secret door that exists in her room. After giving her the key to take care of, a little fairy visits in the night and explains how the key works and how to enter this tiny little world. Curious she decides to enter the little doorway and see what’s on the other side. While there she makes some friends and encounters the one they call “The Meanie”. She sees the fear in all of her friends and decides it’s time for them to face their fears. When “The Meanie” came back angry and threatening they all stood up and told her they aren’t afraid of her and offered her their friendship instead. This change of attitude worked and “The Meanie” stopped being so mean. After teaching them to be brave the girl realized there was no reason for her to be afraid of the dark either.

I love the message about being brave and there are some great words of wisdom sprinkled across this story. In the hands of the right parent or teacher this can be a very useful book to help children deal with fear and have more emotional awareness.


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This a cute book with a positive message about confidence. It’s very simple and makes for a great bedtime story. It features a little girl who sees various things that she finds scary or difficult but then tells herself she can do it. I like the positive repeating mantra “I know I can, yes I know I can.” Definitely worth checking out.


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This is a wonderful book, I'm so happy to see books like this out there. I think it can offer a great deal of comfort to children that are feeling like they don’t necessarily fit in with everyone else and have to face some bullying at school about it. I jump at any opportunity to read stories to my students about acceptance. Celebrating the fact that we are all different and are all unique in our own way needs to happen more. A lot of times bullying stems from ignorance and when someone looks or acts different kids can zero in on them. Exposure to books like this and actively teaching children social awareness and to respect people for who they are early on, can really make all the difference.

This book is about a kid named Toby who likes to wear all kinds of clothes and do all kinds of things that are sometimes considered more for boys or girls. Sometimes Toby feels more like a boy and other times more like a girl and that’s totally ok because that’s who Toby is. He faces some teasing from his classmates because they don’t understand him. After talking with his mom and confidently declaring that there’s nothing wrong with being Toby, the other children are cool with it and welcome him to play with them.

It’s a great book about just being yourself and I think the world needs more books like this! Super happy to include this on my Children’s Bookshelf.


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What a beautiful book!! Every part of this is perfect, it’s everything I look for in a book. Professional illustrations, simple storyline that has a clear message and good writing. I simply adore this one and have recommended it to several friends to pick up. It features a little girl who likes to climb trees and ride her bike around. However she’s still unsure of herself and feels she isn’t strong enough to go on the monkey bars or swing on the swings properly. While sitting near the playground some butterflies land on her and get her attention. She then follows them as they fly around and land near different places that offer her some inspiration and self confidence. They land near an ant hill where she notices that even though the ants are small, they’re still very strong and also near a nest where she witnesses a little bird courageously taking flight for the first time. She follows the butterflies back to the playground where she understands that if those other creatures can do it, maybe she should try too. She eventually gives it a try and realizes that she actually can do it!

I love the message about trying new things and having self confidence in your abilities. The soft illustrations compliment the lovely text. I read this with my class and I read it in a very steady and soft voice which really helped the kids calmly take it all in. I think it works perfectly as a read aloud and I absolutely recommend this to everyone!


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What an inspiring and heart warming story! I really enjoyed this and the lesson it teaches. All about confidence, attitude, loving yourself and how that effects the way others see you and treat you. About a girl who has a red birthmark on her face. She’s very self conscious about it and dealt with a lot of bullying and teasing from the other children because of it. Now she wears make up to hide it when she goes to school. One day a new student comes to class and introduces himself confidently. The other kids immediately ask him about the huge black mark on his face. He immediately explains about his birthmark and how it makes him feel like a superhero. The girl is immediately impressed by his attitude and realizes after some time that the other kids aren’t teasing him. She eventually talks with him about it and shows him her birthmark and he insists that it’s better she show it off and own it proudly. So she does and some of the other classmates congratulate her for not hiding it with make up and explain how they think it looks like a rose and how that’s pretty cool. His example was exactly what she needed to find her own self confidence and realize that she’s perfect exactly the way god made her.


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A cute book ultimately about self confidence and it’s for sure a situation a lot of kids can relate to. About a dog who has braces and is embarrassed to open her mouth in front of her friends because they laugh at her. She has a talent show coming up and is simply too self conscious to go up there. After meeting a dog in the park with leg braces she’s impressed by his wonderful outlook on life. He doesn’t let those braces hold him back at all. That was the inspiration she needed to find her self confidence and no longer let her braces negatively affect her life. She goes to the talent show and proudly sings her song to everyone’s delight. I love the message of this book and I think the characters are cute. One line really stood out to me when her mother says “Speak it into being”... I love that! Definitely a book worth picking up.


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This is a fun book about a street cat and it’s loosely based on the life of a real cat. Living on the streets is not easy for Benny, one day he sees a dog band playing and feels inspired to write some songs. He really wants to join the dog band but he’s a cat and they weren’t up for it. Unsure of himself he keeps his songs private and only sings them with his ginger friend. Eventually the two would find happy homes and lose touch. Benny finally decides its time to start a band and begins auditions. With his new band together they are ready to go on stage until Benny notices the dog band in the audience. Feeling shy and self conscious now he doesn’t know what to do until out of nowhere his long lost ginger friend greets him. He gives him encouragement and the confidence he needs to go out there and sing his little heart out.


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A great book about an independent young lady named Isabelle. It follows her through a day in her life and features a bunch of things she can do by herself. I really like the illustrations and the message is clear. Any book that encourages kids to be more independent and confident in themselves has a place on my Children’s Bookshelf. This is definitely one to check out!


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Awesome book, great illustrations, easy to follow and a wonderful message about being yourself! I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it! About a bee that is different from the other bees, he flies in zigzags, he’s super colorful and makes trumpet sounds. The other bees don’t seem to mind but there’s one nasty bee that bullies him. After a while he lets the taunting get to him and decides to try and be more like the other bees. On his way back from changing his fur he sees the nasty bee is in trouble and saves him. The nasty bee is so impressed by his empathy and kindness he apologizes for his rude behavior and insists that he should be exactly the bee he wants to be. It’s precisely because of his trumpet sounds and zigzagging that he was able to save the nasty bee and that goes to show that being different can be a very good thing!


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A fun book with an excellent lesson and a lovely ending. About an all black cat that wishes he had different fur to fit in more with the other cats. He visits a little lady who casts spells and makes potions. He ignores her warnings and asks for different fur only to discover that he liked how he looked better before. Learning a lesson about self esteem, he realizes that he was great the way he was. He sees that he should have listened when the lady said she likes him how he is. Eventually he goes back to his original color and finds a happy home with the little lady.


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A great book about self esteem and people with special needs. A wonderful way to introduce Autism, and Down Syndrome to kids. Also really good to read with any special needs children. About a magic mirror that will tell you what you were born to be. 3 different kids take a look into the mirror and all walk away feeling a lot better about themselves. written in rhyme and featuring lovely illustrations, I think this is a positive addition to any classroom bookshelf.


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"Patricia's Reflection " is an inspiring and beautifully illustrated story of a young girl named Patricia. She looks in the mirror before her first day at a new school and confronts all of her mixed emotions about it. Patricia learns that in order to be successful in life, you must face these mixed emotions head on and reflect on your struggles. Books like this, that focus on emotional maturity and being mindful of your thoughts can really help build the skills that kids need to be more stable and confident. The world needs more books like this.


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- Flawsome (adj.) an individual who embraces their “flaws” and knows they’re awesome regardless.


Interesting idea for a book, and unique presentation. It basically features different kids explaining to the reader things about themselves that could be considered flaws and why it’s no big deal. I think this straight forward style is wonderful and can potentially be very reassuring for a lot of kids dealing with the same things. Here’s a quote from the book that I loved and I feel like it really sums things up perfectly.


“This book is for all the little kids who feel as if you have flaws but can’t be awesome because of it. Flaws are what make you unique and, of course, awesome!”


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A book about self doubt... this dinosaur is going to school and facing all kinds of new things. Like any dinosaur in that situation it’s easy to make mistakes and that’s part of learning new things. In the end this book delivers an important lesson to readers about self esteem and confidence.


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Love the super positive vibe in this book! Lovely illustrations compliment an important theme. Books about self worth and acceptance are so important and should be emphasized more heavily by teachers and parents. Also this book is bilingual and so it's a great choice for Spanish speakers as well.


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Really beautiful message about self worth and fitting in. A young unicorn moves to a new town and notices she doesn’t look like the other unicorns. She feels understandably left out and reaches out to her mom for support. Her mom comforts her with some words of wisdom and pretty soon she realizes that being unique is really cool. This book will definitely resonate strongly with certain kids but I think it's safe to say, almost everyone has had to deal with fitting in and making new friends and it can be tough. Learning to be comfortable and confident with who you are is a life long struggle for some people and I think books like this can potentially offer a lot of comfort to youngsters. This one belongs on classroom bookshelves far and wide!


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What an excellent book! The first thing that stood out to me were the illustrations. Very professional, kind of like "Disney style" art work. The story itself is well written in rhyme and has a great message. It's about a fairy who was born with only one wing and can’t fly. She feels self conscious and gets bullied by another fairy. In her sadness she retreats and sings songs to herself, discovering a talent that ultimately impresses all the fairies and even gets her recognition from the king. She finds her confidence and is then accepted by all the fairies. I read this one with my students and they really enjoyed it, afterwards it sparked a discussion about the different things we like to do. Some kids like to draw pictures and others sing and dance or like swimming etc... was great to see that they really understood it’s not good to make fun of people about their differences because we are all different and have different interests. Definitely recommend this one for your Children’s Bookshelf.


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I was blown away by this book, I really love the concept!! It’s filled with wisdom and is wonderfully illustrated. It’s not really a story, it’s basically filled with easy to understand affirmations perfectly presented to hopefully reassure readers and build self esteem.

Did I mention I love this book! As a teacher myself the first thought I had was “This book would be the perfect morning opener everyday. When class begins, just greet the kids, say good morning and break out this book and read it together” (repeat after me style)... I feel like it wouldn’t take long before everyone memorized the book off by heart and honestly I think the positive effects of that would be gigantic. The world needs more books like this and I will definitely be incorporating this into my morning routine and highly recommend you add this to your children’s bookshelf!


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A true story about a woman who wasn’t afraid to be herself. Such a great message for kids everywhere and the title says it all. Featuring Mary Edwards Walker, a 19th century doctor and decorated civil war hero. She was brave and gifted and defiant in the face of a male dominated society. She pushed hard against the gender norms of the day and faced enormous criticism, abuse and even legal issues because of it. She insisted on wearing men's clothing and trousers, especially while working on the battlefield. She had logical and valid reasons for this, mostly about mobility and cleanliness and didn't see why women couldn't wear trousers if they wanted to. As an outspoken feminist she ruffled a lot of feathers but was undeniably intelligent, motivated and way ahead of her time. She's a very inspirational person and this book should be in classrooms everywhere.


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