The best picture books about building self-esteem and self-love

Who am I?

As a mom of three girls, I taught my daughters to celebrate the differences in themselves and others. My older two girls were diagnosed with Celiac Disease prior to the trend of gluten-free foods being widely available. They had to bring their own food to birthday parties and food-based school events, and it was harder to be spontaneous and stay at a friends’ house for dinner or sleepover. Needless to say - they felt different. One of the things that helped them begin to appreciate their difference, was reading picture books that demonstrated that it is differences that make people special and keep life interesting. I am hopeful that my story will do the same for the kids who read it.


I wrote...

The Worm Family Has Its Picture Taken

By Jennifer Frank, David Ezra Stein (illustrator),

Book cover of The Worm Family Has Its Picture Taken

What is my book about?

Emma Worm is excited for her worm family to have their portrait taken. But when she sees her other friends' portraits, she gets discouraged. "We had the most beautiful smiles," Ellie the Chipmunk squeals. Abigail the Cat meows, "I looked gorgeous with my big poufy hair." The worm family doesn't have teeth...how will they show their beautiful smiles? They don't have hair either...how can it look big and poufy?! So Emma gathers wigs, giant fake teeth, and colorful clothing for her parents and sisters.

But it's only after taking off their costumes that the worm family is able to wriggle and squiggle and squeeze into a delightful pose that only a worm family can make. And Emma? She thinks it's perfectly perfect.

The books I picked & why

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Spoon

By Amy Krause Rosenthal,

Book cover of Spoon

Why this book?

My girls and I loved reading this book when they were younger! The book is written in simple language and is not preachy. Spoon is feeling “bent out of shape” because he thinks his friend's fork, knife, and chopsticks have more fun than he does. Meanwhile, his friends are all feeling the same way about him. In the end, he comes to understand that he can celebrate and admire his friends while also being proud of himself and what makes him special. As a mom of three, I think this is an important concept for kids to begin to grapple with at a young age.

Spoon

By Amy Krause Rosenthal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spoon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Key Features Description Meet the Friendliest Guy in the Utensil Drawer! This funny, inventive book celebrates what makes everyone unique!Spoon has always been a happy little utensil who loves his family. But lately he's been feeling down. He thinks his friends Knife, Fork, and Chopsticks have it so much better than him. He can't cut like Knife, he's not as useful as Fork, and no one thinks he's cool and exotic like Chopsticks. But Spoon's friends think he has it made; he gets to be silly and bang on pots, dive headfirst into bowls of ice cream, and relax in…


Ish

By Peter H. Reynolds,

Book cover of Ish

Why this book?

For anyone who has kids who are perfectionists or are perfectionists themselves, this is a perfect book! It helps kids recognize that something does not have to be perfect to be beautiful. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, especially with art. But in my opinion, this message can apply beyond art and help parents talk with their kids about being beautiful just as they are. This was a popular one in my house and one that we still reference even now that the kids are older.

Ish

By Peter H. Reynolds,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ish as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A creative spirit learns that a drawing doesn't have to look exactly like anything in this gentle fable from the creator of the award-winning, bestselling picture book The Dot.

An inspiring, encouraging story for budding artists everywhere, the acclaimed illustrator of The Dot, Sky Colour and the Judy Moody series tells the story of Ramon, who loves to draw. Anytime. Anything. Anywhere. Drawing is what Ramon does. It's what makes him happy. But in one split second, all that changes. A single remark by Ramon's older brother, Leon, turns Ramon's carefree sketches into joyless struggles. Luckily for Ramon, though, his…


Dandelion

By Don Freeman,

Book cover of Dandelion

Why this book?

I loved this book as a child and shared it with my own kids when they were little. It really hit home when my youngest daughter was a pre-schooler. Dandelion’s friends do not recognize him when he dresses up and has his hair done. When my daughter was in pre-school, I went to the hairdresser and she dried my curly hair, straight. When I went to pick up my daughter, she started crying and was quite distressed about my new look. I had to put on a hat in order to get her to stop. Reading Dandelion helped her get over that! I also, of course, love the message about not needing to change anything about yourself for your friends because they love you just as you are.

Dandelion

By Don Freeman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dandelion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the creator of the beloved Corduroy, here is a charming story about being yourself

When Dandelion gets an invitation to a party, he's excited. The invitation is extra fancy, so Dandelion decides to get himself all dressed up. But when he gets to the party, no one recognizes him! Fortunately, it all works out in the end, and Dandelion learns an important lesson about being true to who you are.


Zero

By Kathryn Otoshi,

Book cover of Zero

Why this book?

This is a fabulous book about self-love and self-acceptance. Zero does not think she counts like all the other numbers. She sees herself as empty inside. Over the course of the book, we watch zero’s self-discovery and self-acceptance. It is beautifully written and an important book about not trying to change yourself in order to fit in. I wish I had this book when I was a kid.

Zero

By Kathryn Otoshi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Zero as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Zero is a big round number. When she looks at herself, she just sees a hole right in her center. Every day she watches the other numbers line up to count: "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 ...!" "Those numbers have value. That's why they count," she thinks. But how could a number worth nothing become something? Zero feels empty inside. She watches One having fun with the other numbers. One has bold strokes and squared corners. Zero is big and round with no corners at all. "If I were like One, then I can count too," she thinks.…


Perfectly Norman

By Tom Percival,

Book cover of Perfectly Norman

Why this book?

My favorite lines in this book are the last few lines. “He realized that there was no such thing as perfectly normal...But he was perfectly Norman. Which was just as it should be.” Norman is a perfectly normal little boy until he grows a pair of wings. Initially, he is afraid to take off his coat and share his new wings with his friends and family. But over the course of the book, Norman realizes that hiding his wings is making him unhappy. When he finally gets the courage to share his true self, he realizes there are lots of other kids just like him, who were also hiding themselves. His courage gave them the courage to be themselves as well. It is a great book for talking to your child about how something they may think makes them odd, may end up being just the thing that helps them relate to others and make new friends.

Perfectly Norman

By Tom Percival,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Perfectly Norman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Be open, be honest, be you! Big Bright Feelings for little people. Norman had always been perfectly normal . . . until the day he grew a pair of wings! Norman loves his new wings, and has the most fun ever trying them out high in the sky. But then he has to go in for dinner. What will his parents think? What will everyone else think? Norman feels the safest plan is to cover his wings with a big coat. But hiding the thing that makes you different proves tricky and upsetting. Can Norman ever truly be himself? This…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in self esteem, self-love, and sibling?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about self esteem, self-love, and sibling.

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