The best books on procrastination, motivation, and kids

Who am I?

I write about supporting and encouraging children’s and teens’ intelligence, creativity, productivity, and well-being. I’m an educational consultant with over 35 years of experience working with parents, teachers, and students within diverse communities, and I’m the award-winning author of seven books. I focus a lot on gifted education and procrastination. Within my books, articles, and presentations, there are tons of strategies and resources to help motivate kids—and empower their learning. My books include Being Smart about Gifted Learning and Beyond Intelligence (both co-authored with Dona Matthews), ABCs of Raising Smarter Kids, Bust Your BUTS, and Not Now, Maybe Later.

I wrote...

Bust Your BUTS: Tips for Teens Who Procrastinate

By Joanne Foster,

Book cover of Bust Your BUTS: Tips for Teens Who Procrastinate

What is my book about?

Bust Your BUTS helps people 10+ understand, prevent, manage, and eliminate procrastination. In this follow-up to my parenting book, Not Now, Maybe Later, I describe 28 BUTS (different reasons why kids procrastinate). I don’t judge—rather I offer concise, relatable explanations, and I share hundreds of practical tips for busting those BUTS. There’s information on motivation, and on how to confront various challenges, become organized, use time wisely, set attainable goals, and become more productive.

Bust Your BUTS received a Benjamin Franklin Award™ from the Independent Book Publishers’ Association. This is the book procrastinators need now. Plus, it’s a timely resource for parents, teachers, or anyone who wants to learn more about effort, responsibility, and fulfillment. A quick and motivating read—no BUTS about it!

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of Beyond Behaviors: Using Brain Science and Compassion to Understand and Solve Children's Behavioral Challenges

Why did I love this book?

Beyond Behaviors is an award-winning book that’s comprehensive, reader-friendly, and full of helpful strategies for parents and children. It offers fresh perspectives on long-held beliefs that behaviour issues are problems when, in truth, they’re indicators that a child is struggling in some way and requires help to manage life’s challenges. I love that author Mona Delahooke is unwavering in her emphasis on understanding and respecting individual needs, and I appreciate the wealth of knowledge and hands-on materials she imparts to address them. A great deal of thought, research, and effort has gone into this book.

By Mona Delahooke,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Beyond Behaviors as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW approach to solving behavioral challenges.

In Beyond Behaviors, internationally known pediatric psychologist, Dr. Mona Delahooke describes behaviors as the tip of the iceberg, important signals that we should address by seeking to understand a child’s individual differences in the context of relational safety.

Featuring impactful worksheets and charts, this accessible book offers professionals, educators and parents tools and techniques to reduce behavioral challenges and promote psychological resilience and satisfying, secure relationships.

Neuroscience-based effective tools and strategies for children labeled with:
- Conduct Disorder
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
- Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)
- Reactive Attachment Disorder…

Book cover of A Year of Positive Thinking for Teens: Daily Motivation to Beat Stress, Inspire Happiness, and Achieve Your Goals

Why did I love this book?

Katie Hurley is a highly respected child and adolescent psychotherapist who really knows how kids think and feel. She wrote this book during the pandemic, and she offers reassurance and lots of practical motivational strategies to empower kids when they feel stressed, overwhelmed, or stuck. The book is beautifully organized—day by day over the course of a full year—and it includes many resources as well. A Year of Positive Thinking is a book that kids can refer to often, including whenever they need a boost to increase their confidence, embrace uncertainty, confront change, or maximize their potential.

By Katie Hurley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Year of Positive Thinking for Teens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Transform your thoughts and find the confidence to navigate your teen years with positive thinking

Being a teen can be an emotional roller coaster. When you’re overwhelmed by unrealistic expectations from your friends, family, social media feed, teachers, and even yourself, it’s normal to have thoughts and feelings like This is too hard or I'll never measure up. With A Year of Positive Thinking for Teens, you'll discover how to overcome these anxious thought patterns, and build a happier, more positive mindset to achieve your goals.

Let go of stress with relatable prompts and reflections―all grounded in positive thinking and…

Book cover of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Why did I love this book?

Mindset is about finding a way forward—a topic that resonates across all ages, and all walks of life. Carol Dweck differentiates between a fixed mindset (which is restrictive), and a growth mindset (which is progressive). Based on research and authentic examples, she explains why a growth mindset is integral to maintaining momentum and success, and how to nurture that. I particularly like that she pays close attention to factors such as resilience, effort, and how to invest in one’s own learning. Her book has stood the test of time, and it has had a resounding impact around the globe.

By Carol S. Dweck,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Mindset as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the renowned psychologist who introduced the world to “growth mindset” comes this updated edition of the million-copy bestseller—featuring transformative insights into redefining success, building lifelong resilience, and supercharging self-improvement.

“Through clever research studies and engaging writing, Dweck illuminates how our beliefs about our capabilities exert tremendous influence on how we learn and which paths we take in life.”—Bill Gates, GatesNotes

“It’s not always the people who start out the smartest who end up the smartest.”

After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this…

Book cover of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed

Why did I love this book?

Is your child experiencing setbacks? Difficulties? Mistakes? Failures? Do not fret! Author Jessica Lahey understands your concerns, and she shares why these kinds of challenges can be advantageous and serve as stepping-stones for children’s growing autonomy. In The Gift of Failure, she discusses the importance of encouragement, resilience, collaboration, and more as she explores different circumstances that children encounter. And, she provides many suggestions to help them reframe obstacles as opportunities. I think this book is, and will continue to be, an extremely relevant read for parents.

By Jessica Lahey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Gift of Failure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


“Gripping…how can teachers snatch back their critical role and give children the necessary space to fail? They could start by making parents read Lahey.” — New York Times Book Review

In the tradition of Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed and Wendy Mogel’s The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, this groundbreaking manifesto focuses on the critical school years when parents must learn to allow their children to experience the disappointment and frustration that occur from life’s inevitable problems so that they can grow up to be successful, resilient, and self-reliant adults.

Modern parenting is defined by an…

Book cover of Thrivers: The Surprising Reasons Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine

Why did I love this book?

Michele Borba begins her latest book by getting right to the heart and mind of what matters for optimal child development—and then she moves on to the importance of cultivating will. In total, she focuses on seven integral points—self-confidence, empathy, self-control, integrity, curiosity, perseverance, and optimism—describing why each of these attributes matters, and how to nurture them. If you want your child to be happy, resilient, and able to flourish even through adversity, then Thrivers is an excellent resource for you.

By Michele Borba,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The bestselling author of UnSelfie offers 7 teachable traits that will safeguard our kids for the future.

We think we have to push our kids to do more, achieve more, BE more. But we’re modeling the wrong traits—like rule-following and caution—and research shows it’s NOT working. This kind of “Striver” mindset isn’t just making kids unhappier, says Dr. Michele Borba…it’s actually the opposite of what it takes to thrive in the uncertain world ahead.

Thrivers are different: they flourish in our fast-paced, digital-driven, often uncertain world. Why? Through her in-depth research, Dr. Borba discovered that the difference comes down not…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in parenting, behaviorism, and Psychotherapy?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about parenting, behaviorism, and Psychotherapy.

Parenting Explore 310 books about parenting
Behaviorism Explore 20 books about behaviorism
Psychotherapy Explore 82 books about Psychotherapy