Five Picture Books to Help Build Self Esteem

Is your young child insecure? Struggling with their individuality? Helping build self esteem is something not that not only our children can benefit from, but also ourselves. It’s tough growing up and the more confidence we can instill in our children, the better.

I love how many children’s books help teach a child to love themselves, celebrate their uniqueness and stand up for themselves. Reading books to your child about loving themselves and building their self esteem can be really empowering and valuable. Below are some of my favorite picture books to help build esteem in a child ages 4 and up.

I'm gonna like meI’m Gonna Like Me  is an excellent book about building self esteem in both girls and boys. As the book alternates between a boy’s perspective and a girl’s perspective, both genders can benefit from reading this book. I love Jamie Lee Curtis’ books because they all have a common theme in celebrating life and building self esteem in young children.




WillowWillow (appropriate for ages 5 and up), by Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan is a beautiful story of self expression. Mrs. Hawthorn is Willow’s art teacher and is neat, tidy and doesn’t allow her students to express themselves. Willow is a free spirited girl with a beautiful imagination. Mrs. Hawthorn doesn’t like children to use their imagination, she just wants them to follow the rules and stay within the lines. Willow is constantly getting in trouble for breaking crayons, drawing something a different color than it should be, and just being plain different. She even gets teased by her peers for being different and thinking “outside the box”. For the holidays, Willow gives her mean spirited teacher, Mrs. Hawthorn her beloved art book. Mrs. Hawthorn is so touched by Willow’s generosity that she decides to turn over a new leaf for the new year. For the full review click here.

little sweet potatoLittle Sweet Potato begins with a sweet potato losing his way in the garden. When he gets lost, he tries to find his home with the carrots, eggplant and even flowers. The carrots are mean to little sweet potato by telling him that he is “lumpy and dumpy”. They tell him he doesn’t belong. Sweet potato moves on to the eggplant where they tell him that they “are handsome and have skin like satin”. They tell him that he “dumpy,  bumpy, and kinda lumpy” and then tell him to  “scram” . This continues through the book until sweet potato finally meets a friend and brings him to a place where everyone accepts him for whom he is and not what he looks like. For the full review, click here.

a bad case of stripes A Bad Case of Stripes is a powerful book to read to your young child ages 5 and up. My daughter told me about this book when returning from kindergarten one day.  A Bad Case of Stripes is about a young girl named Camilla Cream who cares deeply about what others think of her. She even denies that she loves lima beans because her friends do not like them. After trying on 42 outfits one morning, Camilla Cream turns to stripes. The book takes you through a very important lesson in what can happen when you lose your individuality and only care about what others think of you. An important and valuable book that should be part of any parents home library. Another favorite of mine from David Shannon!

freckleface strawberryFreckleface Strawberry by Julianne Moore is an excellent book to help build self esteem. Freckleface Strawberry is constantly teased by others about having too many freckles, and as a result becomes deeply embarrassed by them. She tries over and over again to get rid of them. She finally realizes that her friends love her for whom she is and learns to celebrate herself and her freckles at the end of the book. This uplifting and sweet book is ideal for a young girl ages 4 and up. It’s a wonderful book to start some thoughtful conversations with your child about how she feels when she’s teased, what it’s like to be different and how the Freckleface Strawberry feels at the end of the story.

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