10 Picture Books to Build Confidence in Kids


Books for self-esteem
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Self-esteem is how we value and perceive ourselves. In our various roles in a child’s life, we often guide them in developing their self-esteem.

We can help build their confidence through positive affirmations, modeling healthy self-esteem, and giving children a chance to be independent.

Another great tool is children’s picture books! Picture books help build comprehension through a visual experience, teach children vocabulary, and foster social-emotional development. Picture books teaching self-esteem can help kids tell themselves, “I can!”

Here are some of my favorites:

10 Picture Books to Help Build Confidence in Kids

1. The Colors of Us by Karen Katz

The main character, seven-year-old Lena, is painting a portrait. Her mom is teaching her to mix colors when Lena says she needs the “right brown” to paint her portrait. Her mom challenges this thought and teaches Lena about the many, beautiful differences in skin colors. The book is a great tool for discussing race and guides children in thinking about how our differences make us beautiful!

2. I Don’t Want Curly Hair by Laura Ellen Anderson

When my daughter was having a hard time loving her curls, I bought her this book, and now she talks about how special she feels having curls. This book explores different hair types and embracing our differences. The curly-haired girl in the story goes to great lengths to straighten her hair, only to find out that she loves her curls!

3. Her Body Can by Katie Crenshaw & Ady Meschke

This book fosters body positivity and represents various body sizes. It shares the message that our bodies can do so much. It teaches kids to not measure self-esteem by size. That regardless of size or shape, they are special and capable. The illustrations in this book are also very cute!

4. I’m Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem by Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell

This book offers the perspective of both a little boy and a girl who are affirming themselves “I’m going to like me when….” The story offers some comedic relief too, like when the little girl decides she is going to like herself when she tries something new, even if it’s Grandma’s octopus stew! The story is rhythmic and the pictures are detailed and full of character.

5. The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi & Lorena Alvarez

There are many skills children have yet to develop. This book is a fun play on the word “yet” and explores what it means to persevere through learning curves and hardship. As a mom, I even had some takeaways for myself! Also, the artwork is beautiful.

6. My Brave Year of Firsts: Tries, Sighs, and High Fives by Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell

Similar to The Magical Yet, this book celebrates bravery in trying new things! Frankie, the main character, is exploring new firsts, from learning to ride her bike to her first pony riding lessons. Many of the experiences in the book are relatable, and the illustrations are detailed and comical.

Books for self-esteem
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7. She’s Got This by Laurie Hernandez and Nina Mata

Gold-medal-winning Olympic gymnast, Laurie Hernandez, is the author of this beautiful book about pursuing your dreams and never giving up. The story is about Zoe, a little girl who dreams of flying — and becoming a gymnast. It encourages children to get back up when they fall, and teaches them how to alleviate feelings of shyness. This book could make a great gift for any child starting gymnastics or another movement class!

8. Twirl by Emily Lex

“The birds sang their songs and the bees buzzed and the sweet scent of wildflowers filled the air. And Audrey and her friends twirled with all their hearts, freely and lightly, just the way God made them.”

This book explores how we have been uniquely created by God and have different gifts. And the watercolor illustrations are stunning! The book may be geared towards girls, but this author also has another book called Build that offers a similar message to young boys!

9. Who I Am: Words I Tell Myself by Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds

Self-love takes practice. This book is especially helpful in identifying that unkind voice we all encounter at times. The book is a heartfelt collection of affirmations — “When I have feelings of sadness or anger or worry, my might might tell me, it’s wrong to have those feelings but I can tell myself: I am human. I am allowed to feel. I am supposed to feel.”

10.You Matter by Christian Robinson

“For anyone who isn’t sure if they matter. You do.”

This is a powerful message for anyone. The book explores through beautiful, colorful illustrations, multiple points of view, and how we are all connected and matter. The book is short but powerful in its narrative.

These are great books to have on hand to build confidence in kids.

Explore what it means to be different and use these books as a tool to teach your children their own affirmations and positive self-view.

Are there any books to build confidence in kids you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!
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Kallie Swenson
In 4th grade, Kallie sported two things: an awkward haircut and the title of “new kid.” Her family moved from Crookston to Moorhead, where she went on to graduate from Moorhead High. After graduating, she packed up and migrated south, to the Twin Cities area. There she lived with an amazing set of roommates… her grandparents! She still considers this one of the best decisions of her life. She attended one year at a community college before deciding she would venture back to Moorhead to earn a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Her career spanned across local organizations, including for SCHEELS and The Salvation Army. In 2016, Kallie made the huge decision to buy a house in Barnesville. She closed on her 25th birthday and moved in with her dog, Lily. In 2017, she began dating a long-time friend (not all love is love at first sight!) and got married in March of 2019. She and her husband, Jordan, enjoy traveling, the outdoors, live music, and finding treasures during garbage week. Kallie is now a proud stay-at-home mom to 2 girls. She loves writing about thrifty living, party planning, and nurturing relationships on her blog. When Kallie bought her small, 980-square foot home she never imagined so much love would grow there. Her family eventually plans to build in the country but for now, enjoy the closeness of small living.


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