Mental health is important to all children. I'd like to share these easy to read titles to your picture book favorites!
Loving yourself is a skill that some children (and some teens and adults) might need help with each day.
Instilling self-confidence and kindness towards self are the ultimate goals of each of these picture books.
The key skill in self-confidence is developing the skill of being able to love yourself. You will see that all of these picture books encourage befriending oneself by seeing traits that you want in a friend in yourself!
Picture Books That Teach Kids How to Befriend Themselves:
I Like Me by Nancy Carlson
The best way to develop the skill of liking yourself is to befriend yourself, as this classic author demonstrates in this story that shows kids exactly how!
Nancy Carlson was years ahead of her time when she published this book in 1988!
Currently, many authors have delved in the mental health arena, but Carlson was aware of how kids have needed this self-love lesson.
Gently, she shows kids that not only can you make friends with other kids, but you can use those same skills to make friends with yourself!
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
Lovell's story about the spunky Molly is one of my favorite picture books! Its powerful message about how to stand up to a bully still resonates twenty years after its publication!
Though Molly's "short-comings" might seem to be perfect fodder for the bully in this story, the other children soon realize that what they see as "short-comings" are actually what makes Molly so sure of herself!
Children will love how Molly has found ways to overcome adversity, in a funny, but gentle way.
Her self-confidence is so infectious, the bully becomes Molly's fan at the end!
I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont
Beaumont's book, though similarly titled to Carlson's, examines self-love as the whole self.
Recognizing that children will question what they might consider as "unlikeable" parts about themselves, Beaumont uses positive reinforcement to show that self-love includes loving your whole self, not just the "likeable" parts.
Just as we have friends that we still love, even with their faults, kids can still love their whole selves!
Be Who You Are by Todd Parr
You know that I had to include a book from Todd Parr, who has a deft, but gentle way of reaching children through his words and visuals.
Parr, who is excellent at promoting self-confidence through his picture books, hits a home run with this title.
Progressing through explaining the importance of self-identity through community and self, Parr shows kids all of the different ways that you can be yourself.
It's okay to be yourself!
I Am Enough by Grace Byers
Byers' book was released two years before the Pandemic, but was so prescient and necessary to help kids with their mental health.
Byers shows kids how to build self-confidence by being proud of who they are. Positive and uplifting, Byers uses positive reinforcement to encourage children.
Here are some of the ways that she encourages self-love:
- Try your best and don't give up.
- Differences are okay!
- Unite and help each other.
She ends with a saying that is very powerful: "you are enough."