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Attitude: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about attitude?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to attitude. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about attitude.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about attitude, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Wonder to popular sellers like The Secret Garden to some of our favorite hidden gems like Last Stop on Market Street.

We hope this list of kids books about attitude can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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The Secret Garden
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. She is lonely and has no one to play with, but one day she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed – and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly she turns the key and enters a world she could never have imagined.

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Wonder
Written by R. J. Palacio
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Born with a facial deformity that initially prevented his attendance at public school, Auggie Pullman enters the fifth grade at Beecher Prep and struggles with the dynamics of being both new and different, in a sparsely written tale about acceptance and self-esteem.

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The Pout-Pout Fish
Written by Deborah Diesen & illustrated by Dan Hanna
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

As the pout-pout fish swims along in the ocean, he discovers that being glum and spreading the “dreary wearies” isn’t much fun anymore–especially when his true destiny is revealed!

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Bernice Gets Carried Away
Written & illustrated by Hannah Harrison
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
This book is amazing and I love it so much! The illustrations are beyond phenomenal—gorgeous, wonderfully detailed, and absolutely expressive— and the message that happiness is a choice and best achieved by having empathy for others and helping and sharing with others is fantastic. This is definitely a favorite.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Perfect for a new generation of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day readers, this charming story about a grumpy cat gently shows how far a little sharing can go.

Bernice is having a truly rotten time at her friend’s birthday party. First, everyone else gets a piece of cake with a frosting rose. But not Bernice. Then, everyone else gets strawberry-melon soda. Bernice gets the prune-grapefruit juice. And it’s warm. The last straw is the one lousy (squished) candy she gets from the piñata. So when the balloons arrive, Bernice knows just what she has to do: grab them all. And then, poor cross Bernice gets carried up, up, and away. Luckily, she figures out just how to make her way back down to the party…and she brightens lots of other animals’ days on her way.

Hannah Harrison’s gorgeous animal paintings come alive in her second picture book. Her “exceptionally polished” debut, Extraordinary Jane, received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library Journal.

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Be Happy!
Written & illustrated by Monica Sheehan
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
A great introduction to the idea that happiness isn't something that happens to you, it's something you make for yourself with your actions and your attitude. It's geared towards a little older crowd than my 18 month old son, but by adding a little discussion about what's happening with the dog and mouse on each page we both enjoy it, and it's honestly a great reminder for me as a mom to be mindful about CHOOSING to be happy.
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Monica Sheehan has taken her bestselling book be happy. and created an irresistible little gem for people BIG & small. So open it up and get inspired to . . .

Sing and dance a little! Have fun! Be kind–be brave! And be the best YOU.

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  • Augustus and His Smile - B is for Bookworm -

    I love this sweet, meaningful book about a tiger who finds that there is joy all around him and that he can find happiness just by choosing to be aware! Such a good reminder for the reader. He goes on a fun adventure to learn this lesson, and I love the illustrations of this book, too!

  • The Best Bear in All the World - B is for Bookworm -

    I love these stories based off of the original Winnie the Pooh, and love that it's divided up into four stories with the four seasons. Pooh is always so positive and looks for the good in everything, there's so much wisdom from the little sayings throughout the story. I think Pooh is a great example of choosing to look at the bright side and be happy. :) Plus, I was surprised by how high quality this book is! The illustrations throughout are also gorgeous.

  • Maisy's Field Day - When Maisy and friends have a special day for races and competitions, it’s not about winning or losing — the fun is in playing the games. Join Maisy and her pals for Field Day! First is the egg-and-spoon race (oops, Eddie’s egg is a little too wobbly). No problem, there are lots more games to play — a wheelbarrow race, a three-legged race, and even a get-dressed-up-silly race. When it’s time to play ringtoss, Eddie’s trunk comes in handy, and in the relay race, Maisy and Charley run as fast as they can. Last of all comes a great big game of tug-of-war, where both teams fall down laughing at the end!

  • How to Cheer Up Dad - A hilarious book about parent and child relationships for fans of Ian Falconer and Jon Agee–a perfect gift idea for Father’s Day and beyond! Little Jumbo just can’t understand why his dad is having such a bad day. It couldn’t be the raisins Little Jumbo spit out at the ceiling or the bath he refused to take–after all, Little Jumbo’s dad knew he hated raisins and had already taken a bath that week! Luckily, Little Jumbo is such a thoughtful elephant that he decides to turn his dad’s bad day around with some of his–ahem, his dad’s–favorite things. How to Cheer up Dad is a standout debut featuring a charmingly oblivious little elephant with serious pluck and staying power. It turns the parent-child roles upside down is a great book for dads and the kids who make them laugh.

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Last Stop on Market Street
Written by Matt De La Pena & illustrated by Christian Robinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A young boy rides the bus across town with his grandmother and learns to appreciate the beauty in everyday things. By the author of the celebrated picture book A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis.

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A Perfect Day
Written & illustrated by Sarah S Brannen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A seagull and a crab find friendship and compromise in this sweet and humorous story about the meaning of perfection.

The sky is blue, the sun is warm, the breeze is cool–it’s a perfect day for Seagull, perched on a rock in the sea. That is, until crabby Crab comes along and points out all of the day’s flaws! There’s a cloud in the sky, a smelly boat in the distance, and the rock that they’re sitting on is covered in barnacles.

In this sweet and funny story about finding happiness amidst flaws, Seagull and Crab learn that nothing is more perfect than spending time with friends.

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Have You Filled a Bucket Today?
Written by Carol McCloud & illustrated by David Messing
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This book does a fantastic job of just laying it all on the table so it's super simple and easy to understand how to make others happy, and, in turn, how it makes you happy. :) I love the message of this book and I actually love how explanatory it is, even though that's not my usual style. There are even specific examples given. I also think the visual aid of the buckets is a great way to teach kids this concept! But any book that teaches you how to make others happy and yourself happy is a winner in my book!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-9

“Children are not the only ones that need to learn how to be truly happy. It’s all in the bucket, that invisible bucket that follows you everywhere… teaches young readers valuable lessons about giving, sharing, and caring. This guide to daily happiness, though, is not just for kids. We all need reminders of the benefits of positive thinking and positive behavior. It’s an important lesson to teach and remind us all . . . that showing kindness and appreciation of others goes a long way to making this world a happier place for everyone, including ourselves. A classic tale, beautifully told and beautifully shared.” —Emily-Jane Hills Orford, Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews While using a simple metaphor of a bucket and a dipper, author Carol McCloud illustrates that when we choose to be kind, we not only fill the buckets of those around us, but also fill our OWN bucket! Conversely, when we choose to say or do mean things, we are dipping into buckets. All day long, we are either filling up or dipping into each other’s buckets by what we say and what we do. When you’re a bucket filler, you make the world a better place to be! This 32-page picture book is perfect for children, parents, grandparents, teachers and people that want to teach empathy, nurture kindness and create a positive environment in their home, classroom, workplace and community.

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Kitty Cones: What Makes Us Happy?
Written & illustrated by Ralph Cosentino
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Discover all the little things that make the Kitty Cones happy in this sweet book of illustrations from Ralph Cosentino. Life is full of happy moments, from playing on the beach to chasing rainbows, and even running outside when it sprinkles! Join best friends Miyu, Yumi, and Koko as they discover what makes them happy. Filled with clever and endearing art from author and illustrator Ralph Cosentino, this Kitty Cones book teaches kids to value friendship, help others, and enjoy the little things in life.

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Sing, Don't Cry
Written & illustrated by Angela Dominguez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Once a year, Abuelo comes from Mexico to visit his family. He brings his guitar, his music—and his memories. In this story inspired by the life of Apolinar Navarrete Diaz—author Angela Dominguez’s grandfather and a successful mariachi musician—Abuelo and his grandchildren sing through the bad times and the good. Lifting their voices and their spirits, they realize that true happiness comes from singing together.

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  • The Little Engine That Could - B is for Bookworm -

    I think it's safe to say that almost everyone loves this classic book with a can-do message for littles and adults! I love that the little engine shows perseverance, even when things are hard, and believing in yourself. It's such a great example of having a positive attitude, and that we are in charge of our thoughts and choose what we feel. :)

  • Santa Bruce - Bruce is a lot of things. He is a bear. He is a grump. He is a pretty decent cook. And he is a mother. One thing Bruce is not? Santa Claus. But that doesn’t stop the whole forest from lining up to give him their Christmas wishes when he becomes the victim of mistaken identity-again. Kids will howl with laughter as award-winning author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins delivers another hilarious story about this bear who just can’t catch a break.

  • I'm Grumpy - B is for Bookworm -

    This cute board book does a great job talking about emotions, and grumpy cloud shows that sometimes it's easy to get down in a funk! I love the ending where he chooses to be kind and happy to make sunny feel better, and I think that shows a great lesson about how we can choose to do something nice for someone--which will make us happy, and get us out of the dumps!

  • My Heart Fills with Happiness - A board book that celebrates happiness and invites children to reflect on the little things in life that bring them joy.

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Pout-Pout Fish
Written by Deborah Diesen & illustrated by Dan Hanna
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

THE NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER IS NOW A BOARD BOOK FOR THE SMALLEST OF SMALL FRY!

Deep in the water,
Mr. Fish swims about
With his fish face stuck
In a permanent pout.

Can his pals cheer him up?
Will his pout ever end?
Is there something he can learn
From an unexpected friend?

Swim along with the pout-pout fish as he discovers that being glum and spreading dreary wearies isn't really his destiny. Bright ocean colors and playful rhyme come together in Deborah Diesen's fun fish story that's sure to turn even the poutiest of frowns upside down.

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Catching Thoughts
Written by Bonnie Clark & illustrated by Summer Maçon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Have you ever had an unwelcome thought that you just couldn’t get rid of, no matter how hard you tried to push it away?

In Catching Thoughts, a girl is plagued by an unwanted thought. No matter what she does–ignore it, yell at it, cry about it–the thought won’t go away. Frustrated and discouraged, she finally looks that bad thought in the face and says, “”Hello.”” At last, she is able to notice other more beautiful, positive thoughts all around her. As she catches hold of new thoughts, the girl discovers she can fill her mind with whatever she chooses.

For every child who has been weighed down by sadness or anxiety, this story teaches kids how to acknowledge unwanted thoughts, show them compassion, then actively replace them with positive thoughts instead. Catching Thoughts is a quiet, thoughtful story that teaches readers how to practice mindfulness, focusing on thoughts that bring beauty, joy, and calm into their lives.

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Joy
Written by Corrinne Averiss & illustrated by Isabelle Follath
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Fern’s Nanna has not been herself of late. And when Mom remarks that all the joy seems to have gone out of her life, Fern decides to fetch the joy back. With a net, a box, and a bag to help her, she begins her search for joy. A wonderful and uplifting story that is guaranteed to bring joy to every reader.

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Pass It on
Written & illustrated by Sophy Henn
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Here’s a fun idea: When you laugh or smile–pass it on! A story about giving, sharing, and joy.

When you see something terrific, smile a smile and pass it on! If you chance upon a chuckle, hee hee hee and pass it on. Should you spot a thing of wonder, jump for joy and pass it on!

So begins Sophy Henn’s ode to the excitement of sharing happiness with others. With a refrain that begs to be uttered before every turn of the page, children will eagerly read alongside their parents as they discover how wonderful–and fun!–it is to share the good things in life. After all, if you spread happiness to others, even on a gray, rainy day, when you least expect it, like a bolt out of the blue, a smile or a chuckle might be passed right back to you! This heartwarming, upbeat book is the perfect way to bring a warm ray of sunshine into every reader’s life.

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It's Tough to Lose Your Balloon
Written & illustrated by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Lost balloons. Melted ice cream. Babysitters.

Life as a kid can be pretty daunting. But don’t let these troubles get you down. With the right attitude, a hurdle can become a hammock and an obstacle can become an opportunity!

Veteran picture book creator Jarrett J. Krosoczka teaches kids to look on the bright side of things. With lively illustrations and spot-on humor, It’s Tough to Lose Your Balloon champions resilience and helps children navigate childhood indignities while making them laugh at the same time.

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  • Happiness Doesn't Come from Headstands - Trying—and failing—can be a path to happiness too. Leela loves to do yoga. She could do all sorts of poses, but there was one pose she couldn’t do. Every time Leela tried to do a headstand…KERPLUNK! This book explores the themes of acceptance, resilience, and self-compassion and offers the message that just because we may experience a failure does not mean that we are a failure. Written as a counterpoint to the message of The Little Engine that Could, Happiness Doesn’t Come from Headstands is a story about a girl who tries her best, but still falls down. Through the process she learns that happiness is not determined by external achievement. Even in the face of failure, peace can be found if we accept that we cannot do everything and focus on our experience.

  • Stand Up, Yumi Chung! - One lie snowballs into a full-blown double life in this irresistible story about an aspiring stand-up comedian.

  • Annie - B is for Bookworm -

    Even though sometimes "it's a hard-knock life," Annie shows that you can choose to be happy and believe "the sun will come out tomorrow!"

  • Oopsie-do! - “Cheery and affirming.” —Kirkus From Grammy Award–winning musician and TV host Tim Kubart and illustrator Lori Richmond comes a lively picture book debut that reassures children that it’s okay to make mistakes! When a girl drops her snack or scrapes her knee, does she get upset? No! She says, “Oopsie-do!” Readers will delight as they follow along and call out the OOPSIE-DO! refrain throughout the story. This delightful picture book also includes the link to a free original song by Grammy winner Tim Kubart, available for download and sure to be a part of every repeat reading.

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Noah Noasaurus
Written by Elaine Kiely Kearns & illustrated by Colin Jack
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Noah Noasaurus woke up feeling very No. No to brushing his teeth. No to eating breakfast. And definitely No to playing with his little brother. Things only get worse when Noah goes for a walk and relentlessly cheerful Toby Rex, Brian Brontosaurus, and Ava Ceratops follow him. Together, the group starts a bona fide dino parade that even Noah can?t resist. This lighthearted, whimsical story will have readers laughing along at Noah and his friends?as well as at their own bad moods.

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How to Make a Shark Smile: How a Positive Mindset Spreads Happiness
Written by & illustrated by Claudia Ranucci
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

"[How to Make a Shark Smile] teaches that a gesture as simple as a smile can have a profound effect on others."--Gretchen Rubin, New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home

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