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Being Yourself: Books For Kids

One of the most important things we can help teach our children is the importance of being yourself. As they grow and learn, they'll encounter peer pressure, trends, and difficulties, but having the confidence and self-esteem to be themselves will help them to know and like who they are while appreciating the differences in everyone around them.

Top 10 Books About Being Yourself

A Bad Case of Stripes book
#1
A Bad Case of Stripes
Written and illustrated by David Shannon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In order to ensure her popularity, Camilla Cream always does what is expected, until the day arrives when she no longer recognizes herself.

The Trumpet of the Swan book
#2
The Trumpet of the Swan
Written by E.B. White
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Swan Song Like the rest of his family, Louis is a trumpeter swan. But unlike his four brothers and sisters, Louis can't trumpet joyfully. In fact, he can't even make a sound. And since he can't trumpet his love, the beautiful swan Serena pays absolutely no attention to him. Louis tries everything he can think of to win Serena's affection--he even goes to school to learn to read and write. But nothing seems to work. Then his father steals him a real brass trumpet. Is a musical instrument the key to winning Louis his love?

Be Happy! book
#3
Be Happy!
Written and illustrated by Monica Sheehan
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.

The Cow Who Climbed a Tree book
#4
The Cow Who Climbed a Tree
Written and illustrated by Gemma Merino
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is a clever and witty story about a little cow who's not afraid to be a little different and explore the wide world around her, regardless of how impossible and ridiculous her sisters think her antics are. The illustrations are beautiful and unique and full of delightful little details (like a flying pig!) that add a little something extra. Her siblings eventually join her adventure (despite their initial feelings) and finishing this book I felt all sorts of warm fuzzies: endless possibilities, fulfilled dreams and siblings supporting each other.

Tina isn't like the other cows. She believes that the sky is the limit and that everything is possible. But her sisters aren't convinced—and when Tina tells them she has climbed a tree and met a dragon, they decide that her nonsense has gone too far. Off they go into the woods to find her…and soon discover a world of surprises!

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon book
#5
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
Written by Patty Lovell and illustrated by David Catrow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love Molly Lou Melon! She is a fantastic girl who, despite some differences, listens to the advice her grandmother gives her to believe in herself, be proud of herself, and just be her great self. :) Even when a boy at school bullies her multiple times, she follows her grandmother's advice and shows the bully how remarkable she is, and they turn out to be friends.

Be yourself like Molly Lou Melon no matter what a bully may do. Molly Lou Melon is short and clumsy, has buck teeth, and has a voice that sounds like a bullfrog being squeezed by a boa constrictor. She doesn't mind. Her grandmother has always told her to walk proud, smile big, and sing loud, and she takes that advice to heart. But then Molly Lou has to start in a new school. A horrible bully picks on her on the very first day, but Molly Lou Melon knows just what to do about that.

Maurice the Unbeastly book
#6
Maurice the Unbeastly
Written by Amy Dixon and illustrated by Karl James Mountford
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Super cute book with absolutely gorgeous illustrations! I love the colors and all the cute monsters in the book. This story does a great job of showing how even when we, or someone else, might seem different, we all have special talents and abilities to offer and learn from others. Plus, this book about Maurice might help little ones who are afraid of any monsters realize that maybe monsters can be very nice. :)

No ordinary beast, Maurice is neat, polite, photogenic, and his roar is delightful to the ear, which leads his parents to enroll him at the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts, where he realizes he has a few things he can teach his fellow beasts.

Spoon book
#7
Spoon
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Scott Magoon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Thinking that Fork, Knife, and Chopstick have it better than he, Spoon begins to feel down about his status in the utensil world, but when others take the time to show him just how important he is, Spoon quickly comes to realize that being a spoon is the best thing to be after all!

Tacky the Penguin book
#8
Tacky the Penguin
Written by Helen Lester and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Tacky's perfect friends find him annoying until his odd behavior saves the day.

Jake and Lily book
#9
Jake and Lily
Written and illustrated by Jerry Spinelli
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

This is a story about me, Lily. And me, Jake. We're twins and we're exactly alike. Not exactly! Whatever. This is a book we wrote about the summer we turned eleven and Jake ditched me. Please. I just started hanging out with some guys in the neighborhood. Right. So anyway, this is a book about goobers and supergoobers bullies clubhouses true friends things getting built and wrecked and rebuilt and about figuring out who we are. We wrote this together (sort of) so you'll get to see both sides of our story. But you'll probably agree with my side. You always have to have the last word, don't you? Yes!

Stephanie's Ponytail book
#10
Stephanie's Ponytail
Written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I grew up loving this book, and there are so many things I love about the strong Stephanie! She knows what she likes and isn't afraid to be different. I love that she isn't phased by teasing from other kids because of her confidence in herself and her likes. She's also not afraid to think outside of the box, use her creativity, and try something new. Plus, the ending is hilarious. You might also find yourself with a new repertoire of hairstyles. ;)

Another laugh-out-loud book from the author of The Paper Bag Princess! Everyone is copying Stephanie’s ponytail! No matter which way she wears it, the list of copycats keeps growing. But when Stephanie declares her next hair style, she tries to shake all of her followers loose. A newly designed Classic Munsch picture book introduces this tale of trend-setting hairdos to a young generation of readers.

Books About Being Yourself and Being Different

A Bad Case of Stripes book
#1
A Bad Case of Stripes
Written and illustrated by David Shannon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In order to ensure her popularity, Camilla Cream always does what is expected, until the day arrives when she no longer recognizes herself.

The Cow Who Climbed a Tree book
#2
The Cow Who Climbed a Tree
Written and illustrated by Gemma Merino
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is a clever and witty story about a little cow who's not afraid to be a little different and explore the wide world around her, regardless of how impossible and ridiculous her sisters think her antics are. The illustrations are beautiful and unique and full of delightful little details (like a flying pig!) that add a little something extra. Her siblings eventually join her adventure (despite their initial feelings) and finishing this book I felt all sorts of warm fuzzies: endless possibilities, fulfilled dreams and siblings supporting each other.

Tina isn't like the other cows. She believes that the sky is the limit and that everything is possible. But her sisters aren't convinced—and when Tina tells them she has climbed a tree and met a dragon, they decide that her nonsense has gone too far. Off they go into the woods to find her…and soon discover a world of surprises!

Leaping Lemmings! book
#3
Leaping Lemmings!
Written by John Briggs and illustrated by Nicola Slater
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

So fun, I love this book! A great story about not just conforming and following the crowd, but being yourself. Super clever and you can tell this book was well thought out. I love all of the quotation bubbles for the lemmings and the great illustrations!

Lemmings look alike, sound alike, and act alike. So if one jumps off a cliff, the others follow . . . except Larry. Larry s "very" independent-minded. But can he teach his fellow lemmings to think for themselves? John Briggs has created a wonderfully funny, quirky tale about doing your own thing, while Nicola Slater s illustrations capture all the humor and pathos in Larry s situation."

Honorable Mentions
  1. Firenze's Light - B is for Bookworm - I think this is a great book with wonderful messages--friends that like you for who you are, using special talents you've been giving, loving yourself, and feeling grateful for your unique qualities. Cute story and really cute illustrations, but the messages in the book are very obvious.

  2. The Jellybeans and the Big Dance - Friendship comes in many flavors in the launch of a charming new series by a bestselling author and illustrator team! Laura Numeroff, Nate Evans, and Lynn Munsinger bring readers a fun new group of sweet friends. Just as jellybeans are different colors and flavors, each character in this heartwarming friendship story has a personality and pizzazz that young readers will love. Emily loves to dance and can’t wait to meet the other girls in her class, who are sure to be just like her. But instead she meets Nicole, a tomboy who would rather be playing soccer; Bitsy, who loves arts and crafts; and Anna, a shy bookworm who has no interest at all in dancing. Realizing that they have to work together to make their dance recital a success, the girls learn to love each other’s differences and strengths as they band together and name their group the Jellybeans! The latest picture book by beloved bestselling authors Laura Numeroff and Nate Evans is as sweet as sugar and features four adorable characters that all children will relate to. With joyful illustrations by Lynn Munsinger that dance off the page, The Jellybeans and the Big Dance will inspire readers to dance, prance, and boogie-woogie to the beat of their own drum.

  3. A Color of His Own - A story of a chameleon who, in search of his own color, finds a true friend.

  4. There's Only One You - "In all the world over, this much is true: You're somebody special. There's only one YOU." Celebrate your individuality with this picture book that honors all the wonderful things that make you . . . you. This feel-good book reassures kids that, whoever and whatever they are, it's awesome being YOU! Expertly written to include all kinds of children and families, it embraces the beauty in a range of physical types, personalities, and abilities. Kids will love discovering and recognizing themselves in these pages--and they'll feel proud to see their special qualities acknowledged. Adorable illustrations by Rosie Butcher show a diverse community that many will find similar to their own.

Want to see 54 more children's books about being yourself and being different?

How about children's books about being different?

Books About Being Yourself and Female Role Models

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon book
#1
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
Written by Patty Lovell and illustrated by David Catrow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love Molly Lou Melon! She is a fantastic girl who, despite some differences, listens to the advice her grandmother gives her to believe in herself, be proud of herself, and just be her great self. :) Even when a boy at school bullies her multiple times, she follows her grandmother's advice and shows the bully how remarkable she is, and they turn out to be friends.

Be yourself like Molly Lou Melon no matter what a bully may do. Molly Lou Melon is short and clumsy, has buck teeth, and has a voice that sounds like a bullfrog being squeezed by a boa constrictor. She doesn't mind. Her grandmother has always told her to walk proud, smile big, and sing loud, and she takes that advice to heart. But then Molly Lou has to start in a new school. A horrible bully picks on her on the very first day, but Molly Lou Melon knows just what to do about that.

Chrysanthemum book
#2
Chrysanthemum
Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

She was a perfect baby, and she had a perfect name. Chrysanthemum. When she was old enough to appreciate it, Chrysanthemum loved her name. And then she started school. "I'm named after my grandmother," said Victoria. "You're named after a flower." Chrysanthemum wilted. Life at school didn't improve. In fact, it got worse. Then the students were introduced to their music teacher, Mrs. Twinkle. Mrs. Delphinium Twinkle. And suddenly, Chrysanthemum blossomed....

Willow book
#3
Willow
Written by Rosemarie Brennan, Denise Brennan-Nelson and illustrated by Cyd Moore
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Miss Hawthorn's room is neat and tidy, not a pencil or paintbrush is out of place. And that's how she likes it. And she likes trees that are colored green and apples that are painted red. Miss Hawthorn does not like things to be different or out of the ordinary. Into Miss Hawthorn's classroom comes young Willow. She doesn't color inside the lines, she breaks crayons, and she sees pink trees and blue apples. What will Miss Hawthorn think? Magical things can happen when your imagination is allowed to run wild, and for Miss Hawthorn the notion of what is art and what is possible is forever changed.Willow is the first joint writing effort for sisters Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan. Denise's other Sleeping Bear Press books include Someday Is Not a Day of the Week and My Grandma Likes to Say. She lives in Howell, Michigan. Rosemarie Brennan juggles careers as a writing teacher and an author. She lives in Brighton, Michigan. Cyd Moore studied graphic design and fine arts at the University of Georgia. Her work includes posters, billboards, books, newspaper and magazine articles, and cassette and CD covers. She is the illustrator of I Love You, Stinky Face and I Miss You, Stinky Face. She lives in Commerce, Michigan.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Stephanie's Ponytail - B is for Bookworm - I grew up loving this book, and there are so many things I love about the strong Stephanie! She knows what she likes and isn't afraid to be different. I love that she isn't phased by teasing from other kids because of her confidence in herself and her likes. She's also not afraid to think outside of the box, use her creativity, and try something new. Plus, the ending is hilarious. You might also find yourself with a new repertoire of hairstyles. ;)

  2. Suki's Kimono - On her first day of first grade, despite the objections of her older sisters, Suki chooses to wear her beloved Japanese kimono to school because it holds special memories of her grandmother's visit last summer.

  3. My Name is Not Isabella - Isabella imagines she is a variety of prominent women throughout history, including Sally Ride, Annie Oakley, Rosa Parks, and Marie Curie.

  4. Dear Girl, - A #1 New York Times bestseller which Today show co-anchor Hoda Kotb calls, “a beautiful, beautiful book” New York Times bestselling author of I Wish You More, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and her daughter Paris Rosenthal collaborate to bring you the heartwarming and inspiring Dear Girl, Dear Girl, is a remarkable love letter written for the special girl in your life; a gentle reminder that she’s powerful, strong, and holds a valuable place in the world. Through Amy and Paris’s charming text and Holly Hatam’s stunning illustrations, any girl reading this book will feel that she's great just the way she is—whether she enjoys jumping in a muddy puddle, has a face full of freckles, or dances on table tops. Dear Girl, encourages girls to always be themselves and to love who they are—inside and out. Dear Girl, This book is for you. Wonderful, smart, beautiful you. If you ever need a reminder, just turn to any page in this book and know that you are special and you are loved. —Amy and Paris A perfect gift for all occasions.

Want to see more children's books about female role models?

Books About Being Yourself and Animals

Tacky the Penguin book
#1
Tacky the Penguin
Written by Helen Lester and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Tacky's perfect friends find him annoying until his odd behavior saves the day.

Not Quite Black and White Board Book book
#2
Not Quite Black and White Board Book
Written by Jonathan Ying and illustrated by Victoria Ying
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

Silly animals star in this lively board book that introduces colors in a unique and catchy way. Have you ever seen a zebra wearing pink polka dots? Or a penguin with bright yellow boots? Brother and sister team Jonathan and Victoria Ying present these surprisingly colorful animals and more in this clever celebration of colors.

You Should, You Should! book
#3
You Should, You Should!
Written and illustrated by Ginny Tilby
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Hippo's morning starts off good, until friends say, “You should! You should!” You should prance! You should sing! Wear this hat! Stretch your wing! Though Hippo wants to be a friend, he wonders when the “shoulds” will end. Hippo and friends will soon find out that being yourself is what life's about.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Hippopotamister - The zoo isn't what it used to be. It's run down, and Hippo hardly ever gets any visitors. So he decides to set off for the outside with his friend Red Panda. To make it in the human world, Hippo will have to become a Hippopotamister: he'll have to act like a human, get a job, and wear a hat as a disguise. He's a good employee, whether he's a construction worker, a hair stylist, or a sous chef. But what he really needs is a job where he can be himself.

  2. Selfie Sebastian - Sebastian is one handsome fox. So why can't he take the perfect selfie? In his quest to get the shot of his dreams, he sets off on an elaborate journey from the Grand Canyon all the way to the moon. But nothing works. Could it be that the secret to his special selfie is right where he started--at home with his friends?

  3. Elmore - The creator of the Toot & Puddle series brings us Elmore—the warmhearted porcupine sure to steal the hearts of a new generation of Holly Hobbie fans! Elmore is a porcupine desperate to make friends. But it is hard to seek closeness with others when you're covered with spikes that shoot off your back every so often. Elmore suffers rejection and heartbreak, but the goodness of his forest community ultimately shines through as the animals find a way to connect with this prickly bundle of love. Holly Hobbie is the creator of the beloved Toot & Puddle series and now brings us a character for the next generation. Just as charming, funny, and good-hearted as her little pigs, Elmore the porcupine will snuggle and prickle his way securely into the picture-book canon.

  4. Take Your Time - Harriet the tortoise likes to do things slowly. She explores her home on the Galápagos Islands―slowly. She eats―slowly. And when the sun goes down, she slumbers deeply all night long. When Harriet’s friends tell her to pick up the pace, Harriet decides to journey to a neighboring island to see what there is to see. She parades with penguins and rides with dolphins, encountering adventure at every turn. But is life in the fast lane right for a tortoise who loves to take her time?

Want to see 9 more children's books about being yourself and animals?

How about children's books about animals?

Books About Being Yourself and Imagination

Lily Wool book
#1
Lily Wool
Written and illustrated by Paula Vasquez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

Lily Wool is different—in a good way. She has lots of ideas and is quick on her feet when things go wrong. I love how this book encourages exploring your passions and thinking independently.

A little lamb with a great big imagination. A new picture book from Paula Vasquez filled with delightful illustrations depicting a little lamb intent on being true to herself. Lily Wool gets bored with all of the grazing and resting that the herd does and prefers to count stars and dream of adventures. When Lily finds a strand of loose wool, she lets her imagination run wild and has a grand time until she accidentally unravels a problem. Children will love seeing how Lily Wool puts her imagination and creativity to work to fix things, and how Lily discovers a way to help others while she finds her special place in the herd. Paula Vasquez,an avowed artist from childhood, studied graphic design at the Universidad Cat�lica de Chile, and honed her illustration skills with a post-graduate diploma from Finis Terrae University. She currently lives in Santiago de Chile writing and illustrating children's picture books.

Dory Fantasmagory book
#2
Dory Fantasmagory
Written and illustrated by Abby Hanlon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Move over, Junie B. Jones and Ivy & Bean! Here comes a lovably energetic little sister with a BIG personality—and an imagination to match! As the youngest in her family, Dory really wants attention, and more than anything she wants her brother and sister to play with her. But she’s too much of a baby for them, so she’s left to her own devices—including her wild imagination and untiring energy. Her siblings may roll their eyes at her childish games, but Dory has lots of things to do: outsmarting the monsters all over the house, escaping from prison (aka time-out), and exacting revenge on her sister’s favorite doll. And when they really need her, daring Dory will prove her bravery, and finally get exactly what she has been looking for. With plenty of pictures bursting with charm and character, this hilarious book about an irresistible rascal is the new must-read for the chapter book set.

Ta-Da! book
#3
Ta-Da!
Written by Kathy Ellen Davis and illustrated by Kaylani Juanita
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

What makes a good story? One little girl thinks it's a princess with magical powers that can—ta-da!—overcome any obstacle. Her friend thinks it's—dun dun duh!—a combination of dragons, pirates, and fire that cause total chaos. But as their stories intertwine, these two young storytellers soon learn that a good story needs both conflict—dun dun duh!—and resolution—ta-da! An irresistible celebration of imaginary play, storytelling, and the joys of collaboration, this gorgeous picture book features two strong voices throughout, making it the perfect read-aloud.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Breathe and Be: A Book of Mindfulness Poems - Hear thunder crash, feel your toes touch sand, and watch leaves drift softly away on a quiet stream. The simple poems in Breathe and Be help children learn mindfulness as they connect to the beauty of the natural world. Mindfulness teaches us how to stay calm, soothe our emotions, and appreciate the world around us. Whether we’re watching tiny colored fish darting in the water or exploring the leaves, branches, and roots of a towering tree, the thoughtful words and the lovely art of Breathe and Be remind us how much joy we can find by simply living with awareness and inner peace.

  2. Marcel the Shell with Shoes on - View our feature on Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp’s Marcel the Shell With Shoes On. Millions of people have fallen in love with Marcel. Now the tiny shell with shoes and a big heart is transitioning from online sensation to classic picture book character, and readers can learn more about this adorable creature and his wonderfully peculiar world. From wearing a lentil as a hat to hang-gliding on a Dorito, Marcel is able to find magic in the everyday. He may be small, but he knows he has a lot of good qualities. He may not be able to lift anything by himself, but when he needs help, he calls upon his family. He may never be able own a real dog . . . but he has a pretty awesome imagination.

  3. Delivery Bear - Zogby wants to work for Fluffy Tail Cookies as a delivery animal—but he’s a bear and all the other animals are cute bunnies. Zogby tries to pretend to be a bunny by wearing bunny ears, putting on whiskers, and adding a fluffy tail. But he still scares the customers! When Zogby realizes being himself is best, can he find a way to stand out and get the job?

  4. Nancy Knows - Nancy knows she's forgotten something. Something important. When she tries to remember, she thinks of all kinds of other things instead. She remembers things she knows and things she doesn't quite know. She remembers things one way, then another. Sometimes she remembers with her ears or her stomach or even her heart. But Nancy knows she's still forgetting something. It's only when Nancy stops thinking altogether that she finally remembers the very important thing she's forgotten. Nancy Knows is the charming story of an elephant who remembers lots of things, except the very thing she is trying to remember. Each spread of this whimsical, arresting board book features fantastic miniature paper sculptures within expressive outlines of a puzzled pachyderm. It's a book not to be forgotten.

Want to see more children's books about imagination?

Books About Being Yourself and Kindness

Be Happy! book
#1
Be Happy!
Written and illustrated by Monica Sheehan
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.

We're All Wonders book
#2
We're All Wonders
Written and illustrated by R. J. Palacio
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The unforgettable bestseller Wonder, now a major motion picture, has inspired a nationwide movement to Choose Kind. Now parents and educators can introduce the importance of choosing kind to younger readers with this gorgeous picture book, featuring Auggie and Daisy on an original adventure, written and illustrated by R. J. Palacio. Over 6 million people have fallen in love with Wonder and have joined the movement to Choose Kind. Now younger readers can meet Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, and his beloved dog, Daisy. Countless fans have asked R. J. Palacio to write a book for younger readers. With We’re All Wonders, she makes her picture-book debut as both author and artist, with a spare, powerful text and striking, richly imagined illustrations. Palacio shows readers what it’s like to live in Auggie’s world—a world in which he feels like any other kid, but he’s not always seen that way. We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children. Praise for Wonder: A #1 New York Times Bestseller A USA Today Top 100 Bestseller An Indie Bestseller A Time Magazine 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time Selection A Washington Post Best Kids’ Book A New York Times Book Review Notable Book An NPR Outstanding Backseat Book Club Pick An Entertainment Weekly 10 Great Kids’ Books Selection “A beautiful, funny and sometimes sob-making story of quiet transformation.” —The Wall Street Journal “A crackling page-turner filled with characters you can’t help but root for.” —Entertainment Weekly “Rich and memorable.” —The New York Times Book Review

You're Here for a Reason book
#3
You're Here for a Reason
Written and illustrated by Nancy Tillman
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Now available in board book, You're Here for a Reason, from national-bestselling and beloved author Nancy Tillman, takes a universal truth and makes it accessible for readers young and old. Not only are we loved, but we also matter. In this tender and timeless read-along book, Tillman reminds us of this message in beautiful illustrations as children and animals interact with acts of kindness. You're here for a reason. If you think you're not I would just say that perhaps you forgot . . . a piece of the world that is precious and dear would surely be missing if you weren't here. If not for your smile and your laugh and your heart this place we call home would be minus a part. Thank goodness you're here! Thank goodness times two! I just can't imagine a world without you. Not only are we loved, but we also matter. Once again, NancyTillman takes a universal truth and makes it accessible forreaders young and old, as children and animals interact withacts of kindness.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Dazzling Travis - Travis sets no limits to what he enjoys doing. Shopping and football, ballet and dress-up make Travis a one of a kind boy! But when some of the kids on the playground begin to pick on him, Travis truly dazzles. This empowering story encourages both boys and girls to challenge the social norm, revealing their true selves.

  2. The Things I Love About Me - Your great big smile, your kindness toward others—there are so many things to love about being you. This special junior edition of The Things I Love About Me—with its simple, meaningful words and beautiful illustrations—is part of a series that is perfect for introducing little ones to positive thinking about everyday situations.

  3. Maximillian Villainous - For anyone who loved Leonardo, the Terrible Monster, this is a humorous and important book about learning to follow your heart and proving that kindness can outweigh villainy any day. Maximillian Villainous is a monster who doesn’t have the heart to be a villain. His famous family pulls pranks on the likes of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, and Max spends his time undoing them. So when he brings home a bunny to be his sidekick, Max’s disapproving mother hatches a plan. She challenges Max and the bunny to become a devious duo; otherwise . . . the bunny hops. If they want to stay together, Max and the bunny have no choice but to go against their nature. They blunder into villainy with comical effect until Max discovers that embracing his good heart may just be the key to pulling off the most devious deed of all and winning his family’s acceptance. Delightfully fun and irreverent, Maximillian Villainous is an empowering story about embracing one’s true self and finding acceptance. Up and coming illustrator Lesley Breen Withrow brings the characters to life with bold and colorful illustrations in a style reminiscent of Richard Scarry.

  4. Rosa Plays Cars - Let's find out which toys Rosa and her friends are playing with today! An important series that celebrates inclusivity, promotes gender equality and embraces the uniqueness of every child.

Want to see more children's books about kindness?

Books About Being Yourself and Confidence

Spoon book
#1
Spoon
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Scott Magoon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Thinking that Fork, Knife, and Chopstick have it better than he, Spoon begins to feel down about his status in the utensil world, but when others take the time to show him just how important he is, Spoon quickly comes to realize that being a spoon is the best thing to be after all!

I Like Me! book
#2
I Like Me!
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

I have a best friend. That best friend is Me! Meet Nancy Carlson’s peppy pig—a character who is full of good feelings about herself. Her story will leave little ones feeling good about themselves, too!

Mixed Me! book
#3
Mixed Me!
Written by Taye Diggs and illustrated by Shane W. Evans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Mom and Dad say I'm a blend of dark and light: "We mixed you perfectly, and got you just right." Mike has awesome hair. He has LOTS of energy! His parents love him. And Mike is a PERFECT blend of the two of them. Still, Mike has to answer LOTS of questions about being mixed. And he does, with LOTS of energy and joy in this charming story about a day in the life of a mixed-race child.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Red: A Crayon's Story - A blue crayon mistakenly labeled as "red" suffers an identity crisis in this picture book by the New York Times–bestselling creator of My Heart Is Like a Zoo and It's an Orange Aardvark! Funny, insightful, and colorful, Red: A Crayon's Story, by Michael Hall, is about being true to your inner self and following your own path despite obstacles that may come your way. Red will appeal to fans of Lois Ehlert, Eric Carle, and The Day the Crayons Quit, and makes a great gift for readers of any age!

  2. Positively Purple - PB and Jeli are best bear friends. They play ball together every single day, until the day Jeli gets sick. After the doctor prescribes medication, Jeli begins to feel better but to her surprise, the medication turns her fur purple! With the help of her colorful and caring friends, Jeli learns that there is more to who you are than what shows on the outside. And that maybe being positively purple is positively perfect!<p>Positively Purple explores the power of empathy and friendship in building a child's self-esteem. Self acceptance is a strong theme running through the story, with a clear message that change in your appearance does not change how your friends feel about you.

  3. Being Me: A Kid's Guide to Boosting Confidence and Self-Esteem - Do you like being you? Do you have confidence in yourself? Do you believe that there are kids who can like you for who you are and want to hang out with you? If you answered NO to any of these questions, how about turning those NOs into know-how? Being Me is loaded with tips and advice for taking on everyday challenges and for building up your confidence and self-esteem. Come on! Take a peek inside and find lots of ways to explore your strengths and feel more confident in school, with your friends…with everything!

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Books About Being Yourself and Love

The Trumpet of the Swan book
#1
The Trumpet of the Swan
Written by E.B. White
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Swan Song Like the rest of his family, Louis is a trumpeter swan. But unlike his four brothers and sisters, Louis can't trumpet joyfully. In fact, he can't even make a sound. And since he can't trumpet his love, the beautiful swan Serena pays absolutely no attention to him. Louis tries everything he can think of to win Serena's affection--he even goes to school to learn to read and write. But nothing seems to work. Then his father steals him a real brass trumpet. Is a musical instrument the key to winning Louis his love?

You're All Kinds of Wonderful book
#2
You're All Kinds of Wonderful
Written and illustrated by Nancy Tillman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The beloved, bestselling Nancy Tillman returns with a picture book celebrating what makes every child special in their own way. Part of growing up is discovering—and embracing—what makes us unique. From different abilities to different personalities, we are all wonderfully made with our own bells and whistles.

Prince & Knight book
#3
Prince & Knight
Written by Daniel Haack and illustrated by Stevie Lewis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Once upon a time, in a kingdom far from here, there was a prince in line to take the throne, so his parents set out to find him a kind and worthy bride. The three of them traveled the land far and wide, but the prince didn't quite find what he was looking for in the princesses they met. While they were away, a terrible dragon threatened their land, and all the soldiers fled. The prince rushed back to save his kingdom from the perilous beast and was met by a brave knight in a suit of brightly shining armor. Together they fought the dragon and discovered that special something the prince was looking for all along. This book is published in partnership with GLAAD to accelerate LGBTQ inclusivity and acceptance.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Very Very Very Long Dog - "Oh, Bartelby!" Bartelby is a very long and lovable dachshund who lives in a bookstore. He has a lovely set of friends who take him for walks through the city, but he has no idea that his bumbling backside leaves a trail of destruction and accidents behind him. Embarrassed that he has no control over his back end, Bartelby vows to never leave the cozy bookstore again. Can his friends help him find a way to help himself? This beautifully illustrated picture book features silly fun along with an important message: that we love our friends not in spite of their flaws, but because of them.

  2. The Log Driver's Waltz - Acclaimed illustrator Jennifer Phelan reimagines Wade Hemsworth’s iconic log driver in a beautiful, contemporary picture-book adaptation of a beloved Canadian classic. If you ask any girl from the parish around What pleases her most from her head to her toes She’ll say I'm not sure that it’s business of yours But I do like to waltz with a log driver Based on the perennially popular Canadian folk song and animated short film of the same name, The Log Driver’s Waltz showcases a spunky, independent young woman whose parents are keen for her to marry. The town’s well-to-do doctors, merchants, and lawyers try to impress her, but it’s the humble log driver—with his style, grace, and joie de vivre—who captures her attention. When she and the log driver finally meet on the dance floor, their joy leaps off the page. With homages to the original film, and celebrating the flora, fauna, and folk art of this great land, The Log Driver’s Waltz brings a hallmark of Canadian childhood to life.

  3. The Amazing Idea of You - Fans of Emily Winfield Martin will delight in this loving, gorgeously illustrated story that celebrates new life. Hidden inside every living thing is an idea. That idea can sprout, sing, wriggle, take wing . . . into something amazing! Exploring beginnings both small and great, The Amazing Idea of You bonds the human and natural worlds in a lyrical burst of celebration. So dig deep, fly high, look around, and find the extraordinary inside everything . . . including YOU!

  4. The Princess and the Pea - “A lost princess knocks on a castle door ... and soon falls in love with the prince who lives there. But will the princess pass the queen’s test? Set in Russia, with beautiful illustrations from Dinara Mirtalipova, this is the story of the princess and the pea!”—Back cover.

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Books About Being Yourself and Friendship

Just a Duck? book
#1
Just a Duck?
Written and illustrated by Carin Bramsen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from The Goodfather

Carin Bramsen's illustrations are stunning and beautiful, and her tale is just as impressive. Clever rhymes share a meaningful story about the unique talents of each person (and duck) and how what may seem simple to us can be very helpful to someone else!

Now that Cat has learned to play games that Duck enjoys, it’s Duck’s turn to try things that Cat likes. However, climbing trees and swatting at leaves prove to be a bit tricky for flat-footed Duck. What’s an unlikely pair of friends to do?

Up and Down book
#2
Up and Down
Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A penguin has wings for a reason . . . doesn’t he? Having a best friend with his own airplane is one thing, but actually experiencing what it feels like to fly by himself? Here is one penguin who believes this is precisely what he needs to feel complete. Only . . . if flying by himself is so wonderful, then why does he feel so empty? Because some experiences are better shared. (And penguins are much happier on the ground.) Oliver Jeffers delivers the perfect companion to his much-loved Lost and Found. Penguins everywhere will take flight in delight.

Sadie and the Silver Shoes book
#3
Sadie and the Silver Shoes
Written by Jane Godwin and illustrated by Anna Walker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

When shoes are the only thing you get to pick out yourself, what happens when you lose one of them? A tale of self-expression and friendship, told with humor and charm. With three older brothers to pass along hand-me-downs, Sadie doesn't have much say in choosing her clothes. Her outfits always look interesting, though (even if some kids at school might not think so). But Sadie is allowed to pick her shoes, so one day she buys the most beautiful shoes ever -- shoes that sparkle in the sun, shoes she wears everywhere. That is, until Sadie and her brothers hop down a creek on an adventure, and one shoe falls off and is swept away. Whatever will Sadie do with one silver shoe? From a winning picture-book team comes a story of creativity, resilience, and like-minded souls that is sure to appeal to independent thinkers everywhere.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Bear and Duck - Debut author-illustrator Katy Hudson brings to life characters Bear and Duck in this hilarious story about a bear who is fed up being a bear and wants to be a duck. Bear is sick and tired of being a bear. Who wants to sleep all winter? His fur feels so hot in the summer. And the bees . . . there are just too many angry bees! Bear is done being a bear. But when he sees a line of happy yellow ducklings, he has a thought. What if he could be a duck? With a few duck lessons from Duck, Bear learns that being a duck is fun; but as it turns out, Bear realizes he makes a really good bear . . . and he makes a really good friend along the way. Young readers will delight in the hilarious relationship between Bear and Duck.

  2. Meena Meets Her Match - Graduates of the Ramona Quimby series will adore Meena Zee as she navigates the triumphs and challenges of family, friendship, and personal secrets in this charming middle grade debut. Meena’s life is full of color. She wears vibrant clothes, eats every shade of the rainbow, and plucks eye-catching trash from the neighborhood recycling bins. But when Meena’s best friend, Sofía, stops playing with her at recess and she experiences an unexpected and scary incident at breakfast, nothing can fight off the gray. That’s when Meena comes up with a plan to create the BEST and most COLORFUL Valentine’s Day Box in the class. With the help of her cousin, Eli, and her stuffed zebra, Raymond, Meena discovers that the best way to break through the blah is to let her true colors shine.

  3. How to Be a Lion - In this timely and charming story about the importance of being true to yourself, mindfulness, and standing by your friends, we meet Leonard, a lion, and his best friend Marianne, a… duck. Leonard and Marianne have a happy life together—talking, playing, writing poems, and making wishes—until one day a pack of bullies questions whether it’s right for a lion and a duck to be pals. Leonard soon learns there are many ways to be a lion, and many ways to be a friend, and that sometimes finding just the right words can change the world… This sweet, funny, thoughtful, and much-needed story will open up readers’ eyes to the importance of being who they are and not backing down to hurtful criticism. It’s an empowering tale about connecting with others and choosing kindness over bullying, and shows children how angry and provocative words can be overcome by empathy and courage.

  4. Tug of War - Financial Times: 'gorgeously vibrant' Tortoise is on the hunt for a friend, but only encounters huge Elephant and Hippo, who are mean about his small size and wrinkly skin. But although Tortoise isn't big, he is certainly brainy! He sets out to show Elephant and Hippo that biggest doesn't mean best by challenging them to a tug of war. They sneeringly accept… but little do they know that they have really agreed to fight each other! A funny, heartwarming retelling of this well-known folk tale about brains vs brawn with beautiful, stylish illustrations. A special book that teaches that wit and wisdom are more important than size and physical strength, and friendship is what matters most.

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Books About Being Yourself and School

Maurice the Unbeastly book
#1
Maurice the Unbeastly
Written by Amy Dixon and illustrated by Karl James Mountford
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Super cute book with absolutely gorgeous illustrations! I love the colors and all the cute monsters in the book. This story does a great job of showing how even when we, or someone else, might seem different, we all have special talents and abilities to offer and learn from others. Plus, this book about Maurice might help little ones who are afraid of any monsters realize that maybe monsters can be very nice. :)

No ordinary beast, Maurice is neat, polite, photogenic, and his roar is delightful to the ear, which leads his parents to enroll him at the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts, where he realizes he has a few things he can teach his fellow beasts.

Here Comes Teacher Cat book
#2
Here Comes Teacher Cat
Written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Claudia Rueda
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Cat is not pleased to be tapped as substitute teacher. Not only is it cutting into his nap time, but a roomful of kittens is a little, well, scary. At school, he's faced with six adorable kittens and follows the lesson plan of music, building, and painting-only in pure, mischief-making Cat style. By the end, Cat has learned a thing or two about inspiring others by being himself. But even more heart-melting and humorous is what the kittens have learned from Cat.

I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard book
#3
I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard
Written and illustrated by Jennifer K Mann
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Rose’s teacher gives stars for spelling and neatness and giving the right answer, but Rose can’t manage to do any of those things right. Will she ever get a star from Mrs. Benson? Rose is a distracted and creative soul. She does her best at school, but sometimes her mind wanders, and she answers the wrong question. Her reading voice is quiet, not strong and loud. And her desk?—?well, keeping her desk neat is a challenge. When it’s time to make thank-you cards for a class visitor, Rose’s art supplies turn her workspace?—and her?—?into a colorful mess. But her artistic skills shine through in the gorgeous oversize card she creates. Could she possibly get a star after all? A cheerful and empowering picture book for the child whose talents lie in unconventional areas, and those still searching for their strengths.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Geraldine - No, no, NO! Geraldine is NOT moving. Not to this new town where she's the only giraffe. Not to this new school where she has no friends. Not to this new place, where everyone only knows her as That Giraffe Girl. But soon Geraldine meets Cassie, a girl who is just as much of an outcast as she is, and as time goes by, she realizes that being yourself and making one really good, unusual friend can help someone who literally stands out fit right in. Together, Geraldine and Cassie play by their own rules.

  2. Exit Strategy - Twelve-year-old Ross tries to discover the formula for being funny and getting his new classmates to like him in this laugh-out-loud MAX novel!

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Books About Being Yourself and Adventure

Wherever You Go book
#1
Wherever You Go
Written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Roads give you chances to seek and explore. Want an adventure? Just open your door. Join an adventurous rabbit and his animal friends as they journey over steep mountain peaks, through bustling cityscapes, and down long, winding roads to discover the magical worlds that await them just outside their doors. Award-winning author Pat Zietlow Miller's lilting rhyme and bestselling illustrator Eliza Wheeler's enchanting, lush landscapes celebrate the possibilities that lie beyond the next bend in the road--the same road that will always lead you home again.

Where Oliver Fits book
#2
Where Oliver Fits
Written and illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Oliver has always dreamed about where he will fit. Will he be in the mane of a unicorn? The tentacle of a pirate squid? The helmet of an astronaut? When he finally goes in search of his perfect place, he finds that trying to fit in is a lot harder than he thought. But like any puzzle, a little trial and error leads to a solution, and Oliver figures out exactly where he belongs. Where Oliver Fits is a sweet and funny story that explores all the highs and lows of learning to be yourself and shows that fitting in isn't always the best fit.

The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito book
#3
The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito
Written by Tomson Highway and illustrated by Sue Todd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Timely, Fun, Challenging and Wise! Tomson Highway's musical cabaret, The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito, couldn't be more vividly presented unless you were sitting in the middle seat of the front row watching the Cree playwright, performer, musician and poet himself. The story of a wingless little mosquito from Manitoba has all the whimsy and wise humour any audience could ask for. The ageless theme of a misfit, who finds her voice through song and who learns to make friends by communicating directly with her audience, is a timely treat for anyone who has felt like an outsider, dealt with bullying, moved to a new place, or was different from the rest of the pack. The entire script is here, complete with song lyrics, stage directions, Cree vocabulary, and challenging tongue twisters to delight all ages. A perfect book for drama students, teachers, and theatre enthusiasts, this beautiful full-colour volume serves as an interactive read-aloud for the young, or a great way to introduce students to the joys of staging a musical production.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Unicorn Crossing - Phoebe and Marigold are back for a fifth installment of the award-winning series. Join in on their latest adventures - and experiments - in being themselves! Phoebe and Her Unicorn returns with more sparkles than ever!

  2. Carl and the Meaning of Life - From the often Caldecott-buzzed Deborah Freedman, a sweet and funny story about finding your place in the world. Carl is an earthworm. He spends his days happily tunneling in the soil until a field mouse asks him a simple question that stops him short: "Why?" Carl's quest takes him on an adventure to meet all the animals of the forest, each of whom seems to know exactly what they were put on this earth to do, unlike the curious Carl. But it's not until the world around him has changed that Carl begins to realize everyone, no matter how small, makes a big difference just by being themselves.

  3. Unstoppable Max - Max is a four-year-old whirlwind who doesn't have an off switch! His socks are odd, his bedroom is chaotic, and his mind is so full of imaginative schemes that following even the simplest of instructions can end in mayhem. Max's bedtime routine, so seemingly simple, becomes a military operation for Max with many obstacles to overcome - tidying his bedroom, putting on his pyjamas, and feeding his pet goldfish! Illustrated with non-stop energy by exciting new author/illustrator, Julia Patton.

  4. The Polar Bear Explorers' Club - A precocious young girl is determined to prove herself as an explorer in the first novel in the whimsical Polar Bear Explorers’ Club series. Stella Starflake Pearl knows, without a doubt, that she was born to be an adventurer. It’s too bad girls are forbidden from becoming explorers. But Stella’s father has never been one to play by the rules. Leaving behind her pet polar bear, Gruff, and beloved unicorn, Magic, Stella and Felix set off on an expedition to the snowy Icelands. There, Stella plans to prove herself as a junior explorer, worthy of membership in the Polar Bear Explorers’ Club. So when Stella and three other junior explorers are separated from the rest of their expedition, she has the perfect opportunity. Can they explore the frozen wilderness and live to tell the tale? The first in Alex Bell’s imaginative new series, The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club is a fun and daring adventure filled with magic, outlaws, and fantastic faraway lands.

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Books About Being Yourself and Family

Bunny in the Middle book
#1
Bunny in the Middle
Written by Anika Denise and illustrated by Christopher Denise
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

When you’re in the middle . . . you’re not the oldest, and you’re not the youngest. You are right in-between. There’s someone bigger who helps you. And someone smaller who needs you. From the middle, you can see both sides. But being in the middle isn’t always easy—sometimes it’s hard to know what makes you special, or how to follow a path that’s just your own. But that’s okay. As one middle bunny knows, being in the middle means you are loved ALL around. This classic picture book celebrates the remarkable empathy of middles and the joys of self-acceptance, glowingly illustrated by New York Times–bestselling artist Christopher Denise. Perfect for fans of Little Elliot.

But Not the Armadillo book
#2
But Not the Armadillo
Written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-5

For more than thirty-five years, readers have wondered what happens to the mystery armadillo on the last page of Sandra Boynton’s classic board book, But Not the Hippopotamus. Now, at last, comes the long-awaited sequel. Behold the armadillo, a cute and curious creature who follows his nose wherever it goes. Join him as he quietly travels the less-traveled road: he picks cranberries, stops and smells the flowers, takes a nap in the meadow, searches out the source of a beautiful melody, and at day’s end passes an overeager hippo sprinting the other direction. Told with Boynton’s signature charm and unpredictability, But Not the Armadillo is a gentle and worthy companion book to But Not the Hippopotamus—perfect for curious little kids and grown-ups alike. And for everyone who has ever been concerned about the armadillo: Don’t worry. He’s completely fine just the way he is.

The Heart of a Boy book
#3
The Heart of a Boy
Written and illustrated by Kate T Parker
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 0-12

In her international bestseller Strong Is the New Pretty (with 329,000 copies in print), the photographer Kate T. Parker changed the way we see girls by showing us their truest selves—fearless, messy, wild, stubborn, proud. Now it’s time to talk about our boys. Prompted by #metoo, school shootings, bullying, and other toxic behavior, there’s a national conversation going on about what defines masculinity and how to raise sons to become good people. And Kate Parker is joining in by turning her lens to boys. The result is possibly even more moving, more eloquent, more surprising than Strong. The Heart of a Boy is a deeply felt celebration of boyhood as it’s etched in the faces and bodies of dozens of boys, ages 5 to 18. There’s the pensive look of a skateboarder caught in a moment between rides. The years of dedication in a ballet dancer’s poise. The love of a younger brother hugging his older brother. The unself-conscious joy of a goofy grin with a missing tooth. The casual intimacy of two friends at a lemonade stand. The shyness of a lone boy and his model boat. The intensity in a football huddle. The proud, challenging gaze of a boy bald from alopecia—and the same kind of gaze, but wreathed in tenderness, of a boy a few years younger with flowing, almost waist-length hair. There are guitarists, fencers, wrestlers, star-gazers, a pilot—it’s the world of our sons, in all their amazing variety and difference. The photographs feel spontaneous, direct, and with so much eye contact between the viewed and the viewer that it’s impossible to turn away. And throughout, words from the boys themselves enrich every photo. What a gift for boys and anyone who is raising them.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Sterling, Best Dog Ever - A heartwarming and hilarious debut picture book about a dog who masquerades as a fork in search of a forever family. Full color.

  2. The One and Only Me - HAVE YOU EVER wondered what makes you, You? Join Poppy on her journey into the fascinating world of her genetics. Learn how Poppy's genes created her red hair and blue eyes -- and trace these traits through her family tree. Poppy's genes are not the only things that help make her unique. discover, with Poppy, how your genes and the world around you can shape who you are. - What makes you unique? - Why do you look like your family? - What do genes have to do with it? Join Poppy to find out answers to these questions and more.

  3. You May Already Be a Winner - Twelve-year-old Olivia Hales has a foolproof plan for winning a million dollars so that she and her little sister, Berkeley, can leave behind Sunny Pines Trailer Park. But first she has to: · Fix the swamp cooler and make dinner and put Berkeley to bed because her mom is too busy to do all that · Write another letter to her dad even though he hasn’t written back yet · Teach Berk the important stuff, like how to make chalk drawings, because they can’t afford day care and Olivia has to stay home from school to watch her · Petition her oddball neighbors for a circus spectacular, because there needs to be something to look forward to at dumb-bum Sunny Pines · Become a super-secret spy to impress her new friend Bart · Enter a minimum of fourteen sweepstakes a day. Who knows? She may already be a winner!

  4. Little Wolf's Song - Even though Little Wolf's mom, dad, sister, and brothers all have their own special song, he can only manage a poor, pitiful squeak. His siblings tease him: -A wolf who can't howl is no wolf at all!- But one snowy day, Little Wolf finds himself lost in the woods--and underneath the full moon, he discovers his own beautiful voice. This magical, heartwarming story will enchant children.

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Books About Being Yourself and Finding Your Passion

Lola Dutch book
#1
Lola Dutch
Written and illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright, Kenneth Wright
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Meet Lola Dutch, a delightfully creative girl who is bursting with grand ideas. From the best ways to serve breakfast -- an elegant feast! -- to the ideal sleeping spot -- a majestic blanket fort, of course! -- Lola is inspired all day long. Her dear companion Bear sometimes says she is just too much, but Lola is rich with imagination and originality, which even Bear will agree is AMAZING.The unstoppable Lola Dutch is about to show you how to make every day grand and full of fun. You'll love her so much! Inspired by their own four gorgeously feisty children, Sarah Jane and Kenneth Wright are thrilled to introduce the unstoppable Lola Dutch and her fresh, fun, commercial, character-driven series.

Reptile Club, The book
#2
Reptile Club, The
Written by Maureen Fergus and illustrated by Elina Ellis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

There are lots of clubs for Rory to join at his new school, but none seem quite right for him. So when his parents suggest he start his own club about something he loves, Rory knows exactly what it will be: a Reptile Club! He's positive that there are other kids out there who share his passion. He sets up his first meeting and then waits and waits for students to show up. Just as he is about to give up, Rory hears whispering in the hallway and hurries over to see who it is. To his astonishment, it's not his schoolmates who have arrived to attend the first meeting, but a crocodile, an anaconda and a gecko!

You! book
#3
You!
Written and illustrated by Sandra Magsamen
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-10

A life full of adventure first requires big dreams. And big dreams need big encouragement. From world-renowned author and artist Sandra Magsamen comes YOU!, offering inspiration and hope to readers from 1 to 100. Includes colorful, lively illustrations along with whimsical rhyming text that can be cherished in almost any setting.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Doughnut Fix - An Amazon Best Book of the Month! Superfudge meets The Lemonade War in this funny, heartwarming series debut about change, adventure, family, and of course, doughnuts. Tristan isn't Gifted or Talented like his sister Jeanine, and he's always been okay with that because he can make a perfect chocolate chip cookie and he lives in the greatest city in the world. But his life takes a turn for the worse when his parents decide to move to middle-of-nowhere Petersville―a town with one street and no restaurants. It's like suddenly they're supposed to be this other family, one that can survive without bagels and movie theaters. His suspicions about his new town are confirmed when he's tricked into believing the local general store has life-changing chocolate cream doughnuts, when in fact the owner hasn't made them in years. And so begins the only thing that could make life in Petersville worth living: getting the recipe, making the doughnuts, and bringing them back to the town through his very own doughnut stand. But Tristan will soon discover that when starting a business, it helps to be both Gifted and Talented, and It's possible he's bitten off more than he can chew...

  2. Katie Finds a Job - As Career Day at school approaches, Katie has great ideas for helping her friends present their future professions, but cannot think of a job that she would like to do.

  3. Most Marshmallows - Most marshmallows are born into marshmallow families, play with marshmallow friends, and go to marshmallow school where they learn to be squishy. Most marshmallows read a book before bed and then fall asleep to dream ordinary marshmallow dreams. Is this book about most marshmallows? It isn't. Because Rowboat Watkins knows that just like you, some marshmallows have big dreams, and just like you, these marshmallows can do anything they set their minds to. This sweet and silly book is an inspiring reminder that by being true to ourselves each of us can be truly extraordinary.

  4. The Art Collector - Oscar’s Great-Granny showed him how to draw. Oscar was not good at drawing. But he loved art, so he kept the drawing of a red chicken that Great-Granny gave to him and he loved to look at it. He bought another drawing at a flea market, and he loved looking at that one, too. As he grew up, Oscar collected more drawings and paintings, filling his bedroom with color and shapes and scenes. Oscar collected and collected until a museum had to be built to hold all of his drawings and paintings. Not everyone can become an artist, but as Oscar learned, everyone can love looking at art. Oscar’s passion for the stories in paintings and the thoughts they provoke will inspire young readers to see art in a new way—even if they don’t enjoy making it themselves.

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Books About Being Yourself and Belonging

Les & Ronnie Step Out book
#1
Les & Ronnie Step Out
Written and illustrated by Andrew Kolb
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Meet a left and right foot who are a pair of complete opposites! Full of clever, giggle-inducing details, this lively odd-couple tale celebrates what makes us all unique, as well as the power of friendship to bring us together despite our differences. Feet come in twos, so they need to step out together. But Les and Ronnie often find it hard to cooperate. Les likes having a clean sock and being responsible. Ronnie is fine with a dirty sock and loves letting loose. Les is straight-laced while Ronnie doesn’t even care about laces. What’s a duo to do?

Stumpkin book
#2
Stumpkin
Written and illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Stumpkin is the most handsome pumpkin on the block. He’s as orange as a traffic cone! Twice as round as a basketball! He has no bad side! He’s the perfect choice for a Halloween jack-o-lantern. There’s just one problem—Stumpkin has a stump, not a stem. And no one seems to want a stemless jack-o-lantern for their window. As Halloween night approaches, more and more of his fellow pumpkins leave, but poor Stumpkin remains. Will anyone give Stumpkin his chance to shine?

The Octopuppy book
#3
The Octopuppy
Written and illustrated by Martin McKenna
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Can the OCTOPUPPY be the perfect pet? Edgar wanted a dog. Instead, he got an octopus named Jarvis. Jarvis is brilliant and does his best to act like the dog Edgar wants, but nothing he does is good enough to please Edgar. Ultimately, Edgar recognizes that while Jarvis might not be the dog he wanted, he is special in his own endearing way.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Very Lonely Firefly - A VERY classic from Eric Carle, creator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar! When a very lonely firefly goes out into the night searching for other fireflies, it sees a lantern, a candle, and the eyes of a dog, cat, and owl all glowing in the darkness. It even sees a surprise celebration of light. But it is not until it discovers other fireflies that it finds exactly what it’s looking for–a surprise sure to bring smiles to anyone who turn the final page! Lushly illustrated with Eric Carle’s trademark vibrant collage art, soothingly told with a gentle read-aloud rhythm, and complete with a surprise sure to “light up” children’s faces, The Very Lonely Firefly will fast become a storytime favorite. Read it with a flashlight in the dark or under the table–and watch those fireflies glow!

  2. Leila in Saffron - A colorful journey of self-discovery and identity, this sweet, vibrant picture book follows young Leila as she visits her grandmother’s house for their weekly family dinner, and finds parts of herself and her heritage in the family, friends, and art around her. Sometimes I’m not sure if I like being me. When Leila looks in the mirror, she doesn’t know if she likes what she sees. But when her grandmother tells her the saffron beads on her scarf suit her, she feels a tiny bit better. So, Leila spends the rest of their family dinner night on the lookout for other parts of her she does like. Follow Leila’s journey as she uses her senses of sight, smell, taste, touch to seek out the characteristics that make up her unique identity, and finds reasons to feel proud of herself, just as she is.

  3. Fritz and the Beautiful Horses - Fritz was not beautiful. He didn’t have a braided mane or a glossy coat. He couldn’t prance with long, graceful strides like the elegant horses who carried lords and lovely ladies to the city—a city that allowed only the most beautiful horses within its walls. The citizens laughed at the short-legged pony’s attempts to be like their own horses. But Fritz was dependable and hard-working. He proved to the citizens that there are things more important than being beautiful. He earned a special place for himself in the walled city just as he’ll earn a special place in every reader’s heart. Jan Brett’s full-color artwork sparkles in intricate detail across every page of this exceptional picture book about Fritz, a sure-footed pony who finally gets the chance to shine in his own best way.

  4. Stella Diaz Has Something to Say - A sweet middle-grade novel by award-winning illustrator Angela Dominguez about a shy Mexican-American girl who makes a new friend.

Want to see 10 more children's books about being yourself and belonging?

How about children's books about belonging?

Books About Being Yourself and Facing Fears

Mary Wears What She Wants book
#1
Mary Wears What She Wants
Written and illustrated by Keith Negley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Once upon a time (but not too long ago), girls only wore dresses. And only boys wore pants. Until one day, a young girl named Mary had a bold idea: She would wear whatever she wanted. And she wanted to wear pants! Inspired by the true story of Mary Edwards Walker, a trailblazing doctor who was arrested many times for wearing pants, this fresh, charming picture book encourages readers to think for themselves while gently challenging gender and societal norms.

Marc's Mission book
#2
Marc's Mission
Written by Jocko Willink and illustrated by Jon Bozak
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

New York Times-bestselling author Jocko Willink delivers a second powerful and empowering Way of the Warrior Kid book about finding your inner strength and being the best you can be, even in the face of adversity in Marc's Mission.

Rot, the Cutest in the World! book
#3
Rot, the Cutest in the World!
Written and illustrated by Ben Clanton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Rot, a mutant potato, enters a "Cutest in the World" contest but worries when he sees his competition.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Ninita's Big World - "The heart-tugging true story of how YouTube star Ninita—a deaf, orphaned pygmy marmoset (the smallest type of monkey)—found family, friendship, and a forever home! Illustrated in full color. Ninita is the only known deaf pygmy marmoset in the world, but that doesn't stop her from making friends and chasing her next adventure! Abandoned by her parents and rescued by the RSCF, this tiny, curious monkey loves exploring her habitat. And when she meets Mr. Big—another pygmy marmoset—she has finally found a friend who likes to eat, climb, and play as much as she does. A YouTube celebrity, Ninita's videos have been viewed nearly 2 million times! "

  2. We Are Party People - In this middle-grade contemporary novel, a shy girl with party-planner parents learns that stepping out of her comfort zone might not be so scary after all. "I am the opposite of a mermaid and that’s exactly the way I like it." Shy and quiet, Pixie Jones does everything she can to fade into the background. All she wants is to survive middle school without being noticed. Meanwhile, her parents own the best party-planning business in town. They thrive on attention, love being experts in fun, and throw themselves into party personas, dressing as pirates, princes, mermaids, and more. When her mom leaves town indefinitely and her new friend Sophie decides to run for class president, Pixie finds herself way too close to the spotlight. How far is she willing to go to help the people she loves? Sweet, brave, and laugh-out-loud funny, We Are Party People by Leslie Margolis is a story of quiet triumph. Also by Leslie Margolis: We Are Party People Ghosted Praise for We Are Party People: “The strongest chapters are the lively accounts of how Pixie and Dan organize and run parties without Mom . . . Middle school angst tempered by humorous insights.” —Kirkus Reviews “Pixie’s first-person perspective is endearing . . . Give this to fans of gentle, realistic fiction. A solid purchase.” —School Library Journal “Pixie’s friends, Lola and Sophie, provide an excellent example of what good friends should be, and their relationship will show young readers that good friends help and support each other . . . A fun, fast-paced read.” —Booklist “Shy middle schoolers who tend to downplay their talents will find inspiration to be brave?and maybe ideas for planning an amazing party as well.” —VOYA

Want to see more children's books about facing fears?

Books About Being Yourself and Growing Up

Little Juniper Makes It BIG book
#1
Little Juniper Makes It BIG
Written and illustrated by Aidan Cassie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What Juniper lacks in size, she makes up for in heart. And her heart is dead-set on growing up and getting taller. She's tired of having to reach for the cookie jar or use a stepping stool for the toilet. Everything in Juniper's world seems to be made for adults. Ugh! Juniper is industrious, however, and builds several silly contraptions to help reach her goals. But it isn't until she makes a fun new friend at school, Clove, who is even smaller than Juniper, that she is able to see her world from a new perspective — and appreciate all sizes, big or small. Aidan Cassie, the creator of Sterling, Best Dog Ever, employs her pitch-perfect humor and heartwarming illustrations here again to help little ones love themselves at any size.

Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus book
#2
Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus
Written by Dusti Bowling
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

"High School. Two words that struck fear into the heart of every armless middle schooler I knew. Which was me. And like two people online." The sequel to the critically acclaimed Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus follows Aven Green as she confronts yet another challenge: high school. Just as Aven starts to feel comfortable in Stagecoach Pass, with her friends and schoolmates accustomed to her lack of "armage," everything changes once again. She's about to begin high school . . . with 2,300 new kids to stare at her. And no matter how much Aven tries to play it cool, nothing prepares her for the reality. In a year filled with confusion, humiliation, fears, loss, and just maybe love, can Aven manage to stay true to herself?

My So-Called Superpowers book
#3
My So-Called Superpowers
Written by Heather Nuhfer
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The first book in a quirky and funny coming-of-age series follows a girl whose emotions physically manifest themselves for the whole world to see. Veronica's story is sure to resonate with readers who feel desperate to fit in. Illustrations.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Best Friends - In this M!X original, Izzy is used to being queen bee—but will she ditch her mean girl status for a chance at true friendship? Isabella Caravella is dreading summer. She doesn’t want to spend a month at a lakeside resort with her parents and the families of her dad’s coworkers, especially when she discovers that two of the kids go to her school. She thinks Bailey and Ava are beyond weird—and they’re not exactly thrilled to see Izzy, either. Izzy has been their tormentor, the leader of the pack of girls who made their first year of middle school so unpleasant. Once Izzy discovers that the other kids have been spending their summers together for years and she’s the outsider, she realizes she’s going to have to change her bossy, stubborn ways if she wants to fit in. Bailey and Ava turn out to be kind and welcoming, and Izzy actually wishes she were more like them. Back home, Izzy knows that things are probably going to be different. Ava and Bailey were great summer friends—but are they really forever friends? Can Izzy prove that she really does have the potential to be a true friend? Or is she stuck playing the mean girl forever?

  2. Big Time Olie - Poor Olie. He’s is too Rolie big to do this, too Rolie small to do that. But a turn with the shrink-and-grow-a-lator should fix all that…until Olie grows too much in this classic picture book-turned-beloved-TV-show from the brilliant mind that brought you The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Rolie Polie Olie grows a little every day, but his parents say he’s still not big enough for a trip to Mount Big Ball. At the same time Pappy says Olie is too big to jump on his bed! Olie feels like he isn’t the right size for anything. Then he gets a big and really bad idea: He’ll use the shrink-and-grow-a-lator. But he presses the wrong button, and now he’s a small as his sister Zowie’s dollies! Olie finds the “bigger” button lickety-split and up, up, UP he grows… But being grown up isn’t all it’s cracked up to be either. Olie bonks his head on the moon, burns his bottom on the sun, and lands with a big KABOOM on Mount Big Ball. Lost and lonely and so, so tall, Olie wishes he could be back to being just plain Olie!

Want to see more children's books about growing up?

Books About Being Yourself and Identity

Eraser book
#1
Eraser
Written by Anna Kang and illustrated by Christopher Weyant
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-9

Eraser is always cleaning up everyone else’s mistakes. Except for Ruler and Pencil Sharpener, none of the other school supplies seem to appreciate her. They all love how sharp Pencil is and how Tape and Glue help everyone stick together. Eraser wants to create so that she can shine like the others. She decides to give it a try, but it’s not until the rubber meets the road that Eraser begins to understand a whole lot about herself. Inspired by a school essay their daughter Kate wrote in the third grade, the author and illustrator behind Theodor Seuss Geisel Award–winner You Are (Not) Small have created a desktop drama about figuring out who you are, finding happiness, and the importance of second, third, and maybe even fourth chances.

Replay book
#2
Replay
Written by Sharon Creech
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Leo's papa stood in the doorway, gazing down at him. "Leo, you make gold from pebbles," and the way he said it, Leo could tell that this was a good thing. He may have been given a bit part in the school play ... but Leo dreams he is the biggest star on Broadway. Sure, his big, noisy family makes him feel like a sardine squashed in a tin ... but in his fantasy he gets all the attention he wants. Yes, his papa seems sad and distracted ... but Leo imagines him as a boy, tap-dancing and singing with delight. That's why they call Leo "fog boy." He's always dreaming, always replaying things in his brain. He fantasizes about who he is in order to discover who he will become. As an actor in the school play, he is poised and ready for the curtain to open. But in the play that is his life, Leo is eager to discover what part will be his.

Of Course They Do! book
#3
Of Course They Do!
Written by Marie-Sabine Roger and illustrated by Anne Sol
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Using sparse text and large, bright photographs, the book debunks commonly-held gender-myths. Misconceptions are stated matter-of-factly (Boys don’t cook.), but when the page is turned, each myth is proven false with playful language (Are you sure?) and a contradictory photo (a male professional chef). This jacketless book is perfect for young readers as well as read-alouds and will generate discussions about gender-based assumptions around play and work.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Jack (Not Jackie) - In this heartwarming picture book, a big sister realizes that her little sister, Jackie, doesn't like dresses or fairies-she likes ties and bugs! Will she and her family be able to accept that Jackie identifies more as "Jack"? Susan thinks her little sister Jackie has the best giggle! She can't wait for Jackie to get older so they can do all sorts of things like play forest fairies and be explorers together. But as Jackie grows, she doesn't want to play those games. She wants to play with mud and be a super bug! Jackie also doesn't like dresses or her long hair, and she would rather be called Jack. Readers will love this sweet story about change and acceptance.

  2. Husky - Twelve-year-old Davis lives in an old brownstone with his mother and grandmother in Brooklyn. He loves people-watching in Prospect Park, visiting his mom in the bakery she owns, and listening to the biggest operas he can find as he walks everywhere. But Davis is having a difficult summer. As questions of sexuality begin to enter his mind, he worries people don’t see him as anything other than “husky.” To make matters worse, his best girlfriends are starting to hang out with mean girls and popular boys. Davis is equally concerned about the distance forming between him and his single mother as she begins dating again, and about his changing relationship with his amusingly loud Irish grandmother, Nanny. Ultimately, Davis learns to see himself outside of his one defining adjective. He’s a kid with unique interests, admirable qualities, and people who will love him no matter what changes life brings about.

Want to see more children's books about identity?

Books About Being Yourself and Diversity

The Right One for Roderic book
#1
The Right One for Roderic
Written and illustrated by Violeta Noy
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

What happens when one little ghost wants to stand out? All ghosts wear white sheets. That's just what ghosts do. White sheets are good for haunting people, and they make the ghosts feel like part of one big family. But one little ghost named Roderic wants to wear something different. He tries all sorts of things: a bag, a rug, a boot. Can he find the right one for him? Find out in this colorful picture book from debut author-illustrator Violeta Noy.

Hey Black Child book
#2
Hey Black Child
Written by Useni Eugene Perkins and illustrated by Bryan Collier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Six-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and four-time Caldecott Honor recipient Bryan Collier brings this classic, inspirational poem to life, written by poet Useni Eugene Perkins Hey black child,Do you know who you are?Who really are? Do you know you can beWhat you want to beIf you try to beWhat you can be? This lyrical, empowering poem celebrates black children and seeks to inspire all young people to dream big and achieve their goals.

Black, White, Just Right book
#3
Black, White, Just Right
Written by Marguerite W. Davol and illustrated by Irene Trivas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A girl explains how her parents are different in color, tastes in art and food, and pet preferences, and how she herself is different too but just right.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Clive and His Babies - Meet Clive - and his imagination! Clive loves his dolls. He enjoys playing with them, and sharing them with his friends. A gentle, affectionate book, celebrating diversity and challenging gender stereotypes.

  2. EveryBody's Different on EveryBody Street - Playful words lead you into this beautiful children’s book and invite you to celebrate our gifts,our weaknesses,our differences and our sameness. Fitch displays her wit and mastery of words in quick, rollicking rhymes that are complemented by Emma Fitzgerald’s lively illustrations. EveryBody’s Different on EveryBody Street was originally produced in 2001 as a fundraiser to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Festival of Trees in support of the Nova Scotia Hospital and to raise awareness for mental illness and addiction.

  3. Pretty - Pretty isn't everything! Trapped by the limitations of her high-school adjective, the realities of her mother's alcohol addiction, and a racially fraught America, Sophie's perspective on what being pretty really means changes drastically in the second adjective-busting novel by the author of Husky, Justin Sayre. Set three months after Husky'sconclusion and narrated by Sophie, Davis's best friend, Sayre details the private and public life of someone saddled with the adjective of pretty. Confident, stylish, and easygoing at school, Sophie is struggling in her home life. Stepping in to help as her mother's addiction spirals out of control, Sophie's aunt teaches the biracial Sophie new lessons about her heritage. While helping to heal the wounds inflicted by alcoholism, Sophie's renewed sense of self challenges her perception of place in the affluent, "liberal" neighborhood of Park Slope where she lives.a Set against the backgrounds of Brooklyn and Harlem, Sayre challenges readers to confront superficial assumptions about race and beauty and breathes new life into the cannon of middle-grade realistic fiction.

  4. Dara Palmer's Major Drama - "Dara's larger-than-life personality and true-to-life middle grade issues command center stage until the curtain falls." --School Library Journal, Starred Review Dara Palmer is destined to be a star, and she's writing herself the role of a lifetime. Dara longs for stardom--but when she isn't cast in her middle school's production of The Sound of Music, she get suspicious. It can't be because she's not the best. She was born to be a famous movie star. It must because she's adopted from Cambodia and doesn't look like a typical fraulein. (That's German for girl.) So irrepressible Dara comes up with a genius plan to shake up the school: write a play about her own life. Then she'll have to be the star. Praise for Dream On, Amber: A Booklist 2015 Top 10 First Novels for Youth A Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2015 "[This] novel is a charmer...While its humor and illustrations lend it Wimpy Kid appeal, its emotional depth makes it stand out from the pack."--Booklist Starred review "A gutsy girl in a laugh-out-loud book that navigates tough issues with finesse." --Kirkus Starred review "Amber's effervescent and opinionated narration captivates from the start." --Publishers Weekly Starred review "By turns playful and poignant, in both style and substance, this coming-of-age novel will hook readers from the first page to the last." --School Library Journal Starred review

Want to see 10 more children's books about being yourself and diversity?

How about children's books about diversity?

Books About Being Yourself and Costumes

Tropical Terry book
#1
Tropical Terry
Written and illustrated by Jarvis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

From author-illustrator Jarvis comes a buoyant underwater tale about a little blue fish who learns that being dazzling isn't what makes you special. Coral Reef City is home to the most brilliant tropical fish in the ocean. Sparkling and multicolored, they swim around and around, showing off. And then there's Terry. Small, blue, and ordinary, Terry spends his days playing hiding games with his friends and wishing the tropical fish would play with him, too. So with the help of his friends, Terry fashions a flashy, dazzling costume and transforms into Tropical Terry. But life as the center of attention isn't quite everything Terry dreamed it would be -- especially once Eddie the Eel shows up, hungry for dinner. In a bright, cheerful story, Jarvis uses his vibrant art and heartwarming wit to prove that sometimes the things you thought made you unremarkable are actually the most special qualities of all.

The Walking Bathroom book
#2
The Walking Bathroom
Written by Shauntay Grant and illustrated by Erin Bennett Banks
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A sweet Halloween story about standing out and fitting in. I t’s Halloween, and Amayah doesn’t have a costume to wear to school. She dressed as a ghost for the last three years in a row, witches are overdone, and fairies are not her style. She wants to be something different, something creative. The Walking Bathroom is the newest book from awardwinning author and poet Shauntay Grant, with fun, eyecatching artwork from Erin Bennett Banks. This imaginative tale is bound to inspire some unique costumes and become a Halloween favorite!

Clive and His Hats book
#3
Clive and His Hats
Written and illustrated by Jessica Spanyol
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Meet Clive - and his imagination! Clive loves his collection of hats, and each one suggests a different adventure. He enjoys playing with them, and sharing them with his friends. A gentle, affectionate book, celebrating diversity and challenging gender stereotypes.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Ladybug Girl and the Dress-Up Dilemma - Ladybug Girl gets dressed up for Halloween in the newest hardcover addition to the New York Times bestselling series. It is Halloween and Lulu must decide on a costume. Should she be Ladybug Girl or something new? She tries many different costumes, but nothing seems right. Maybe she’ll think of the perfect costume as she enjoys the autumn day with her family by pumpkin picking and going on a hayride. But it isn’t until Lulu and Bingo help a little girl who is lost that Lulu discovers who she was meant to be for Halloween–Ladybug Girl, of course! After all, she is Ladybug Girl and it is important to be true to yourself.

  2. Clive Is a Nurse - This series of board books follows hard on the heel of the four ALL ABOUT CLIVE titles, which were enthusiastically received for celebrating diversity and challenging gender stereotypes. Helped by his good friends, Clive pretends to be a nurse, a waiter, a librarian and a teacher. The role-play of this diverse group is detailed, humorous, caring and thoughtful, and all readers will want to copy, share and talk about what they see.

Want to see more children's books about costumes?

Epilogue

9 books that are just too good to leave off of our being yourself list.

  1. Harold Finds a Voice - Harold is an amazing mimic, and can imitate the sound of everything in his home. Tired of repeating the same old noises, he yearns to find out what other voices there are in the big, wide world. But what happens when he suddenly realises that he doesn’t yet have a voice of his own?This fantastic debut by author/illustrator Courtney Dicmas recounts Harold’s hilarious tale. It’s full of colour, humour and invention, and children will love to join in with Harold as he mimics everyday noises.

  2. Little Oink - Little Oink is a neat little fellow. Clean, clean, clean, that's all he wants to do. But Mama and Papa won't have it! They say in order to be a proper pig he has to learn to make a proper mess. What's a little pig to do? Now available as a board book, Little Oink shows Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Jen Corace applying their traditionally wry humor to the issue of cleaning up, in a laugh-out-loud romp that is sure to make readers giggle with recognition.

  3. Antoinette - "Raised in a family of talented bulldogs, Antoinette the poodle wonders what makes her special. She gets the chance to prove herself and find what she's good at when puppy Ooh-la-la goes missing"--

  4. The Dot - Vashti believes that she cannot draw, but her art teacher's encouragement leads her to change her mind.

  1. Little You - Richard Van Camp, internationally renowned storyteller and bestselling author of the hugely successful Welcome Song for Baby: A Lullaby for Newborns, has partnered with award-winning illustrator Julie Flett to create a tender board book for babies and toddlers that celebrates the potential of every child. With its delightful contemporary illustrations, Little You is perfect to be shared, read or sung to all the little people in your life—and the new little ones on the way!

  2. The Day the Crayons Quit - Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon. Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun. What can Duncan possibly do to appease all of the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best?

  3. Alma and How She Got Her Name - What's in a name? For one little girl, her very long name tells the vibrant story of where she came from -- and who she may one day be. If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; Jose, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all -- and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell. In her author-illustrator debut, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin stories or names.

  4. The Second Sky - An inspiring story about finding your true element Ever since he first hatched, Gilbert has wanted to fly. But with his big, clumsy feet and small, fluffy wings, learning to fly is a bigger challenge than Gilbert anticipated. His fellow penguins tell him to give up, but Gilbert is sure that if he keeps trying, he’ll be able to soar… Young readers will fall in love with this sweet, motivating story about overcoming obstacles and discovering your hidden talents.

  1. It's Okay To Be Different - It's okay to need some help. It's okay to be a different color. It's okay to talk about your feelings.

Did you enjoy our being yourself book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!

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