Best Children's Books About Confidence

The Best 36 Books to Boost Your Child's Confidence

Updated Feb. 14, 2019

As parents, one of our greatest wishes is that our children will grow up with confidence. Confidence to believe in themselves, to be true to who they are, to not care what others think of them, and to flourish in their passions and succeed in their pursuits. We want them to believe the can do anything they put their minds to. Confidence begets bravery, courage, self-worth, and boldness.

These children's books are sure to inspire confidence in young readers with their positive messages and role models. As Marcus Garvey put it, "With confidence, you have won before you have started."

Stephanie's Ponytail book
#1
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.

Not Your Typical Dragon book
#2
Not Your Typical Dragon
Written by Dan Bar-el and illustrated by Tim Bowers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

When Crispin Blaze turns 7 years old, he's expected to breathe fire like all the other dragons, but instead of fire, he breathes a host of most unusual things. By the illustrator of Dream Big, Little Pig by Kristi Yamaguchi.

Absolutely Almost book
#3
Absolutely Almost
Written by Lisa Graff
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This book has such a powerful message! The babysitter does a fabulous job helping Albie realize his talents and gain confidence in himself. Albie is a refreshing character who you instantly love--not because he's special or super talented, but because he has learned to love himself and is genuine.

Ten-year-old Albie has never been the smartest, tallest, most athletic, greatest artist, or most musical in his class, as his parents keep reminding him, but new nanny Calista helps him uncover his strengths and take pride in himself. Simultaneous eBook.

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon book
#4
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
Written by Patty Lovell and illustrated by David Catrow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Even when the class bully at her new school makes fun of her, Molly remembers what her grandmother told her and she feels good about herself.

The Crown on Your Head book
#5
The Crown on Your Head
Written and illustrated by Nancy Tillman
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Lemony Snickers

This is a beautiful book from an amazing author and illustrator with four New York Times bestsellers. The message in the book is heartwarming and powerful: every little one is special and unique and always will be, even as they grow and change. Children need to be told they are loved every day, and this book is a great way to reinforce that message while admiring together the illustrations and a variety of animals and settings. Every child should feel like a queen or a king and recognize their potential.

Celebrates each child's unique individuality, symbolized by a crown that each are born with and which will always be there.

Chrysanthemum book
#6
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....

Calvin Can't Fly book
#7
Calvin Can't Fly
Written by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Keith Bendis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Although a young starling chooses to read books when his cousins are learning to fly, the knowledge he acquires comes in handy when a hurricane threatens the flock's migration.

Horton Halfpott book
#8
Horton Halfpott
Written and illustrated by Tom Angleberger
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Tom Angleberger’s farcical middle-grade mystery begins when M’Lady Luggertuck loosens her corset (it has never been loosened before!), thereby setting off a chain of events in which all the strict rules of Smugwick Manor are abandoned. When, as a result of “the Loosening,” the precious family heirloom, the Luggertuck Lump (quite literally a lump), goes missing, the Luggertucks look for someone to blame. Is it Horton Halfpott, the good-natured but lowly kitchen boy who can’t tell a lie? Or one of the many colorful cast members in this romp of a mystery that combines supreme silliness with a tale of a young hero with heart.

Spoon book
#9
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!

The Trumpet of the Swan book
#10
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?

Giraffes Can't Dance book
#11
Giraffes Can't Dance
Written by Giles Andreae and illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Gerald the giraffe is too clumsy to dance with all the other animals at the Jungle Dance, until he finds the right music. On board pages.

Amazing Grace book
#12
Amazing Grace
Written by Mary Hoffman and illustrated by Caroline Binch
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

A beautiful book about being yourself and having the confidence to know you can accomplish anything you set your mind to if you're willing to work at it. Grace's mother and grandmother are wonderful examples and provide Grace with the encouragement and perspective she needs as she deals with adversity and show the power of wisdom shared through generations. The illustrations are beautiful as well, and the light touching on diversity is powerful without overwhelming the other equally powerful messages in the story.

Although a classmate says that she cannot play Peter Pan in the school play because she is black, Grace discovers that she can do anything she sets her mind to do.

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut book
#13
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut
Written by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Gordon C. James
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Named one of the best books of 2017 by NPR, the Huffington Post , Publishers Weekly , Kirkus Reviews , the Los Angeles Times , the Boston Globe , the Horn Book Magazine , the News & Observer , BookPage , Chicago Public Library, and more The barbershop is where the magic happens. Boys go in as lumps of clay and, with princely robes draped around their shoulders, a dab of cool shaving cream on their foreheads, and a slow, steady cut, they become royalty. That crisp yet subtle line makes boys sharper, more visible, more aware of every great thing that could happen to them when they look good: lesser grades turn into As; girls take notice; even a mother’s hug gets a little tighter. Everyone notices. A fresh cut makes boys fly. This rhythmic, read-aloud title is an unbridled celebration of the self-esteem, confidence, and swagger boys feel when they leave the barber’s chair—a tradition that places on their heads a figurative crown, beaming with jewels, that confirms their brilliance and worth and helps them not only love and accept themselves but also take a giant step toward caring how they present themselves to the world. The fresh cuts. That’s where it all begins. Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut is a high-spirited, engaging salute to the beautiful, raw, assured humanity of black boys and how they see themselves when they approve of their reflections in the mirror.

Willow book
#14
Willow
Written by Rosemarie Brennan, Denise Brennan-Nelson and illustrated by Cyd Moore
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

In Miss Hawthorn's art class, neatness, conformity, and imitation are encouraged, but when Willow brings imagination and creativity to her projects, even straight-laced Miss Hawthorn is influenced.

Dear Girl, book
#15
Dear Girl,
Written by Paris Rosenthal, Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Holly Hatam
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Ballerino Nate book
#16
Ballerino Nate
Written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and illustrated by R.W. Alley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

After seeing a ballet performance, Nate decides he wants to learn ballet but he has doubts when his brother Ben tells him that only girls can be ballerinas.

Exclamation Mark book
#17
Exclamation Mark
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A punctuation mark feels bad that he doesn't fit in with the others until a friend reveals the possibilities that exist when differences are accepted.

You're Here for a Reason book
#18
You're Here for a Reason
Written and illustrated by Nancy Tillman
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Goodfather

Beautiful rhyming makes a playful tale of a few very important lessons: each of us matters, and don't lose hope. Even when things seem to go wrong good things can happen! The playful illustrations are sure to hold the attention of young readers and ensure these important messages are heard.

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.

The Story of Ferdinand book
#19
The Story of Ferdinand
Written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A true classic with a timeless message! All the other bulls run, jump, and butt their heads together in fights. Ferdinand, on the other hand, would rather sit and smell the flowers. So what will happen when Ferdinand is picked for the bullfights in Madrid? The Story of Ferdinand has inspired, enchanted, and provoked readers ever since it was first published in 1936 for its message of nonviolence and pacifism. In WWII times, Adolf Hitler ordered the book burned in Nazi Germany, while Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, granted it privileged status as the only non-communist children’s book allowed in Poland. The preeminent leader of Indian nationalism and civil rights, Mahatma Gandhi—whose nonviolent and pacifistic practices went on to inspire Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.—even called it his favorite book. The story was adapted by Walt Disney into a short animated film entitled Ferdinand the Bull in 1938. Ferdinand the Bull won the 1938 Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons).

I Like Me! book
#20
I Like Me!
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I absolutely love the text in this book, with an overall message of self-love. It does a great job of talking through specific things we can do to love and appreciate ourselves, like self-care, positive affirmations, and being kind to yourself. The illustrations aren't personally my favorite, but I think the text makes up for them!

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
#21
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.

Elmer book
#22
Elmer
Written and illustrated by David McKee
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

"McKee's gentle humor and love of irony are in full force in this celebration of individuality and laughter." —Publishers Weekly This padded board book has a soft, padded cover and rounded edges, perfect to share with the smallest readers. Elmer the elephant is bright-colored patchwork all over. No wonder the other elephants laugh at him! If he were ordinary elephant color, the others might stop laughing. That would make Elmer feel better, wouldn't it? David McKee's comical fable about everyone’s favorite patchwork elephant teaches readers to be themselves and celebrates the power of laughter.

The Little Engine That Could book
#23
The Little Engine That Could
Written by Watty Piper and illustrated by Doris Hauman, George Hauman
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

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

A classic story now in a lap-book format has been slightly abridged and features the famous illustrations from the original edition that will keep toddlers cheering on the little blue engine as she continues chugging along.

I'm Gonna Like Me book
#24
I'm Gonna Like Me
Written by Jamie Lee Curtis and illustrated by Laura Cornell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Celebrate liking yourself! Through alternating points of view, a girl's and a boy's, Jamie Lee Curtis's triumphant text and Laura Cornell's lively artwork show kids that the key to feeling good is liking yourself because you are you. Like the duo's first New York Times best-seller, Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day, this is an inspired book to rejoice in and share. I'm Gonna Like Me will have kids letting off some self-esteem in no time!

I Like Myself! book
#25
I Like Myself!
Written by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by David Catrow
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

High on energy and imagination, this ode to self-esteem encourages kids to appreciate everything about themselves—inside and out. Messy hair? Beaver breath? So what! Here's a little girl who knows what really matters.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.