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Self-acceptance: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about self-acceptance?

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

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

When it comes to children’s stories about self-acceptance, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great to popular sellers like Wonder to some of our favorite hidden gems like Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon.

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

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Top 10 Books About Self-acceptance

#1
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Wonder
Written by R. J. Palacio
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

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

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#2
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If Only I Had a Green Nose
Written by Max Lucado & illustrated by Sergio Martinez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A green nose. How silly, thought Punchinello. It wouldn’t make him faster, stronger, or even smarter. It would only make him greener–and make him look just like all the other Wemmicks! Why would he want that when he knows Eli made each of them different for a reason?

But when Punchinello stops visiting Eli regularly, a painted nose somehow doesn’t seem as foolish anymore. Now more than ever, Punchinello needs to hear his maker say, “I’ll always help you be who I made you to be.”

Just like Punchinello, we all want to fit in. To be accepted by the crowd. But at times that may mean we either have to look and act like others–or risk being rejected.

Punchinello’s hard-earned lesson shows us how important it is to be who we were created to be, and why that matters. So let this wonderful tale help you remember two things: that you were made unique for a reason, and that there is one who will always help you be you–wonderfully you.

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#3
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Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
Written by Patty Lovell & illustrated by David Catrow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

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#4
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Not Your Typical Dragon
Written by Dan Bar-el & 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.

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#5
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The Monster Who Lost His Mean
Written by Tiffany Strelitz Haber & illustrated by Kirstie Edmunds
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Teased by the other monsters for being nice instead of mean, Onster prefers playing with children and helping them with their chores to frightening them.

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#6
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Little Juniper Makes It BIG
Written & 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.

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#7
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Giant Tess
Written & illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Internationally acclaimed and bestselling author-illustrator Dan Yaccarino presents a larger than life picture book about a girl with a heart as giant as she is. Tess has a BIG problem. She’s a giant with an enormous wish to be like everyone else in the city of Myth-hattan. When she gives up on ever fitting in, she meets a friend just her size, and the two team up for a daring rescue. Can these misfits save the day—and the big city parade? This reassuring and heartwarming tale will empower young readers struggling to find acceptance, and it reminds us that there’s a hero within every one of us.

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#8
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You're Here for a Reason
Written & 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.”

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#9
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Dear Girl,
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal & 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.

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#10
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Sulwe
Written by Lupita Nyong'o & illustrated by Vashti Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From Academy Award–winning actress Lupita Nyong’o comes a powerful, moving picture book about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within.

Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.

In this stunning debut picture book, actress Lupita Nyong’o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty.

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Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Self-acceptance and...

Books About Self-acceptance and Kindness

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

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.

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The Monster Who Lost His Mean
Written by Tiffany Strelitz Haber & illustrated by Kirstie Edmunds
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Teased by the other monsters for being nice instead of mean, Onster prefers playing with children and helping them with their chores to frightening them.

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Add to list
You're Here for a Reason
Written & 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.”

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Honorable Mentions
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  1. Fantastic You - There’s one special person you get to spend your whole life with: YOU! Which means there’s no one you should take better care of! When you cheer yourself on and cheer yourself up, you make the world a happier place. Life is amazing when you share it with the people you love: family, friends, and always with YOU! Fantastic You shows readers how to develop and nurture a loving and positive relationship with themselves. Kids will learn that self-care includes positive self-talk and self-compassion for a happy, self-empowered life.

  2. It's Okay to Be a Unicorn! - An inspiring picture book, Jason Tharp’s It’s Okay To Be A Unicorn features a unicorn pretending to be a horse―until he learns to embrace his true self. Cornelius J. Sparklesteed is known among all the other horses in Hoofington for his beautiful and creative handmade hats. But Cornelius is hiding a secret under his own tall, pointy hat: He’s really a unicorn. Hoofington is a friendly place, but its horses pass on lots of mean rumors about unicorns. When Cornelius is chosen to perform for this year’s Hoofapalooza, will he find the courage to show everyone his unicorniness? It’s Okay To Be A Unicorn is an inspiring story about the rainbow magic of kindness.

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Books About Self-acceptance and Confidence

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Dear Girl,
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal & 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.

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Zero
Written & illustrated by Kathryn Otoshi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Follow up to the award winning book, “ONE”, a number called ZERO wonders, “How does a number worth nothing become something?” The story of ZERO’s search to find value in herself and in othersTopics covering: - Body Issues & appearance - Finding value in yourself and developing character - Working with others/Teamwork/Developing social skills - Counting/Math - CourageZero is a big round number. When she looks at herself, she just sees a hole right in her center. Every day she watches the other numbers line up to count: “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 . . . !” “Those numbers have value. That’s why they count,” she thinks. But how could a number worth nothing become something? Zero feels empty inside. She watches One having fun with the other numbers. One has bold strokes and squared corners. Zero is big and round with no corners at all. “If I were like One, then Ican count too,” she thinks. So she pushes and pulls, stretches and straightens, forces and flattens herself, but in the end she realizes that she can only be Zero. As budding young readers learn about numbers and counting, they are also introduced to accepting different body types, developing social skills and character, and learning what it means to find value in yourself and in others.

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Little Juniper Makes It BIG
Written & 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.

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Honorable Mentions
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  1. 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.

  2. Dear Boy, - The follow-up picture book to the #1 New York Times bestseller Dear Girl, by beloved children’s book author Amy Krouse Rosenthal and her daughter, Paris Rosenthal Paris Rosenthal teams up with her father, Jason Rosenthal, the author of the Modern Love article “My Wife Said You May Want to Marry Me,” to bring you the heartwarming and inspirational Dear Boy,. Dear Boy, is an open love letter to the special boy in your life. Boys, too, need a gentle reminder that they are cool, clever, compassionate, and one of a kind. With the same tenderness as Dear Girl,, Paris and Jason’s charming text and Holly Hatam’s stunning illustrations will make any boy reading this book feel that he’s amazing just the way he is—whether he’s offering a helping hand, singing in a choir, or reaching for the stars! …be kind …always trust magic …and pursue your dreams.

  3. I Believe I Can - From the New York Times bestselling creators of I Am Enough comes an empowering follow-up that celebrates every child’s limitless potential. I Believe I Can is an affirmation for boys and girls of every background to love and believe in themselves. Actress and activist Grace Byers and artist Keturah A. Bobo return with another gorgeously illustrated new classic that’s the perfect gift for baby showers, birthdays, or just for reading at home again and again. My presence matters in this world. I know I can do anything, if only I believe I can.

Books About Self-acceptance and School

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

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

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The Boy Who Grew Flowers
Written by Jennifer Wojtowicz & illustrated by Steve Adams
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Rink is a very unusual boy who grows beautiful flowers all over his body whenever the moon is full. In town and at school, Rink and his family are treated as outcasts although no-one knows his strange botanical secret. But one day a new girl arrives at sc

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Iced Out
Written by CK Smouha & illustrated by Isabella Bunnell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Wilfred Walrus and Neville Narwhal are the only kids in Miss Blubber’s class who are not seals. Life is tough being the odd ones out - lunchtimes and football matches and school photos all present challenges to the two outliers. And they don’t even like each other very much! When Betty Beluga joins the class, everything changes. Betty is smart and independent and amazing at football. As a friendship forms, Betty helps the two boys to recognise that being different isn’t always a bad thing! A warm, funny tale about friendship and fitting in that school-aged children are sure to identify with. Isabella Bunnell’s joyous watercolour illustrations are complimented by luxuriant packaging.

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Honorable Mentions
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  1. All My Stripes - Zane rushes home to tell his mother about problems he faced during his school day, and she reminds him that while others may only see his “autism stripe,” he has stripes for honesty, caring, and much more.

  2. Heidi Heckelbeck Gets Glasses - Heidi Heckelbeck sees things differently in this whimsically witchy chapter book. </b> <p/>When her friend Lucy Lancaster gets glasses, Heidi notices all the attention Lucy gets and decides that she, too, needs a new look. In order to get glasses, Heidi pretends that she has trouble seeing. All goes as planned and Heidi gets a cool pair of glasses–but when she puts them on there’s just one problem: She can’t see a thing! Heidi walks around with fuzzy vision and makes many messes until she realizes that she doesn’t need a pair of glasses to make her special.<br> With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Heidi Heckelbeck chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.

  3. Gracefully Grayson - "Tenderly and courageously told, Gracefully Grayson is a small miracle of a book. Its story is so compelling I found myself holding my breath as I read it and so intimate I felt as if what was happening to Grayson was happening to me. Thank you, Ami Polonsky, for creating this memorable character who will open hearts and minds and very possibly be the miracle that changes lives." -James Howe, award-winning and best-selling author of The Misfits

  4. Girl Who Could Fly - You just can't keep a good girl down . . . unless you use the proper methods.

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Books About Self-acceptance and Animals

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Not Your Typical Dragon
Written by Dan Bar-el & 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.

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Just a Duck?
Written & illustrated by Carin Bramsen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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?

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Extraordinary Jane
Written & illustrated by Hannah Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Jane the dog doesn’t have a unique talent in the circus like the rest of her family, until the ringmaster discovers what is truly special about her

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  1. Thelma the Unicorn - Thelma dreams of being a glamorous unicorn. Then in a rare pink and glitter-filled moment of fate, Thelma’s wish comes true. She rises to instant international stardom, but at an unexpected cost. After a while, Thelma realizes that she was happier as her ordinary, sparkle-free self. So she ditches her horn, scrubs off her sparkles, and returns home, where her best friend is waiting for her with a hug. From award-winning author Aaron Blabey comes this joyful book about learning to love who you are…even if you don’t have sparkles.

  2. Carnivores - The lion is king of the jungle!<br>The great white shark is sovereign of the seas!<br>The timber wolf is emperor of the forests!

  3. Jackalope - A jackrabbit who wishes to be feared asks his fairy godrabbit for horns and becomes the first jackalope, but there’s one condition: he must not tell lies. 75,000 first printing.

  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?

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Books About Self-acceptance and Diversity

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Sulwe
Written by Lupita Nyong'o & illustrated by Vashti Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From Academy Award–winning actress Lupita Nyong’o comes a powerful, moving picture book about colorism, self-esteem, and learning that true beauty comes from within.

Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.

In this stunning debut picture book, actress Lupita Nyong’o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty.

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The Skin You Live in
Written by Michael Tyler and David Lee Csicsko & illustrated by David Lee Csicsko
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

With the ease and simplicity of a nursery rhyme, this lively story delivers an important message of social acceptance to young readers. Themes associated with child development and social harmony, such as friendship, acceptance, self-esteem, and diversity are promoted in simple and straightforward prose. Vivid illustrations of children’s activities for all cultures, such as swimming in the ocean, hugging, catching butterflies, and eating birthday cake are also provided. This delightful picturebook offers a wonderful venue through which parents and teachers can discuss important social concepts with their children.

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You Matter
Written & illustrated by Christian Robinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

They All Saw a Cat meets The Important Book in this sensitive and impactful picture book about seeing the world from different points of view by Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Honoree Christian Robinson.

In this full, bright, and beautiful picture book, many different perspectives around the world are deftly and empathetically explored—from a pair of bird-watchers to the pigeons they’re feeding. Young readers will be drawn into the luminous illustrations inviting them to engage with the world in a new way and see how everyone is connected, and that everyone matters.

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  1. Mabel: A Mermaid Fable - A lovely and laugh-out-loud picture book from the award-winning author of Rude Cakes and Most Marshmallows. A silly read-aloud tale for kids about being yourself! Mabel isn’t like the other mermaids. Lucky isn’t like the other octopuses. But when they find each other, they discover that true friendship isn’t about how you look, and that sometimes what we are searching for is right under our noses. The inimitable Rowboat Watkins is back with another humorous tale about being true to yourself. • A delightful, inspiring read-aloud book for toddlers that celebrates gender diversity and difference • Stylish, accessible art brings this story of being true to yourself to hilarious life. • Rowboat Watkins is a 2010 Sendak Fellow and Ezra Jack Keats honoree. Young readers of Julian Is a Mermaid, Mary Wears What She Wants, and Exclamation Mark will find much to love in this tale that celebrates individuality and acceptance.

  2. Genesis Begins Again - This deeply sensitive and powerful debut novel tells the story of a thirteen-year-old who must overcome internalized racism and a verbally abusive family to finally learn to love herself. There are ninety-six things Genesis hates about herself. She knows the exact number because she keeps a list. Like #95: Because her skin is so dark, people call her charcoal and eggplant—even her own family. And #61: Because her family is always being put out of their house, belongings laid out on the sidewalk for the world to see. When your dad is a gambling addict and loses the rent money every month, eviction is a regular occurrence. What’s not so regular is that this time they all don’t have a place to crash, so Genesis and her mom have to stay with her grandma. It’s not that Genesis doesn’t like her grandma, but she and Mom always fight—Grandma haranguing Mom to leave Dad, that she should have gone back to school, that if she’d married a lighter skinned man none of this would be happening, and on and on and on. But things aren’t all bad. Genesis actually likes her new school; she’s made a couple friends, her choir teacher says she has real talent, and she even encourages Genesis to join the talent show. But how can Genesis believe anything her teacher says when her dad tells her the exact opposite? How can she stand up in front of all those people with her dark, dark skin knowing even her own family thinks lesser of her because of it? Why, why, why won’t the lemon or yogurt or fancy creams lighten her skin like they’re supposed to? And when Genesis reaches #100 on the list of things she hates about herself, will she continue on, or can she find the strength to begin again?

  3. Brown Sugar Babe - When a little girl has doubts about the color of her skin, her mother shows her all the wonderful, beautiful things brown can be! This message of self-love and acceptance uses rich, dreamy illustrations to celebrate the color using all the senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing.

  4. Yes We Are - A boy confides in a friend that he doesn t know what to say when he’s teased for having two dads, and when kids say that they’re not a real family. In their conversation, his friend helps him see how her family (with a mom and a dad) isn’t all that different from his: they both have parents who love them, and they both love their parents. And it’s love that makes a family.

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Books About Self-acceptance and Feelings And Emotions

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I Am Enough
Written by Grace Byers & illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A New York Times bestseller and Goodreads Choice Awards picture book winner!

This is a gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another—from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo.

This is the perfect gift for mothers and daughters, baby showers, and graduation.

We are all here for a purpose. We are more than enough. We just need to believe it.

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Rock What Ya Got
Written by Samantha Berger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
A child reminds everyone to embrace their own special something in this joyful expression of self-love.
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Giraffe Problems
Written by Jory John & illustrated by Lane Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Can you guess what’s making this giraffe self-conscious? Could it be . . . HIS ENORMOUS NECK?? Yes, it’s exactly that–how on earth did you figure it out? Cyrus the giraffe can’t understand why his neck is as long and bendy and, well, ridiculous as it is. No other animal has a neck this absurd. He’s tried disguising it, dressing it up, strategically hiding it behind bushes–honestly, anything you can think of, he’s tried. Just when he has exhausted his neck-hiding options and is about to throw in the towel, a turtle swoops in (well, ambles in, very slowly) and helps him understand that his neck has a purpose, and looks excellent in a bow tie.

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Honorable Mentions
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  1. How to Make Friends with the Sea - Tanya Guerrero's How to Make Friends with the Sea is a middle grade debut novel set in the Philippines about a young boy's challenges with anxiety while his mother fosters an orphaned child with a facial anomaly. Pablo is homesick. He's only twelve years old, but he's lived in more countries than he can count. After his parents divorced, he and his mother have moved from place to place for years, never settling anywhere long enough to call it home. And along the way, Pablo has collected more and more fears: of dirt, of germs, and most of all, of the ocean. Now they're living in the Philippines, and his mother, a zoologist who works at a local wildlife refuge, is too busy saving animals to notice that Pablo might need saving, too. Then his mother takes in Chiqui, an orphaned girl with a cleft lip--and Pablo finds that through being strong for Chiqui, his own fears don't seem so scary. He might even find the courage to face his biggest fear of all...and learn how to make friends with the sea.

  2. Perfectly Norman - This empowering title in the Big Bright Feelings series is about embracing and celebrating what makes you unique. Norman had always been perfectly normal . . . until one day, he grows a pair of wings! Afraid of what people will think, Norman covers them up with a big coat. Can Norman find the courage to be himself? While we all might feel afraid about standing out, Perfectly Norman shows that there's nothing better than being yourself! The Big Bright Feelings picture books provide kid-friendly entry points into emotional intelligence topics--from being true to yourself, to worrying, to anger management, to making friends. These topics can be difficult to talk about. But these books act as sensitive and reassuring springboards for conversations about mental and emotional health, positive self-image, building self-confidence, and managing feelings. Read all the books in the Big Bright Feelings series!
    Perfectly Norman
    Ruby Finds a Worry
    Ravi's Roar
    Meesha Makes Friends

  3. Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great - **Celebrate 45 years of Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great! **Part of the classic Fudge series from Judy Blume, bestselling author of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Who is Sheila Tubman? Even Sheila isn’t sure. Sometimesshe feels like confident Sheila the Great, and other timesshe’s secret Sheila, who’s afraid of spiders, swimming,and, most of all, dogs. When her family decides to leavethe city for a summer in the country, Sheila will haveto suffer everything from long-eared dogs to swimminglessons to creepy spiders. That’s enough to drive a city girlnuts! If she survives at all, Sheila may be forced to admitthat she’s no supergirl. “As a kid, Judy Blume was my favorite author, and _Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing_ was my favorite book.”—Jeff Kinney, author of the bestselling Wimpy Kid series Love Fudge, Peter, and Sheila? Read all these books featuring your favorite characters:
    Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
    Superfudge

    Fudge-a-Mania
    Double Fudge 

  4. Monster Like Me - There are trolls, goblins, and witches. Which kind of monster is Sophie?

Books About Self-acceptance and Being Yourself

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The Curvy Tree
Written by Chris Colfer & illustrated by Brandon Dorman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

The debut picture book from #1 New York Times bestselling author Chris Colfer Once upon a time, there was a little girl who didn’t quite fit in. When she runs away, she happens upon a curvy tree who helps her understand the importance of being different! This picture book stands alone, but also plays an important role in the Land of Stories series–making this a must-have book for fans and new readers alike!

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Bear and Duck
Written by Katy Hudson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

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World Needs Who You Were Made to Be
Written by Joanna Gaines & illustrated by Julianna Swaney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The World Needs Who You Were Made to Be, the second children’s book by New York Times bestselling author Joanna Gaines, illustrated by Julianna Swaney, celebrates how creativity and acceptance can come together to make for a bright and beautiful adventure. The book follows a group of children as they each build their very own hot-air balloons. As the kids work together, leaning into their own skills and processes, to fill the sky with beautiful colors, we discover that the same is true for life—it’s more beautiful and vibrant when our differences are celebrated.

Together with Joanna, you and your kids will take a journey of growth and imagination as you learn in full color that:

  • We should celebrate every child's one-of-a-kind strengths as well as teamwork and acceptance of differences
  • Everything can be made more beautiful when we share our talents and abilities
  • We should lend a helping hand and do our best to take care of one another

The World Needs Who You Were Made to Be is a vibrant picture book perfect for:

  • Ages 4-8
  • Parents, libraries, classroom story times, and discussions about diversity and being a good human being
  • Households that enjoy watching Chip and Joanna on Magnolia Network and HGTV's *Fixer Upper*

With plenty of pink, a bounty of blue, orange and green and yellow too, this vibrant hot-air balloon adventure celebrates every child and teaches kids that we are in this together. “You’re one of a kind, and it’s so clear to see: The world needs who you were made to be.”

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  1. She Wanted to Be Haunted - With whimsical, rhyming stanzas, She Wanted to be Haunted offers a delightful, lyrical twist on the ever-important question of how to be your very best self. Clarissa the cottage is adorable . . . bright pink, with windows that wink, and flowers growing all around. But Clarissa doesn’t want to be adorable–being cute is boring. Couldn’t she be like her father, a creepy castle home to vampires and crypts? Or like her mother, a witch’s hut full of spells and smells? If only she were haunted! Then she’d be less ordinary . . . What will it take for Clarissa to go from adorable to horrible?

  2. Freckleface Strawberry - Freckleface Strawberry is just like everyone else, except that she has red hair and freckles but when she tries to hide who she is, she learns about true friendship and accepting yourself just as you are.

  3. Short - In this heartwarming and funny novel by the beloved author of “Counting by 7s, Julia grows into her sense of self while playing a Munchkin in a summer stock theater production of “The Wizard of Oz”.

Books About Self-acceptance and Self-esteem

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Giant Tess
Written & illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Internationally acclaimed and bestselling author-illustrator Dan Yaccarino presents a larger than life picture book about a girl with a heart as giant as she is. Tess has a BIG problem. She’s a giant with an enormous wish to be like everyone else in the city of Myth-hattan. When she gives up on ever fitting in, she meets a friend just her size, and the two team up for a daring rescue. Can these misfits save the day—and the big city parade? This reassuring and heartwarming tale will empower young readers struggling to find acceptance, and it reminds us that there’s a hero within every one of us.

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The Mixed-Up Chameleon
Written & illustrated by Eric Carle
Select type book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

There once was a small green chameleon that wished to be handsome like a flamingo, smart like a fox, and funny like a seal. But with each transformation in size, shape, and color, the chameleon learns that maybe being yourself is best of all!

The Mixed-Up Chameleon is sure to delight little readers with its interactive art, funny antics, and heartwarming message.

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Girl Who Fell Out of the Sky
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

In The Girl Who Fell Out of the Sky--the conclusion to the fantasy adventure series that began with the New York Times bestseller The Girl Who Could Fly--Victoria Forester shows readers that life is always exceptional, and abilities come in many forms.

What happens when the girl who could fly can't fly anymore?

Piper McCloud's ability to fly has disappeared, perhaps the result of some dark spell put on her, or perhaps because her ability has simply vanished forever. There is a worldwide calamity that Piper, Conrad, and their exceptional friends must tackle to save the planet, but Piper is left behind. If she can't fly, then what use is she?

Piper learns she can't do a lot of things--cook, clean, and help Ma around the house, among them. She feels more helpless than ever. What is she good at? How will she ever believe in herself again?

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  1. The Patch - Instead of the boring, real reason she is wearing an eye patch and glasses, Becca gives her friends at school an imaginative, wild explanation for her new fashion accessory.

  2. Pink! - When Patrick wakes up one day to find he has inexplicably turned bright pink, he sees red: Whoever heard of a pink penguin? he cries. And boys can’t be pink! After too much teasing, he’s had enough. I don’t fit in here anymore, he tells his parents. I’m going to Africa to see the flamingos. But poor Patrick doesn’t fit in with them, either: He can’t stand on one leg, skim the water for food, or fly off with the rest of the flock. So he returns home–and everyone is happy to see him! In fact, his friends are green with envy over his exotic trip. Ends up being hot pink is pretty cool!

  3. Child of Glass - A story about difference, exclusion, and ultimately self-acceptance, Child of Glass explores the interplay between inner and outer and the journey we have to go on to become ourselves. Child of Glass is about Gisele, a fragile, strong, transparent girl who denounces the meanness that can mark life in the world. In sparse, poetic language that all of us, however young or old, can understand, Child of Glass reminds us of our birthright to become ourselves. Freedom isn’t about accepting what is; it’s about asking the questions and taking the actions that allow us to be at home in the world. Beautifully illustrated in a painterly, drawn, and collaged style, this is a story of layers, textures, and transparencies in every sense. It is also a book that explores the possibilities of form to render idea, thereby providing connective tissue between the world of the book and life in the world. “To draw is to tell. Everyone who feels emotion has something to tell. Emotions keep on changing, growing, as children do. My drawings and stories change with them.” So says Beatrice Alemagna, who was born in Bologna, Italy, in 1973. Alemagna has written and illustrated dozens of children’s books, which have received numerous awards all over the world and have been translated into fourteen languages. She has also had solo exhibitions in France, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Sweden, and Japan. Alemagna’s The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy is also published by Enchanted Lion.

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