Discover

Company

Self-discovery: Books For Kids

This list of the best kids books about self-discovery is sure to include a new favorite for the voracious young reader in your life! From The Pout-Pout Fish to Isabella there's something here for everyone's tastes. Do you have a favorite book about self-discovery? Let us know!

Top 10 Books About Self-discovery

The Pout-Pout Fish book
#1
The Pout-Pout Fish
Written by Deborah Diesen and illustrated by Dan Hanna
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

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

Ender's Game book
#2
Ender's Game
Written by Orson Scott Card
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 12-16

A veteran of years of simulated war games, Ender believes he is engaged in one more computer war game when in truth he is commanding the last fleet of Earth against an alien race seeking the complete destruction of Earth.

A Bad Case of Stripes book
#3
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.

Little You book
#4
Little You
Written by Richard Van Camp
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

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!

Malala's Magic Pencil book
#5
Malala's Magic Pencil
Written by Malala Yousafzai and illustrated by Kerascoet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Malala's first picture book will inspire young readers everywhere to find the magic all around them. As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy, to erase the smell of garbage from her city, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as she grew older, Malala saw that there were more important things to wish for. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true. This beautifully illustrated volume tells Malala's story for a younger audience and shows them the worldview that allowed Malala to hold on to hope even in the most difficult of times.

Antoinette book
#6
Antoinette
Written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Christian Robinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

"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"--

Growing Season book
#7
Growing Season
Written and illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

El and Jo are the smallest students in class--and best friends, too. But in springtime, something BIG happens: Jo starts growing like a weed . . . and El doesn't. When their teacher asks every child to pick a plant to care for over the summer, poor El ends up with a tiny, flowerless aster. But slowly, the aster blooms--and so does El! A sweet picture book about the joys and challenges of growing up.

Auntie Claus Deluxe Edition book
#8
Auntie Claus Deluxe Edition
Written and illustrated by Elise Primavera
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A deluxe gift edition of the modern Christmas classic, featuring an access code to a printable Christmas party kit, plus downloadable audio read by Academy Award-winning actress Ellen Burstyn! Auntie Claus is just another eccentric New Yorker—or is she? Young Sophie has often wondered about her unusual great-aunt, Auntie Claus. She lives in penthouse 25C at the Bing Cherry Hotel and is so curioso! After all, Auntie Claus serves Christmas cookies all year long and her tree is always the best-decorated in the city. And then there's her annual "business trip," right around the holidays. This year Sophie is determined to get to the bottom of Auntie Claus's mysterious ways. Put on your mittens and bundle up for an adventure beyond your wildest dreams. Ho, ho, ho!

How to Catch a Star book
#9
How to Catch a Star
Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

From the illustrator of the #1 smash hit The Day the Crayons Quit comes a story about wishing, persevering, and reaching for the stars. Once there was a boy, and that boy loved stars very much. So much so that he decided to catch one of his very own. But how? Waiting for them to grow tired from being up in the sky all night doesn’t work. Climbing to the top of the tallest tree? No, not tall enough. The boy has a rocket ship . . . but it is made of paper and doesn’t fly well at all. Finally, just when the boy is ready to give up, he learns that sometimes things aren’t where, or what, we expect them to be. Oliver Jeffers offers a simple, childlike tale of reaching for the stars, and emerging with a friend.

Leaping Lemmings! book
#10
Leaping Lemmings!
Written by John Briggs and illustrated by Nicola Slater
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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."

Books About Self-discovery 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.

Leaping Lemmings! book
#2
Leaping Lemmings!
Written by John Briggs and illustrated by Nicola Slater
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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."

There's Only One You book
#3
There's Only One You
Written by Deborah Hembrook, Kathryn Heling and illustrated by Rosie Butcher
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

"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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Sadie and the Silver Shoes - 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.

  2. That's What Wings Are For - There are three things that all respectable dragons need: strong wings for flying, strong lungs for breathing fire, and strong, shiny scales. But Bluey the Dragon has none of these. Even so, Bluey has other abilities, some of them truly wonderful--if only he can work out what they are! That's What Wings Are For is a touching fable about discovering that thing that you do the best, and finding a way to do it.

  3. It Feels Good to Be Yourself - Some people are boys. Some people are girls. Some people are both, neither, or somewhere in between. This sweet, straightforward exploration of gender identity will give children a fuller understanding of themselves and others. With child-friendly language and vibrant art, It Feels Good to Be Yourself provides young readers and parents alike with the vocabulary to discuss this important topic with sensitivity.

  4. Hey Black Child - 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.

Want to see 7 more children's books about self-discovery and being different?

How about children's books about being different?

Books About Self-discovery and Being Yourself

Little You book
#1
Little You
Written by Richard Van Camp
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

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!

Antoinette book
#2
Antoinette
Written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Christian Robinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

"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"--

Not Quite Narwhal book
#3
Not Quite Narwhal
Written and illustrated by Jessie Sima
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Born deep in the ocean, Kelp is not like the other narwhals and one day, when he spies a creature on land that looks like him, he learns why.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Gloria's Voice - Gloria Steinem is known as a leader of the feminist movement and a trailblazer who fights for equality for all people. This unofficial biography for young readers tells her story, from being a young girl with big dreams to her inspiring travels in India to the launch of Ms. magazine, which gave women a voice. Gloria's message of believing in yourself and following your dreams will inspire a whole new generation.

  2. All of Me - Ari has body-image issues. After a move across the country, his parents work selling and promoting his mother's paintings and sculptures. Ari's bohemian mother needs space to create, and his father is gone for long stretches of time on "sales" trips. Meanwhile, Ari makes new friends: Pick, the gamer; the artsy Jorge, and the troubled Lisa. He is also relentlessly bullied because he's overweight, but he can't tell his parents—they're simply not around enough to listen. After an upsetting incident, Ari's mom suggests he go on a diet, and she gives him a book to help. But the book—and the diet—can’t fix everything. As Ari faces the demise of his parents' marriage, he also feels himself changing, both emotionally and physically. Here is a much-needed story about accepting the imperfect in oneself and in life.

  3. Marc's Mission - 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.

  4. 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.

Want to see 33 more children's books about self-discovery and being yourself?

How about children's books about being yourself?

Books About Self-discovery and Growing Up

Growing Season book
#1
Growing Season
Written and illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

El and Jo are the smallest students in class--and best friends, too. But in springtime, something BIG happens: Jo starts growing like a weed . . . and El doesn't. When their teacher asks every child to pick a plant to care for over the summer, poor El ends up with a tiny, flowerless aster. But slowly, the aster blooms--and so does El! A sweet picture book about the joys and challenges of growing up.

Little Juniper Makes It BIG book
#2
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.

Lola Dutch When I Grow Up book
#3
Lola Dutch When I Grow Up
Written and illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright, Kenneth Wright
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Lola Dutch is always bursting with grand ideas--so of course she has many ideas for what she wants to be when she grows up! She could be a magnificent performer . . . or a daring inventor . . . or a brilliant botanist . . . there are exciting ideas all around! But Lola is too excited--she wants to try EVERYTHING. How will she ever decide what she is destined to become? The curious and creative Lola Dutch is inspired to imagine every way to explore the wonder of her world. And she doesn't have to wait until she grows up! Inspired by their own four gorgeously creative children, Sarah Jane and Kenneth Wright are thrilled to continue this fun series about the unstoppable Lola Dutch, a larger-than-life character perfect for fans of Olivia and Fancy Nancy.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Tender Earth - Laila Levenson has always been the baby of the family, but now with her older siblings, Mira and Krish, leaving home just as she starts secondary school, everything feels like it’s changing. Can the reappearance of Nana Josie’s Protest Book and the spirit it releases in Laila, her friends, and her local community, help her find her own voice and discover what she truly believes in? A powerful chime rings through Laila’s mind, guiding her to walk the footsteps of the past on her way to discover her own future.

  2. Carlos Santana - Discover the childhood story of Carlos Santana in Gary Golio's ""Sound of the Heart, Song of the World"", featuring illustrations by Rudy Gutierrez, the internationally celebrated artist who created the iconic Santana ""Shaman"" CD cover. Carlos Santana grew up surrounded by music. His father, a beloved mariachi performer, teaches his son how to play the violin when he is only six years old. But when Carlos discovers American blues, he is captivated by the raw honesty of the music. Unable to think of anything else, he loses all interest in the violin. When Carlos finally receives his first guitar, his whole life begins to change. From his early exposure to mariachi to his successful fusing of rock, blues, jazz, and Latin influences, here is the childhood story of a legendary musician.

  3. The Happiest Tree: A Story of Growing Up - In this simple and profound picture book, growing up is seen and experienced through the perspective of a gingko tree. Over the years, the gingko tree that resides outside an apartment building has seen many things. When it was ten, sounds of the Rose Piano Class filled the ground floor and whistled through its young branches. At fourteen, a growth spurt year, it met Mr. Artist on the second floor whose muse was the tree itself. As the years continue on, the tree encounters many people in the apartment building making memories. Some are happy, some are sad—they’re all part of growing up. All part of who we will be in the future. This wonderfully emotional story of life and growing up will pull at the heartstrings of readers.

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

Books About Self-discovery and Nature

The World Shines for You book
#1
The World Shines for You
Written by Jeffrey Burton and illustrated by Don Clark
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

A gorgeous keepsake book that shines with emotion and foil on every spread, The World Shines for You is full of illumination and hope—perfect for the youngest readers in your life. There is a tree in the forest There are leaves on the wind There are clouds in the sky There are snowflakes drifting down A simple story connects the world, the seasons, change, and everything that shimmers in life with show-stopping foil, embossing, and spot UV on every page. This artistic and heartwarming first book truly says what every parent wants to share with their little ones: The World Shines for You.

The Stick book
#2
The Stick
Written and illustrated by Clay Rice
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

When a young boy finds a stick on the ground and reads the inspiring words carved into it, his life begins to change until he fulfills lifelong dreams and discovers the truth about giving.

Quiet book
#3
Quiet
Written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In a gorgeous and contemplative new picture book, legendary author-illustrator Tomie dePaola reminds us that mindfulness—being quiet, still, and present with one another—is a very special thing. Everything is in such a hurry, busy as busy can be. The birds are flying so fast, the dragonfly is zooming over the water—even the trees are waving their leaves. So what if we sit here, you next to me…and we can just be?

Honorable Mentions
  1. Off the Track - From the author of To the Lighthouse comes a new adventure for young readers about falling in love with the bush, and with hiking and being in the wild. It's about disconnecting from technology and discovering yourself. Harry's perfect life was straying way off-track. He looked pleadingly at Mum. Surely she could see? Spending an entire weekend tramping around stinking-hot, snake-filled scrub was a horrible mistake. But doing it without a phone? That was just brutal. As it turns out, it was only the beginning ...

  2. Buddha - A nonfiction picture book with full-color illustrations about the life of the Buddha, from award-winning author and illustrator Demi Many centuries ago, in a kingdom in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains, a miraculous child was born to the king and queen. The young prince, Siddhartha, was raised in the greatest luxury, sheltered from all pain and ugliness. But one day Siddhartha left the palace and saw, for the first time, human suffering and death. He knew then that he must relinquish everything-- his family, his wealth, his position-- to discover the Truth of life and death. With only a few humble possessions, he began a remarkable spiritual journey that ended many years later under a bodhi tree. There he finally discovered the Truth and became an Enlightened One, a Buddha. The Buddha taught the Truth and the path to inner peace for forty-five years, attracting thousands of disciples. Today millions of people around the world live by his teachings. Demi's exquisite illustrations, inspired by the paintings and sculptures of several Asian cultures, are layered with meaning; each brush stroke has a special significance. Demi, herself a Buddhist, brings her devotion to the teachings of the Buddha and her vast knowledge of his life to this comprehensive picture-book biography of an extraordinary spiritual leader.

Want to see more children's books about nature?

Books About Self-discovery and Emotions

When I'm Feeling Lonely book
#1
When I'm Feeling Lonely
Written and illustrated by Trace Moroney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

The Feelings Series are beautifully produced picture books that cover different emotional concepts for young children. These fully refreshed editions of the classic The Feeling series are especially designed to help children better understand their feelings and how to identify, manage and express those feelings in an appropriate and acceptable way - both to themselves and others. These books provide an invaluable tool to help build confidence, self-esteem and contribute to a healthy emotional foundation upon which children can thrive.

When I'm Feeling Happy book
#2
When I'm Feeling Happy
Written and illustrated by Trace Moroney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

The Feelings Series are beautifully produced picture books that cover different emotional concepts for young children. The Feeling series is especially designed to help children better understand their feelings and how to identify, manage and express those feelings in an appropriate and acceptable way - both to themselves and others. These books provide an invaluable tool to help build confidence, self-esteem and contribute to a healthy emotional foundation upon which children can thrive.

Some Days book
#3
Some Days
Written by Karen Kaufman Orloff and illustrated by Ziyue Chen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

"Some days are chocolate pudding pie days. Kites up in the sky days. Jumping super high days." This rhyming picture book--from the author of the bestselling I Wanna Iguana series and Miles of Smiles--is a moving, powerful, delightful exploration of a child's shifting feelings. Come along and follow a year in the life of a young boy and girl as they discover their many different and ever-changing emotions, including joy, fear, anger, jealousy, excitement, pride, disappointment, loneliness, and contentment. As children read about "angels in the snow days" as well as "need my mommy now days," they'll begin to understand how to cope with both positive and negative feelings.

Honorable Mentions
  1. When I'm Feeling Disappointed - Feeling disappointed is your brain realising how things really are... not how you wish they were. Talking about feelings teaches children that it is normal to feel sad, or angry, or scared at times. With greater tolerance of painful feelings, children become free to enjoy their world, to feel secure in their abilities, and to be happy.

  2. When Sadness Is at Your Door - In the style of Harold and the Purple Crayon comes a picture-book primer in emotional literacy and mindfulness that suggests we approach the feeling of sadness as if it is our guest. Sadness can be scary and confusing at any age! When we feel sad, especially for long periods of time, it can seem as if the sadness is a part of who we are--an overwhelming, invisible, and scary sensation. In When Sadness Is at Your Door, Eva Eland brilliantly approaches this feeling as if it is a visitor. She gives it a shape and a face, and encourages the reader to give it a name, all of which helps to demystify it and distinguish it from ourselves. She suggests activities to do with it, like sitting quietly, drawing, and going outside for a walk. The beauty of this approach is in the respect the book has for the feeling, and the absence of a narrative that encourages the reader to "get over" it or indicates that it's "bad," both of which are anxiety-producing notions. Simple illustrations that recall the classic style of Crockett Johnson (Harold and the Purple Crayon) invite readers to add their own impressions. Eva Eland's debut picture book is a great primer in mindfulness and emotional literacy, perfect for kids navigating these new feelings--and for adult readers tackling the feelings themselves!

  3. The Happy Book - From the creator of ARCHIE THE DAREDEVIL PENGUIN comes the unique story of two friends who can't escape all the feels. Camper is happy as a clam and Clam is a happy camper. When you live in The Happy Book, the world is full of daisies and sunshine and friendship cakes . . . until your best friend eats the whole cake and doesn't save you one bite. Moving from happiness to sadness and everything in between, Camper and Clam have a hard time finding their way back to happy. But maybe happy isn't the goal--being a good friend is about supporting each other and feeling all the feels together. At once funny and thoughtful, The Happy Book supports social-emotional learning. It's a book to keep young readers company no matter how they're feeling!

  4. When I'm Feeling Scared - The Feelings Series are beautifully produced picture books that cover different emotional concepts for young children. These fully refreshed editions of the classic The Feeling series are especially designed to help children better understand their feelings and how to identify, manage and express those feelings in an appropriate and acceptable way - both to themselves and others. These books provide an invaluable tool to help build confidence, self-esteem and contribute to a healthy emotional foundation upon which children can thrive.

Want to see more children's books about emotions?

Books About Self-discovery and Problem Solving

Malala's Magic Pencil book
#1
Malala's Magic Pencil
Written by Malala Yousafzai and illustrated by Kerascoet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Malala's first picture book will inspire young readers everywhere to find the magic all around them. As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy, to erase the smell of garbage from her city, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as she grew older, Malala saw that there were more important things to wish for. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true. This beautifully illustrated volume tells Malala's story for a younger audience and shows them the worldview that allowed Malala to hold on to hope even in the most difficult of times.

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.

Boonoonoonous Hair book
#3
Boonoonoonous Hair
Written by Olive Senior and illustrated by Laura James
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this picture book, a young black girl learns to love her difficult-to-manage hair. I n this vibrant and exquisitely illustrated picture book, written by Commonwealth Prize-winning Jamaican-Canadian Olive Senior, and with pictures by the acclaimed artist Laura James (the team that created Anna Carries Water), a young girl learns to love her difficult-to-manage, voluminous and boonoonoonous hair.

Honorable Mentions
  1. King Flashypants and the Toys of Terror - Something strange is afoot in Edwinland—King Edwin's arch nemesis Emperor Nurbison isn't acting like himself. He's smiling. He's cheerful. He's even making toys for the peasants! King Edwin knows he must be up to something. But what? Dangerous dolls and dastardly plots await in this latest rib-tickling adventure.

  2. Princess Angelica, Camp Catastrophe - Angelica isn’t a liar. She just loves making up stories. When she goes to sleepaway camp and is mistaken for a princess, she could easily clear up the misunderstanding… but pretending to be royalty is way more fun! When her best friend from home surprises her at camp, Angelica is forced to fess up. Luckily, she also has a talent for repairing things, and when disaster strikes on the girls’ kayaking trip, Jelly has to repair more than just her newfound friendships.

  3. Priscilla and the Hollyhocks - Priscilla is only four years old when her mother is sold to another master. All Priscilla has to remember her mother by are the hollyhocks she planted by the cow pond. At age ten, Priscilla is sold to a Cherokee family and continues her life as a slave. She keeps hope for a better life alive by planting hollyhocks wherever she goes. At last, her forced march along the Trail of Tears brings a chance encounter that leads to her freedom. Includes an author's note with more details about this fascinating true story as well as instructions for making hollyhock dolls.

  4. Bear Needs Help - A lumbering little polar bear has one shoe untied, and he needs some help! Sadly for him, though, the other animals are all too scared of him- the lemmings, rabbits, and seals all run away as he approaches them for assistance. What's Bear going to do? Luckily, two plucky birds are more than happy to help out and offer advice -- though probably not quite in the way that readers anticipate. In this sweet and funny book about asking for help (and receiving it), expectations are flipped in a simple but clever way.

Want to see more children's books about problem solving?

Books About Self-discovery and Friendship

You Should, You Should! book
#1
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.

Bear and Duck book
#2
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.

The Major Eights 2: Scarlet's Big Break book
#3
The Major Eights 2: Scarlet's Big Break
Written by Melody Reed and illustrated by Emilie Pepin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

In book 2 of the Major Eights series, Scarlet goes solo and risks alienating her bandmates. After their Battle of the Bands competition, the girls are famous! Everyone knows who they are now--even strangers recognize them! But the attention starts to go to Scarlet's head, and she decides to sign up for the school's talent show as a solo artist. But what about the Major Eights? Should she really leave the band and her friends behind? With each book told from a different girl's perspective, this series is all about girl power, diversity, and marching to the beat of your own drum!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Confessions of an Imaginary Friend - Jacques Papier has the sneaking suspicion that everyone except his sister Fleur hates him. Teachers ignore him when his hand is raised in class, he is never chosen for sports teams, and his parents often need to be reminded to set a place for him at the dinner table. But he is shocked when he finally learns the truth: He is Fleur’s imaginary friend! When he convinces Fleur to set him free, he begins a surprising and touching, and always funny quest to find himself—to figure out who Jacques Papier truly is, and where he belongs.

  2. 24 Hours in Nowhere - Welcome to Nowhere, Arizona, America's least livable town. For Gus, a bright 13-year-old with dreams of escaping, life there is made even worse by bully Bo Taylor. When Bo tries to force Gus to eat a spiny cactus, Rossi Scott, one of the best racers in Nowhere, rescues him by relinquishing her prized dirt bike. Gus agrees to do anything to get it back--even if it means going into a deadly mine to hunt for gold. A gripping story about friendship, hope, and finding the power within ourselves.

  3. The Year of the Garden - In this prequel to The Year of the Book, join Anna in a year of discovery, new beginnings, friendships, and growth.

  4. Mango Delight - What happens when your BFF becomes your EFF . . . EX-Friend-Forever? Surviving seventh grade is tough-especially when your BFF dumps you, you lose your spot on the track team, and you cost your dad his job. That's the mess Mango's in. THEN her ex-bestie spitefully tricks Mango into auditioning for the school musical and the tables turn: Mango wins the lead role, becomes a YouTube sensation, and attracts the attention of the school's queen bee. But soon Mango is forced to make tough choices about the kind of friend she wants to have . . . and the kind she wants to be.

Want to see 8 more children's books about self-discovery and friendship?

How about children's books about friendship?

Books About Self-discovery and Family

Auntie Claus Deluxe Edition book
#1
Auntie Claus Deluxe Edition
Written and illustrated by Elise Primavera
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A deluxe gift edition of the modern Christmas classic, featuring an access code to a printable Christmas party kit, plus downloadable audio read by Academy Award-winning actress Ellen Burstyn! Auntie Claus is just another eccentric New Yorker—or is she? Young Sophie has often wondered about her unusual great-aunt, Auntie Claus. She lives in penthouse 25C at the Bing Cherry Hotel and is so curioso! After all, Auntie Claus serves Christmas cookies all year long and her tree is always the best-decorated in the city. And then there's her annual "business trip," right around the holidays. This year Sophie is determined to get to the bottom of Auntie Claus's mysterious ways. Put on your mittens and bundle up for an adventure beyond your wildest dreams. Ho, ho, ho!

The Heart of a Boy book
#2
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.

Wish book
#3
Wish
Written and illustrated by Barbara O'Connor
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

A touching story about a girl and her dog, perfect for young fans of A Dog's Purpose Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese has been making the same secret wish every day since fourth grade. She even has a list of all the ways there are to make the wish, such as cutting off the pointed end of a slice of pie and wishing on it as she takes the last bite. But when she is sent to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to live with family she barely knows, it seems unlikely that her wish will ever come true. That is until she meets Wishbone, a skinny stray dog who captures her heart, and Howard, a neighbor boy who proves surprising in lots of ways. Suddenly Charlie is in serious danger of discovering that what she thought she wanted may not be what she needs at all. From award-winning author Barbara O'Connor comes a middle-grade novel about a girl who, with the help of a true-blue friend, a big-hearted aunt and uncle, and the dog of her dreams, unexpectedly learns the true meaning of family in the least likely of places. This title has Common Core connections.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Goodnight Whispers - You are strong. You are brave. You are so incredibly good. On an ordinary night in an ordinary house, a father's ordinary words do something extraordinary. Lulled to sleep by these whispered affirmations, his baby girl grows into a fun-loving child, a confident teen, and then a courageous young woman. As she ventures forth into the world on her own, her father's affectionate affirmations--now carried in memory--bolster her through life's challenges and, like whispers on the night wind, come full circle to strengthen her aging father and young son of her own. With breathtaking illustrations from Spanish artist Dani Torrent, Goodnight Whispers is a heartwarming story about a father's love and the power of affirmation.

  2. Gertie's Leap to Greatness - Gertie Reece Foy is 100% Not-From-Concentrate awesome. She has a daddy who works on an oil rig, a great-aunt who always finds the lowest prices at the Piggly Wiggly, and two loyal best friends. So when her absent mother decides to move away from their small town, Gertie sets out on her greatest mission yet: becoming the best fifth grader in the universe to show her mother exactly what she'll be leaving behind. There's just one problem: Seat-stealing new girl Mary Sue Spivey wants to be the best fifth grader, too. And there is simply not enough room at the top for the two of them.

  3. The Adventures of Lettie Peppercorn - An alchemist peddles a new magical invention—and the key that could unlock Lettie Peppercorn’s family secrets—in this quirky “tale of self-discovery, family, and friendship” (The Independent). Lettie Peppercorn cannot go outside. Ma told her so right before Ma disappeared forever. So Lettie’s house is on stilts, and she is stuck with only the wind and a pigeon for a friend. Nothing exciting has ever happened to her—until the night a strange merchant appears. He claims to be an alchemist—the greatest that ever lived—and he is here to sell Lettie his newest invention. It’s an invention that could change Lettie’s life—and the world forever. An invention called “snow.” But snow is not the only secret he holds. The alchemist knows where Lettie’s Ma is. And Lettie will do anything to get Ma back—even if it means risking her own life. Join the brilliant and resourceful Lettie Peppercorn as she sails across the world to reunite her family and discover the truth about herself.

Want to see more children's books about family?

Books About Self-discovery and Love

You're All Kinds of Wonderful book
#1
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.

What's a Little Noogie Between Friends? book
#2
What's a Little Noogie Between Friends?
Written by Lincoln Peirce
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-12

Big Nate is in a class by himself. This feisty 11-year-old holds the school record for detentions, but that doesn't stop him from dreaming big! It's not easy being Nate Wright. No one recognizes his innate genius superiority and, in fact, he is foiled at every turn by the onerous Mrs. Godfrey. And if that weren't bad enough, his star soccer team loses to a team that had lost sixty games in a row. Adding insult to injury is when he gets up the courage to go to the movies alone while his friends all have dates, and the only seat left is next to the dreaded Gina! Can it get any worse? Oh, no, his long-time crush Jenny is moving to Seattle!

The Amazing Idea of You book
#3
The Amazing Idea of You
Written by Charlotte Sullivan Wild and illustrated by Mary Lundquist
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

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!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Tomorrow Is Waiting - A touching, timeless book about a parent's everlasting love for their child--and all of the potential their child has within. Tonight as you sleep A new day stirs Each kiss goodnight Is a wish for tomorrow... As her baby dreams, a mother imagines everything her child will someday be: independent and imaginative, kind and courageous, a listener and a leader. And each hopeful, heartfelt wish is paired with a kiss, and a promise of her love. Tender and moving, Kisses are Wishes is a modern celebration of the dreams we have for our children for finding their place in the world, and for how they will make it a better world. A perfect gift for baby showers, birthdays, and graduation, it's a book that will be treasured, passed down, read and loved--again, and again, and again.

  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 love?

Books About Self-discovery and Finding Your Passion

Most Marshmallows book
#1
Most Marshmallows
Written and illustrated by Rowboat Watkins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

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.

What Will I Do When I Grow Up? book
#2
What Will I Do When I Grow Up?
Written and illustrated by Margherita Borin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Let's take a walk down High Street and discover the variety of jobs that grown-ups do. We will pop into each building to see what they wear, what tools they use and what they make and do. What will I do when I grow up? invites children to discover the diversity of occupations including teachers, chefs, builders and scientists.

Herstory book
#3
Herstory
Written by Katherine Halligan and illustrated by Sarah Walsh
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Move aside history—it’s time for herstory. Celebrate fifty inspiring and powerful women who changed the world and left their mark in this lavishly illustrated biography compilation that’s perfect for fans of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls and She Persisted. Throughout history, girls have often been discussed in terms of what they couldn’t or shouldn’t do. Not anymore. It’s time for herstory—a celebration of not only what girls can do, but the remarkable things women have already accomplished, even when others tried to stop them. In this uplifting and inspiring book, follow the stories of fifty powerhouse women from around the world and across time who each managed to change the world as they knew it forever. Telling the stories of their childhood, the challenges they faced, and the impact of their achievements, each lavishly illustrated spread is a celebration of girl power in its many forms. From astronauts to activists, musicians to mathematicians, these women are sure to motivate young readers of all backgrounds to focus not on the can’ts and shouldn’ts, but on what they can do: anything!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Edward Hopper Paints His World - As a boy, Edward Hopper knew exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up: on the cover of his pencil box, he wrote the words EDWARD HOPPER, WOULD-BE ARTIST. He traveled to New York and to Paris to hone his craft. And even though no one wanted to buy his paintings for a long time, he never stopped believing in his dream to be an artist. He was fascinated with painting light and shadow and his works explore this challenge.

  2. Power Forward - From the critically acclaimed author of Amina’s Voice comes the first book in an exciting new chapter book series about a fourth-grader with big dreams of basketball stardom. Fourth grader Zayd Saleem has some serious hoop dreams. He’s not just going to be a professional basketball player. He’s going to be a star. A legend. The first Pakistani-American kid to make it to the NBA. He knows this deep in his soul. It’s his destiny. There are only a few small things in his way. For starters, Zayd’s only on the D-team. (D stands for developmental, but to Zayd it’s always felt like a bad grade or something.) Not to mention, he’s a bit on the scrawny side, even for the fourth grade team. But his best friend Adam is on the Gold Team, and it’s Zayd’s dream for the two of them to play together. His mom and dad don’t get it. They want him to practice his violin way more than his jump shot. When he gets caught blowing off his violin lessons to practice, Zayd’s parents lay down the ultimate punishment: he has to hang up his high tops and isn’t allowed to play basketball anymore. As tryouts for the Gold Team approach, Zayd has to find the courage to stand up for himself and chase his dream.

  3. Isabella - The purple-haired star of the New York Times bestselling picture book series is back, and her imagination is turning her life into a wondrous work of art! When Isabella has a day off from school, her mother suggests doing something special. Instead, Isabella walks her parents through all of the exciting things they could do as she imagines herself in famous paintings ranging from Degas' Dancers in Blue to Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans. Through her musings, Isabella creates a wondrous museum of her own making, showing how home can be the most special place of all!

Want to see more children's books about finding your passion?

Books About Self-discovery and Adventure

Flashback book
#1
Flashback
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In this unforgettable seventh book in the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Sophie must let the past and present blur together, because the deadliest secrets are always the ones that get erased. Sophie Foster doesn’t know what—or whom—to believe. And in a game with this many players, the worst mistake can be focusing on the wrong threat. But when the Neverseen prove that Sophie’s far more vulnerable than she ever imagined, she realizes it’s time to change the rules. Her powerful abilities can only protect her so far. To face down ruthless enemies, she must learn to fight. Unfortunately, battle training can’t help a beloved friend who’s facing a whole different danger—where the only solution involves one of the biggest risks Sophie and her friends have ever taken. And the distraction might be exactly what the villains have been waiting for.

Keeper of the Lost Cities book
#2
Keeper of the Lost Cities
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

At age 12, Sophie learns that the remarkable abilities that have always made her different from others actually identify her as an elf, and after being brought to Eternalia to hone her skills, she discovers that she has secrets buried in her memory for which some would kill.

Unicorn Crossing book
#3
Unicorn Crossing
Written by Dana Simpson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

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!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Jack Frost - The Guardians’ powers are put to the ultimate test in their final battle in this conclusion to the epic chapter book series from William Joyce. When we last saw the Guardians, they were celebrating their victory during Bright Night, the final great Battle of the Moon, where they defeated Pitch once and for all. Or so they thought. Now, many years later, the Guardians have settled into their final selves, embracing their public images and the Earth Holidays. But the world has not been without evil since Pitch’s imprisonment. First there was the World War, then The Crash which has led to what the humans call a Great Depression. All the Guardians feel the weight of these events, but Jack Frost—now half human, half of his former self Nightlight—feels it the most. Jack’s transition from Nightlight to Guardian was not an easy one. Always inclined to keep to himself, Jack has become especially isolated from the other Guardians since his transformation. Yet it is Jack who Ombric Shalazar (once a great wizard, now known as Father Time) trusts with a tremendous secret. But for Jack to fully understand this secret, he must revisit his past—and finally tell his story. Jack’s story, however, isn’t the only one to be reopened; an old enemy whose chapter we thought closed will reappear and with him bring a darkness and destruction that will test the Guardians like never before. It’s a battle of superlatives—the worse fighting the greatest, but where, oh where, is Jack?

  2. Rules for Thieves - After twelve-year-old orphan, Alli Rosco, is cursed with a deadly spell, she must join the legendary Thieves Guild in order to try and save herself in this high-stakes debut.

  3. The Knowing Book - This picture book is a celebration of life and the perfect gift to mark any milestone, from a new baby to a birthday to graduation. Illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Matthew Cordell! In this inspiring story, a young rabbit travels through the wide world, experiencing joy and sorrow and wonder. Along the way he chooses a path and explores the unknown. And at the end of his journey, braver and more confident, he returns home—a place he can always count on. Author Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s wise words and Cordell’s beautiful illustrations combine in this book ideal for any special gift-giving occasion.

  4. Crown of Three - "Toronia, a kingdom composed of three realms, is wracked with civil war. King Brutan rules with an iron fist. The kingdom's only hope comes in the form of Brutan's illegitimate triplets, prophesied to kill the king and rule together in peace. Separated at birth and scattered throughout the realms, the triplets face a desperate fight to secure their destiny"

Want to see 6 more children's books about self-discovery and adventure?

How about children's books about adventure?

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

Additional book lists you might enjoy: