Best Children's Books About Self-discovery

81+ Children's Books About Self-discovery

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
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.

Auntie Claus Deluxe Edition book
#3
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!

Malala's Magic Pencil book
#4
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.

How to Catch a Star book
#5
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
#6
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."

Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears book
#7
Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears
Written by Beth Coulton, Corey Rosen Schwartz and illustrated by Nate Wragg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear know how to rock! But they need a new singer, so they audition everyone—the Three Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, and more. To their dismay, no one seems just right. Could the perfect lead singer be the mysterious girl sleeping on Baby Bear’s keyboard? This mash up of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and The Voice is a surefire storytime hit.

The Stick book
#8
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.

Gently Bentley book
#9
Gently Bentley
Written and illustrated by Caragh Buxton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

A little rhino charges around his house and school. Everyone reminds him to be more careful, but his clumsiness continues. Will he remember to be gentle when it's most important? This lovely story will inspire discussions about appropriate ways of expressing oneself, and can be used to help children develop impulse control and self-regulation.

Extraordinary Jane book
#10
Extraordinary Jane
Written and 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

King Leonard's Teddy book
#11
King Leonard's Teddy
Written and illustrated by Phoebe Swan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

King Leonard enjoys a decadent lifestyle and whenever something he owns breaks, he discards it and buys a new replacement. Soon, he has a large pile of discarded objects outside his castle. One evening, his favourite teddy falls apart and he has no choice but to search the town for someone who can mend it. Unfortunately, like Leonard, the townspeople are in the habit of throwing away broken things and no one is able to help. Will Leonard find a way to fix his friend, or will he have to add his teddy to the heap of rubbish by the castle?

Hide and Seek book
#12
Hide and Seek
Written and illustrated by Polly Noakes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

A meadow is the perfect place to play hide and seek - there are bridges to creep under and masses of wildflowers to use for cover. In grass high enough to conceal a bear, the protagonist must use all of her senses to track her animal companions! She can smell them, and hear them, but she can’t quite find them. Can you spot the stealthy wolf on each spread? Will the girl find her friends, or will the wolf find her first?|Readers can join in the game of hide and seek by searching for the wolf on each spread.|The protagonist uses her senses to determine where her friends are hiding. The book can be used to promote the benefits of focusing on the sounds and sights around you.

The Ugly Pumpkin book
#13
The Ugly Pumpkin
Written and illustrated by Dave Horowitz
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

In time for Thanksgiving, a wacky twist on The Ugly Duckling. The Ugly Pumpkin has waited all through October for someone to take him home, but no one wants him. He doesn’t look like other pumpkins. So the lonely Ugly Pumpkin leaves the patch in search of a place where he’ll fit in. By the time Thanksgiving arrives, he discovers the truth about who he is–but it’s not what he expected!

Duck Gets a Job book
#14
Duck Gets a Job
Written and illustrated by Sonny Ross
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A career-minded duck conveys an important message about finding your own way in this funny, quirky story. Duck wants a job. All his friends have jobs in the city, and they never stop talking about them. Duck doesn't think a job in the city sounds very exciting, but he decides to try it -- and it's not long before he discovers that it is not for him! He knows he needs to follow his heart and pursue his dream of being an artist. And when he does, he realizes he's found a job that he truly loves.

Alan's Big, Scary Teeth book
#15
Alan's Big, Scary Teeth
Written and illustrated by Jarvis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

A goofy and lonely denizen of the jungle has just one talent — scaring other creatures with his big, scary teeth! What would he do without them? Deep in the jungle lurks Alan the alligator, descended from a long line of very scary alligators. He prepares carefully — polishing his scales, brushing each of his big, scary teeth, and practicing his frightening faces — then sneaks into the jungle to terrorize the jungle critters. ("I’m big, scary Alan! Fear my razor-sharp teeth!") But after a long day of scaring, Alan likes nothing better than to enjoy the crossword, run a warm mud bath, and take out his teeth, which nobody else knows are false. Until one morning, when Alan wakes up and finds that his teeth are gone! Without those teeth, he’s just not very scary, and scaring is the only thing he knows how to do. Or is it? Witty, charming, and playful storytelling will have preschoolers cheering for Alan as he discovers a new way to fit in.

Bounce Back book
#16
Bounce Back
Written by Hena Khan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

From the critically acclaimed author of Amina’s Voice comes the third book in an exciting chapter book series about a scrawny fourth-grader with big dreams of basketball stardom. Zayd has a plan. He’s ready to take the reins as team captain of the Gold Team. But when an injury leaves him on the sidelines, his plans get derailed. Can Zayd learn what it means to be a leader if he’s not the one calling the shots?

Mango Delight book
#17
Mango Delight
Written and illustrated by Fracaswell "Cas" Hyman
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

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.

Jabberwalking book
#18
Jabberwalking
Written and illustrated by Juan Felipe Herrera
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

Can you walk and talk at the same time? How about Jabberwalk? Can you write and draw and walk and journal all at the same time? If not, you re in luck: exuberant, blue-cheesy cilantro man Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States, is here to teach you everything he knows about being a real-life, bonified, Jabberwalking poet!

I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard book
#19
I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard
Written and illustrated by Jennifer K Mann
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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

Flashback book
#20
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.

The Tiptoeing Tiger book
#21
The Tiptoeing Tiger
Written and illustrated by Philippa Leathers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Everyone knows that tigers are sleek, silent, and totally terrifying . . . most tigers, that is. But no one is afraid of Little Tiger. He’s just too small and clumsy to frighten anyone. Determined to prove that he is terrifying, Little Tiger sets out on tiptoe, creeping through the forest to find someone to scare. He gets yawned at and laughed at, but Little Tiger won’t give up. Is there any animal in the forest who will find him just as sleek, silent, and totally terrifying as the bigger tigers? Every child who has ever crept up behind someone and shouted “roar!” will enjoy this utterly adorable story with a gentle final twist.

Hey Black Child book
#22
Hey Black Child
Written by Useni Eugene Perkins and illustrated by Bryan Collier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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

My Shot book
#23
My Shot
Written and illustrated by Elena Delle Donne
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“Elena is one of the brightest stars in our game today and an iconic role model.” —Lisa M. Borders, WNBA President “Inspiring in many ways.” —Kirkus Reviews Elena Delle Donne, 2015 WNBA MVP and 2016 Olympic gold medalist, shares her inspirational story of being a young basketball prodigy who gave up an impressive basketball scholarship for family and self-discovery.

Exit Strategy book
#24
Exit Strategy
Written by Lauren Allbright
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

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

Crown of Three book
#25
Crown of Three
Written and illustrated by JD Rinehart
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

"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"

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