Best Kids Books About Self-discovery

81 Kids 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!

Malala's Magic Pencil book
#2
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.

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!

Leaping Lemmings! book
#4
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."

The Stick book
#5
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.

Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears book
#6
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.

Gently Bentley book
#7
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?|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?|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?|The book follows a male lead who feels emotions strongly, and it can inspire discussions about appropriate ways of expressing those feelings. It could be used to help children to develop impulse control and self-regulation.

King Leonard's Teddy book
#8
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
#9
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 Noisy Clock Shop book
#10
The Noisy Clock Shop
Written by Jean Horton Berg and illustrated by Art Seiden
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Discover a treasure trove of beautifully illustrated books with our series, Grosset & Dunlap Vintage! Featuring books from our Wonder Books line originally published in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, there’s something for every reader in these timeless stories accompanied by classic illustrations. Mr. Winky is fond of his noisy clock shop—until Mr. Glum comments on the awful noise, that is. Newly bothered by the constant tick tocks, Mr. Winky decides to leave. But no matter where he goes (the train, the countryside, and the woods), he can’t find any peace. There’s noise everywhere! Before long, Mr. Winky can’t wait to get back to the comfort of his noisy clock shop.

I Can Fly book
#11
I Can Fly
Written by and illustrated by Fifi Kuo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Penguin wants to fly like other birds, but he has trouble doing so when he tries! Penguin is confused because he has wings and can flap, waddle, and leap like other birds, but he lands flat on his stomach when he tries to fly. When Penguin asks his dad why he can't fly, his father tells him that penguins swim. But Penguin doesn't want to accept this! Will he be able to find a way to fly?

Jack (Not Jackie) book
#12
Jack (Not Jackie)
Written by Erica Silverman and illustrated by Holly Hatam
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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

The World Shines for You book
#13
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.

Antoinette book
#14
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"--

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.

I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard book
#16
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.

Fire on the Mountain book
#17
Fire on the Mountain
Written by Jane Kurtz and illustrated by E.B. Lewis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A clever young shepherd boy uses his wits to gain a fortune for himself and his sister from a haughty rich man.

The Town of Turtle book
#18
The Town of Turtle
Written by Michelle Cuevas and illustrated by Catia Chien
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

When a solitary turtle decides to make some renovations to his shell, he doesn’t have a blueprint, only a dream for a better life. He starts by building a deck—though he figures the deck could use a fireplace. And a fireplace needs wood, so naturally, he plants a garden. But it isn’t really a garden without a pond . . . Soon, Turtle can barely recognize his own shadow. Finally satisfied with the intricate world upon his back, word begins to spread of the magical “Town of Turtle,” attracting newcomers from far and wide. All are welcome in Turtle’s town, where life is a little less lonely, if only you come out of your shell.

Not Quite Narwhal book
#19
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.

The Tiptoeing Tiger book
#20
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.

You're All Kinds of Wonderful book
#21
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.

Hazel and Twig: the Birthday Fortune book
#22
Hazel and Twig: the Birthday Fortune
Written and illustrated by Brenna Burns Yu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A delightful debut about two sisters with big dreams provides a charming introduction to the doljabi, a Korean first birthday tradition. Twig's first birthday is coming up, and her whole family -- especially her older sister, Hazel -- is eager to see what she will choose at her doljabi. Whatever item Twig chooses will tell her fortune: Will she pick a hammer and grow up to be a builder? Will she pick a lute and grow up to be a musician? Hazel is hoping that Twig will choose the yarn, just like she did when she was Twig's age. When the big day arrives and Twig makes an unexpected choice, will Hazel be able to help figure out what the future might hold for her little sister? Sweet, serious Hazel and the adorable Twig are certain to win the hearts of readers, who will long to enter their cozy woodland world.

Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes book
#23
Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes
Written by Eva Chen and illustrated by Derek Desierto
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Juno Valentine’s favorite shoes don’t light up. They don’t have wheels. They are, to be perfectly honest, the tiniest bit boring. But they’re still her favorite muddy-puddle-jumping, everyday-is-an-adventure shoes. One day, when they go missing, Juno discovers something amazing: a magical room filled with every kind of shoe she could possibly imagine! Juno embarks on an epic journey through time and space, stepping into the shoes of female icons from Frida Kahlo and Cleopatra to Lady Gaga and Serena Williams. Each pair of shoes Juno tries brings a brand new adventure—and a step towards understanding that her very own shoes might be the best shoes of all. Parents and children alike will adore Instagram superstar Eva Chen's precocious debut picture book—a story that’s equal parts fashion fairy-tale and guide to girl power—and fall in love with the brilliantly spirited Juno Valentine.

How to Catch a Star book
#24
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.

Extraordinary Jane book
#25
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

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