Shyness: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about shyness?

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

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.

When it comes to children’s stories about shyness, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Miss Twiggley’s Tree to popular sellers like But Not the Hippopotamus to some of our favorite hidden gems like Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats.

We hope this list of kids books about shyness can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Too Shy for Show-and-Tell book
#1
Too Shy for Show-and-Tell
Written by Beth Bracken and illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Sam is so shy that nobody knows much about him, but when he must stand in front of his class for show-and-tell, he finds the courage to share.

Mirabel's Missing Valentines book
#2
Mirabel's Missing Valentines
Written by Janet Lawler and illustrated by Olivia Chin Mueller
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Poor shy Mirabel trembles at the thought of Valentine’s Day. Yet the little mouse crafts her cards with a heart on every one. As she nervously hurries to school, she doesn’t notice the valentines falling out of her bag! But with a little holiday kindness, the lost valentines make their way back to her . . . and bring joy into the lives of all who found them, too. This wonderful tale of overcoming insecurity will make its way to children’s hearts.

Miss Hazeltine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats book
#3
Miss Hazeltine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats
Written by Alicia Potter and illustrated by Birgitta Sif
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A tale with many tails, perfect for cat lovers everywhere!

Miss Hazeltine is opening a very special school for shy and fearful cats. They come from all over, and Miss Hazeltine gives them lessons in everything, from “Bird Basics” to “How Not to Fear the Broom.”

The most timid of all is Crumb. He cowers in a corner. Miss Hazeltine doesn’t mind. But when she gets in trouble and only Crumb knows where she is, will he find his inner courage and lead a daring rescue?

Filled with adorable illustrations and ideal for fans of Disappearing Desmond and The Invisible Boy, Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats is a story that’s perfect for shy and fearful children as it both helps them face scary situations and accepts them just as they are.

The Bear Who Stared book
#4
The Bear Who Stared
Written and illustrated by Duncan Beedie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

There once was a bear who liked to stare… and stare… and STARE. Bear doesn’t mean to be rude, he’s just curious but too shy to say anything. But nobody likes being stared at and it soon gets Bear into trouble. Luckily a goggly-eyed frog helps Bear realise that sometimes a smile is all you need to turn a stare into a friendly hello.

But Not the Hippopotamus book
#5
But Not the Hippopotamus
Written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-2

A shy hippo makes a big impact in this Sandra Boynton classic. Serious silliness for all ages. Artist Sandra Boynton is back and better than ever with completely redrawn versions of her multi-million selling board books. These whimsical and hilarious books, featuring nontraditional texts and her famous animal characters, have been printed on thick board pages, and are sure to educate and entertain children of all ages.

  1. The Boys - A shy boy, seeking the courage to play baseball with the other children in a park, is coaxed out of his shell by some “old timers” sitting nearby who, in turn, discover they are still in the game.

  2. Crunch, The Shy Dinosaur - Crunch is a lovely and quiet brontosaurus who has hidden himself in some shubbery and is rather shy. He would like to play, but it will require some gentle coaxing from you! If you are patient and encouraging, you will find yourself with a new friend! This picture book is a warm, funny example of how to engage with someone new, who is perhaps a bit different from you. Lessons in friend-making (such as minding personal space and demonstrating interest in another’s hobbies) are delivered so subtly that children will absorb them unconsciously as they delight in Crunch’s silly hat and dance moves!

  3. Miss Twiggley's Tree - Funny Miss Twiggley, who lives in a house in a tree with a dog and bears, forgets her shyness and saves the townspeople when a flood hits the town.

  4. Butterflies on the First Day of School - Rosie’s excited to start kindergarten—she’s had her backpack ready for weeks. But suddenly, the night before the big day, her tummy hurts. Rosie’s mom reassures her that it’s just butterflies in her belly. Much to Rosie’s surprise, when she greets a new friend, a butterfly flies out of her mouth! Soon, Rosie frees all her butterflies . . . and helps another shy student release hers, too.

Andy & Sandy and the Big Talent Show book
#10
Andy & Sandy and the Big Talent Show
Written by Tomie dePaola and illustrated by Jim Lewis and Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Andy and Sandy hit the stage in this fourth book of an easy-to-read picture book series about friendship—from Caldecott and Newbery Honoree Tomie dePaola and Emmy Award–winning writer for the Muppets Jim Lewis. Outgoing Sandy convinces shy Andy to do a dance at the big talent show. The only problem? Andy doesn’t know how to dance! Luckily, Sandy is a good teacher. But when showtime finally arrives, it’s Sandy who freezes up! A true friend through and through, Andy overcomes his shyness to save the performance. Let’s give a standing ovation to friendship! Written in simple words and short, declarative sentences, this book is perfect for little ones just learning to read on their own.

Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow book
#11
Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow
Written by Michelle Cuevas and illustrated by Sydney Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A brave shadow finds a more colorful life in this joyous picture book by the acclaimed author of The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles and illustrator of Sidewalk Flowers.

Smoot the shadow has been living a yawn-filled life for years. His boy never laughs and never leaps, so Smoot never does either . . . until the day he pops free, and decides to hit the road in search of the life he dreams about. And as he enjoys his first colorful day—singing, dancing, and playing—other shadows watch him, and they become brave, too. The frog’s shadow takes the shape of a prince, the dragonfly’s shadow that of a dragon. Even the rock’s shadow gets in on the excitement. But what will become of the timid beings their shadows have left behind? Will they finally be inspired to find their own daring?

Night Job book
#12
Night Job
Written by Karen Hesse and illustrated by G Brian Karas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

When the sun sets, Dad’s job as a school custodian is just beginning. What is it like to work on a Friday night while the rest of the city is asleep? There’s the smell of lilacs in the night air, the dusky highway in the moonlight, and glimpses of shy nighttime animals to make the dark magical. Shooting baskets in the half-lit gym, sweeping the stage with the game on the radio, and reading out loud to his father in the library all help the boy’s time pass quickly. But what makes the night really special is being with Dad. Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse’s quietly powerful story of a boy and his father is tenderly brought to life by G. Brian Karas in this luminous tribute to an enduring, everyday sort of love.

Andy & Sandy and the First Snow book
#13
Andy & Sandy and the First Snow
Written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Andy and Sandy play in the snow in this third book of the easy-to-read picture book series about friendship, from Caldecott and Newbery Honoree Tomie dePaola and Emmy Award–winning writer for the Muppets Jim Lewis. When the first big snow of winter hits, Sandy wants to play outside—but Andy isn’t so sure. After all, snow is very wet and very cold! But Sandy drags Andy along to make a snowman, go sledding, and make snow angels. Will Andy discover that snow can be fun—despite being wet and cold? Written in simple words and short, declarative sentences, this book is perfect for little ones just learning to read on their own.

My Little Half-moon book
#14
My Little Half-moon
Written by Douglas Todd Jennerich and illustrated by Kate Berube
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A determined child goes the extra mile to try to cheer the lonely half moon

Have you ever looked up at the half-moon hiding in the night sky and thought it looked just the littlest bit lonely without its other half?

Imagine . . . having no one to glow with no one to play with no one to share how much you like puppies and big, fuzzy bears.

If you’re like this determined young child, you might stay up every night to keep the moon company. Maybe if you share your treats and toys and stories, you’ll cheer him up.

But the moon is very shy, so it might take some time. Still, if you’re very very patient, you just might make a new friend.

  1. Bear's New Friend - Eager to play in the fall leaves, Bear heads out to find his friend, Mouse, but is startled by clatter in a tree. Determined to find out who is making all the noise, Bear goes on a short journey, picking up all of his friends on the way, until he discovers a quite bashful owl whom he declares their NEW FRIEND!

  2. Lily's Cat Mask - Armed with a vivid imagination and her trusty cat mask, Lily can take on anything–even a new school… But when her teacher tells her no masks allowed in class, Lily worries, can she make friends without it? Anyone who has been daunted by a new experience, or struggled to put on a good face, will relate to Lily. Whimsical art brings Lily, her father, and her new classmates to life, with text that begs to be read aloud. Perfect for Father’s Day, back to school, and even Halloween–Lily and her grinning cat mask are sure to make you smile back.

  3. Bremner & the Party - Brand new picture books from Ripley’s feature fun and engaging stories around two favorite Ripley’s Aquarium mascots—Sharkee the sand tiger shark and Bremner the pufferfish. Filled with expressive illustrations, silly situations, and lovable characters, kids and parents alike will be enchanted by each of these charming “tails”! Bremner the pufferfish is going to a party. Tonight. Gulp! And he’s nervous. And he knows what happens when he gets nervous. He puffs up. And he definitely doesn’t want to puff up. Children and parents alike will laugh their way through Bremner’s nervous dialogue as he goes off the deep end before joining the party. Will Bremner puff up and ruin the celebration? There’s only one way to find out!

  4. Not in Room 204 - Mrs. Salvador is one tough teacher. But Regina Lillian Hadwig, a very quiet student, doesn’t mind. She likes the order and discipline Mrs. Salvador expects. At a report card conference, Mrs. Salvador tells Regina’s mom that Regina is doing a great job, but that she is very quiet. “Are you quiet at home, like you are in school?” Mrs. Salvador asks Regina. And Regina thinks of the secret she keeps so quiet—the one even her mom doesn’t know, about the secret things her father does. “Yes, I’m quiet at home, too,” says Regina. “Maybe we can work on that,” says Mrs. Salvador. When Mrs. Salvador reads a book about Stranger Danger, she emphasizes one thing—that the person doing the inappropriate touching might not be a stranger at all. It might be someone a child knows very well. Will Regina find the courage to tell Mrs. Salvador her terrible secret?

Glad, Glad Bear! (Bear's Feelings) book
#19
Glad, Glad Bear! (Bear's Feelings)
Written and illustrated by Kimberly Gee
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-8

Bear is very, very, very GLAD today! He’s taking his first ballet class. But he’s a little nervous too. This sweet and silly picture book is an honest exploration of feelings that little ones—and grown-ups!—are sure to relate to.

Bear is so excited that today is dance day! He has his new leggings, slippers, and tutu, and he is ready to go. But when he gets there, he feels a little shy, a little unsure, and even a little afraid. What can make him feel better? Dancing, of course!

This charming companion to Mad, Mad Bear is a celebration of how stepping out and doing the things we love makes us feel happy…even if we are a little apprehensive at first!

Adelaide's Secret World book
#20
Adelaide's Secret World
Written and illustrated by Elise Hurst
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

With a poetic story and lush paintings, Elise Hurst conveys how a bit of bravery, empathy, and imagination can transform our lives.

Adelaide lives in a city filled with people and wonders, but she is lonely. She is a watcher, and she sees others like her: the quiet ones, those who dance and dream alone.

In a chance encounter, Adelaide meets someone who just might be a kindred spirit—and is so startled and shy she runs away! But then she gathers her courage and uses all her ingenuity to make sure that they—and all the other lonely ones—meet and connect and share their dreams.

A Tiger Called Tomás book
#21
A Tiger Called Tomás
Written by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

A new edition of the timeless classic by celebrated children’s author, Charlotte Zolotow, featuring Spanish words and phrases!

When Tomás and his family moved to a new house on a new street, he took it into his head that the new people might not like him. “Of course they’d like you,” his mamá said. “Why wouldn’t they? ¿Por qué no? “ But Tomás didn’t answer.

Tomás’s Mom encourages him to go out and meet the kids in his neighborhood, but Tomas is too shy. Instead, he sits on his stoop, watching the world go by. But on the night of Halloween, opportunity arrives in the form of a tiger costume, complete with a mask that hides his identity. He can go trick-or-treating without anyone knowing it’s him. But Tomás will soon discover his costume doesn’t hide him quite as well as he thinks…

Shy book
#22
Shy
Written and illustrated by Deborah Freedman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A dazzlingly beautiful book about shyness from the author of Blue Chicken, The Story of Fish and Snail, and By Mouse and Frog!

Shy loves birds. He’d love to watch them fly and hear them sing, but he’s only ever read about them in books. . .until a real bird comes along. He’s dying to meet her, but there’s just one problem: Shy is, well, shy–so shy, in fact, that he’s afraid to leave the gutter of the book. Can Shy overcome his fears and venture out onto the page? This sweetly relatable picture book from the acclaimed Deborah Freedman speaks to every child who’s ever felt like hiding instead of facing the daunting world.

We Are Party People book
#23
We Are Party People
Written by Leslie Margolis
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

In this middle-grade contemporary novel, a shy girl with party-planner parents learns that stepping out of her comfort zone might not be so scary after all. “I am the opposite of a mermaid and that’s exactly the way I like it.” Shy and quiet, Pixie Jones does everything she can to fade into the background. All she wants is to survive middle school without being noticed. Meanwhile, her parents own the best party-planning business in town. They thrive on attention, love being experts in fun, and throw themselves into party personas, dressing as pirates, princes, mermaids, and more. When her mom leaves town indefinitely and her new friend Sophie decides to run for class president, Pixie finds herself way too close to the spotlight. How far is she willing to go to help the people she loves? Sweet, brave, and laugh-out-loud funny, We Are Party People by Leslie Margolis is a story of quiet triumph. Also by Leslie Margolis: We Are Party People Ghosted Praise for We Are Party People: “The strongest chapters are the lively accounts of how Pixie and Dan organize and run parties without Mom . . . Middle school angst tempered by humorous insights.” —Kirkus Reviews “Pixie’s first-person perspective is endearing . . . Give this to fans of gentle, realistic fiction. A solid purchase.” —School Library Journal “Pixie’s friends, Lola and Sophie, provide an excellent example of what good friends should be, and their relationship will show young readers that good friends help and support each other . . . A fun, fast-paced read.” —Booklist “Shy middle schoolers who tend to downplay their talents will find inspiration to be brave?and maybe ideas for planning an amazing party as well.” —VOYA

  1. The Wonderling - Richly imagined, with shimmering language, steampunk motifs, and gripping, magical plot twists, this extraordinary debut novel follows a shy, fox-like foundling with only one ear and a desperate desire to belong, as he seeks his destiny.

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!