An Award-Winning Book Club for Kids
Shop Now

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.

Add to list
Too Shy for Show-and-Tell
Written by Beth Bracken & 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.
Add to list
Mirabel's Missing Valentines
Written by Janet Lawler & 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.
Add to list
Miss Hazeltine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats
Written by Alicia Potter & 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.
Add to list
The Bear Who Stared
Written & 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.
Add to list
A Way with Wild Things
Written by Larissa Theule & illustrated by Sara Palacios
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Poppy's not flashy, but she stands out in her own way. This charming book about a girl who loves nature celebrates quieter kids. Poppy Ann Fields loves bugs—sitting in the grass singing with cicadas, carrying on conversations with ladybugs—and feels much more at home outside with six-legged friends than with other people. Inside, Poppy prefers to disappear into the background. Some might call her a wallflower. But when Grandma Phyllis turns 100, Poppy must go to the party. She wears a dress that blends into the garden setting, so she’s almost invisible, until a very special bug lands on Grandma Phyllis’s cake. Poppy can’t resist popping out to see it. Soon, the rest of the party guests notice this beautiful wild thing—Poppy and the dragonfly! With a gently poetic text from newcomer Larissa Theule and wildly charming illustrations by Sara Palacios, this story shows that sometimes a wallflower is actually a wildflower.
The Boys book
Add to list
Andy & Sandy and the Big Talent Show book
Add to list
Butterflies on the First Day of School book
Add to list
Two Shy Pandas book
Add to list
  • 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.

  • Andy & Sandy and the Big Talent Show - 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.

  • 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.

  • Two Shy Pandas - Panda and Pandora live next to each other but never speak or play together because they are much too shy.

Add to list
Crunch, The Shy Dinosaur
Written by Cirocco Dunlap & illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
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!
Add to list
Music for Mister Moon
Written by Philip C. Stead & illustrated by Erin E. Stead
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
After shy cello player Harriet Henry accidentally knocks the moon out of the sky, the moon becomes her friend, and Harriet gains the courage to share her music.
Add to list
Miss Twiggley's Tree
Written & illustrated by Dorothea Warren Fox
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
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.
Add to list
But Not the Hippopotamus
Written & 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.
Add to list
Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow
Written by Michelle Cuevas & 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?
My Little Half-moon book
Add to list
Hello, Ninja. Hello, Georgie. book
Add to list
Andy & Sandy and the First Snow book
Add to list
Leila in Saffron book
Add to list
  • My Little Half-moon - 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.

  • Hello, Ninja. Hello, Georgie. -

  • Andy & Sandy and the First Snow - 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.

  • Leila in Saffron - A colorful journey of self-discovery and identity, this sweet, vibrant picture book follows young Leila as she visits her grandmother’s house for their weekly family dinner, and finds parts of herself and her heritage in the family, friends, and art around her. Sometimes I’m not sure if I like being me. When Leila looks in the mirror, she doesn’t know if she likes what she sees. But when her grandmother tells her the saffron beads on her scarf suit her, she feels a tiny bit better. So, Leila spends the rest of their family dinner night on the lookout for other parts of her she does like. Follow Leila’s journey as she uses her senses of sight, smell, taste, touch to seek out the characteristics that make up her unique identity, and finds reasons to feel proud of herself, just as she is.

Add to list
Bear's New Friend
Written by Karma Wilson & illustrated by Jane Chapman
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
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!
Add to list
Bird, Balloon, Bear
Written & illustrated by Il Sung Na
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
A fresh and heartwarming new story from Il Sung Na about finding the courage to make a friend. Bird is new to the forest, and he’s looking for a friend. Bear could use a friend, too. But Bird is too shy to introduce himself. Just as he musters the courage to say hello . . . it’s too late! Bear has already found a friend: a bright, shiny red balloon. Has Bird missed his chance? From the acclaimed Il Sung Na comes a charming and beautifully illustrated story about courage, kindness, and friendship.
Add to list
Poetree
Written by Shauna Lavoy Reynolds & illustrated by Shahrzad Maydani
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
A girl writes a poem to a tree, but then is surprised when the tree writes back in this wondrous and warm picture book about friendship, nature, and the power of poetry. The snow has melted, the buttercups are blooming, and Sylvia celebrates winter's end by writing a poem. She ties her poem to a birch tree, hoping that it doesn't count as littering if it makes the world more beautiful. But when she returns, a new poem is waiting for her. Could the tree really be writing back? Sylvia decides to test her theory, and so begins a heartwarming poetic correspondence...as well as an unexpected new friendship. Lyrical and sweetly satisfying, Poetree is about finding beauty in the world around you, and new friends in unlikely places.
Add to list
Lily's Cat Mask
Written & illustrated by Julie Fortenberry
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6
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.
Add to list
Bremner & the Party
Written & illustrated by Ripley Publishing
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
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!
Not in Room 204 book
Add to list
Adelaide's Secret World book
Add to list
A Tiger Called Tomás book
Add to list
Shy book
Add to list
  • 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?

  • Adelaide's Secret World - 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 - 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 - 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.

Add to list
Stella Diaz Has Something to Say
Written by Angela Dominguez
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
A sweet middle-grade novel by award-winning illustrator Angela Dominguez about a shy Mexican-American girl who makes a new friend.
Add to list
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
Add to list
The Magic Boat
Written by Kit Pearson and Katherine Farris & illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Every summer morning, Ellie and her Nonna go to the beach. They swim and build sandcastles, and while Nonna reads, Ellie watches the other children play. One day Ellie builds up the courage to approach an older girl playing on her own in a beached rowboat. Piper has a gift, an imagination so great that she whisks Ellie off on grand adventures, going high in the air, deep below the ocean and everywhere in between in their little blue boat, their magic boat. When Piper has to leave, Ellie discovers she has her own vivid imagination.
Add to list
The Wonderling
Written & illustrated by Mira Bartók
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14
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.
Add to list
Sophie's Squash Go to School
Written by Pat Zietlow Miller & illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
"This charming sequel to the beloved Sophie's Squash is the perfect antidote to the back-to-school jitters. Sophie goes to school for the first time and has no interest in making friends that aren't squash. Here's a gently humorous read-aloud that proves that making friends, just like growing squash, takes time. a On Sophie's first day of school, nobody appreciates her two best friends, Bonnie and Baxter, baby squash that she grew in her garden. Even worse, one classmate, Steven Green, won't leave Sophie alone. He sits by her at circle time. He plays near her during recess. And he breathes on her while she paints. Steven just wants to be friends, but Sophie isn't interested. Still, Sophie knows that her squash friends won't last forever. Maybe it would be nice to have some human friends after all. . . ."
Octopus Alone book
Add to list
Wilson Sat Alone book
Add to list
Lazybones book
Add to list
  • Octopus Alone - Octopus loves living on the busy reef under the sea. From her cozy cave, she can see clown fish, and sea turtles, and little butterflies swimming by. She especially loves watching the seahorses having fun, wiggling and twirling. Sometimes she will play with them, but occasionally Octopus just wants to be alone, somewhere quiet, and not so busy. So one day, she swims far, far beyond the reef and finds another cozy cave, only here she is perfectly, wonderfully alone. It is exactly what she wanted . . . until she’s ready to go back home to be with her friends. As she did in Little Owl’s Night, Divya Srinivasan shows children a wonderful part of the natural world in a very warm-hearted way.

  • Wilson Sat Alone - Too shy to join the other children in group activities, Wilson resigns himself to doing everything alone—until the arrival at school of a new girl who does things alone too. By the author of the Three Little Witches series.

  • Lazybones - Good ol’ Lazybones, Robert Exelby Perdendo, is the master of all things lazy. Long walks in the park?! Psh! Who needs them? But when all attempts to avoid his latest dreaded “walkies” fail, Lazybones soon discovers something new and exciting along the way—a lovable pug ready to play!

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did you know you can help us improve this list? Check out our Community Handbook and learn how to add tags to books.

Suggested Links