Whether it’s a strong granny, a shooting star, or the little hog who didn't like playing in the mud, these stories of nurturing self-esteem help navigate the challenges of childhood with confidence

Self-esteem in kids refers to their overall sense of self-worth and value. It’s how they see themselves, their abilities, and how they fit into the world. 

It’s important to help build and foster self-esteem in children for these reasons:

  1. When children have healthy self-esteem, they’re more likely to believe in themselves and their abilities, which in turn build the confidence to take on the challenges that growing up in this world throws at us.
  2. A strong sense of self-esteem helps build the resilience and tenacity needed to overcome setbacks, seeing them as opportunities to learn and grow.
  3. When children feel better about themselves, they tend to have better relationships with others, navigating these relationship dynamics with a greater sense of ease and confidence. 
  4. Kids with high self-esteem are keen to learn, participate in learning activities and persist in the face of challenges - all leading to academic success.   
  5. Self-esteem plays a very important role in a child’s emotional well-being. A healthy self-esteem creates a more positive outlook on life, with healthy mechanisms for dealing with adversity and stress.

How do you build self-esteem in your little one? Well, you can start by reading our selection of books about Just Being Yourself with them. The tiny characters and beautiful stories are a catalyst for conversation in helping build the self-esteem necessary to navigate their growing world with confidence, resilience and positivity.

22 Books About Self-Esteem for Kids

My Gran does Karate

By:
Anna Demchenko, Michel Deverall

My Gran does Karate. She knows how to block and chop and how to kick and spin.Don’t let her wrinkles and old skinny bones fool you - my Gran is REALLY strong!This legendary lady is about to HII-YAH her way into your heart and show you what grannies are really made of.But who will be in the firing line when Gran chops and blocks her way all over town?

Happy as a Hog out of Mud

By:
Sean E Avery

Warthogs LOVE to play in mud. But not Charlie…Charlesworth Oinkington is a sophisticated gentle-hog who would rather sip tea, go bird watching and read poetry.Happy as a Hog out of Mud celebrates difference and acceptance via lighthearted humour and cannonballs! Readers will enjoy exploring a range of different animals, engage with the hilarious and quirky illustrations and marvel at the memorable characters.

Madam Hortensia

By:
Carmen Gil, Jon Brokenbrow, Miguel Cerro

Madam Hortensia followed her routine to a tee, until one day everything went wrong… what a disaster! A wonderful story, full of humor, about the importance of tackling new challenges. Do you dare to change?Madam Hortensia lives life in a straight line, never straying a step out of her daily routine. Was she finicky? Not quite, she just liked everything to be perfectly to her liking. Her alarm clock rang every day at 07:18 sharp. Not one minute before, or one minute after. Then her planned routine would begin in extreme detail, and nothing could possibly go wrong. But one morning, her alarm does not go off on time and her life spins into a whirlwind. Suddenly, she finds herself doing entirely new things she has never tried before.

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Madam Hortensia
 now

The Two Hearts

By:
Hinrich Mummenthey, Claudia Rudolph

Two hearts, which are very much in love, but ultimately very different – learn an important lesson about acceptance.

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The Two Hearts
 now

My Shadow is Pink

By:
Scott Stuart

My Shadow is Pink is a beautifully written rhyming story that touches on the subjects of gender identity, self acceptance, equality and diversity.Inspired by the author’s own little boy, ‘Shadow’s’ main character likes princesses, fairies and things ‘not for boys’... he soon learns (through the support of his dad) that everyone has a shadow that they sometimes feel they need to hide.This is an important book for a new generation of children (and adults alike) which exemplifies the concepts of unconditional love, respect and positive parenting.

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My Shadow is Pink
 now

Little One

By:
Ariel Andrés Almada, Sonja Wimmer

A perfect tale to read to curious daughters.To the dreamers. To the ones who love braids.To the ones who prefer to wear their hair down.To the ones who fill their mouths with jelly.To the ones that chat away, even when they’re asleep.To the ones who watch in silence, and smile.To the ones who discover the world in the tiniest things.In short, this is a message of love, to remind all daughters that their moms and dads will be there every step of the way through the wonderful adventure that is life.

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Little One
 now

Little Ant's Big Plan

By:
Candice Dingwall, Steven McKimmie, Telri Stoop

This is a story about a little ant with a big plan, and how his love for reading saved the day.

Keeping up with the Dachshunds

By:
Carla Fitzgerald, Rebel Challenger

Keeping up is RUFF!As Jet the dog discovers in this hilarious parody.Jet only has three biscuits and a joke to tell.After trying unsuccessfully to keep up with the Dachshunds, she realises this is more than enough to make a true friend!

Pink

By:
Lynne Rickards, Margaret Chamberlain

"What's a penguin to think when he wakes up PINK?" Patrick wakes up one day to find he's turned pink overnight. But boys can't be pink! Feeling teased and left out, poor Patrick runs away in search of pink playmates. He crosses the ocean where he finds some pink flamingos - but will he fit in with them any better? Patrick soon learns that friendship is never black and white, but that real friends will accept you just as you are.

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Pink
 now

The Little Meerkat, Who Saw The Sun

By:
Hinrich Mummenthey, Claudia Rudolph

The Little Meerkat, Who Saw the Sun: Owl-eye, the little Meerkat, embarks on a journey to seek the answer to a question no one else seems to be asking. Where does she have the rings around her eyes from?

My Shadow is Purple

By:
Scott Stuart

My Dad has a shadow that’s blue as a berry, and my Mum’s is as pink as a blossoming cherry. There’s only those choices, a 2 or a 1. But mine is quite different, it’s both and it’s none.A heartwarming and inspiring book about being true to yourself, by best-selling children’s book creator Scott Stuart. This story considers gender beyond binary in a vibrant spectrum of colour.

The Shooting Star

By:
Hinrich Mummenthey, Claudia Rudolph

A story about a star being born and how it comes to truly understand, what makes it so special.

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The Shooting Star
 now

Tobey the Business Mouse

By:
C.S Fritz, Elinor Shklaz

Join Tobey the Business Mouse on a journey of discovery and glimpse into the infinite realm of possibilities that lie ahead.Tobey, with his little suit and tie, proves that no matter how small you are, there is no limit to what you can achieve.

Ann-Nem-Oh-Nee

By:
Jessica Bosworth Smith, Lauren Nel, Matthew Griffiths

Ann-Nem-Oh-Nee is stuck on her rock all alone. She’s looking for adventure and wants to see the world! But how?

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Ann-Nem-Oh-Nee
 now

I Love You For You

By:
Heather Lester, Viky Fieldhouse

"You be who you're meant to be, and I'll love you for you." A child might be different from their parent in a lot of ways,but a parent's love is unconditional.I Love You For You celebrates the fun a parent and child have when they embrace what makes each other different.

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I Love You For You
 now

Grandma's Odd Socks

By:
Marta Taylor

"I love my grandma. But there?s one thing about her that I don?t understand. She always wears odd socks!"Grandma likes to stand out from the crowd. She chooses colourful clothes, covered in flowers, and her hair is bright red. AND she wears mismatching socks. Everyone laughs at her. But when it?s YOUR grandma, it?s really not funny at all, and something needs to be done!

The Hidden Talent of Phoenix Fox

By:
Kristina Radkevich

Phoenix was just like any other fox. He lived a happy life in the forest with his friends. Phoenix’s friends decide to hold a talent contest to find the most talented animal in the forest, Phoenix’s happy world comes crashing down around him. His friends are better than him at everything they do. With no special talent of his own, he longs to be the best at just one thing. But what?

Seek the Unique

By:
Anika de Klerk, Jana Rawlins, Yuliana Simakovska

A beautifully illustrated wonder-filled story that encourages kids to be curious and playful

Read 
Seek the Unique
 now

The Magic Hat Shop

By:
Jon Brokenbrow, Sonja Wimmer

A delightful tale about magic hats and bonnets, but above all about the importance about being yourself and the hidden treasures we carry within us

Read 
The Magic Hat Shop
 now

A Very, Very Noisy Tractor

By:
Nívola Uyá, Mar Pavón

A fun, original tale that teach us to open our minds and free our spirits, seeing things the way a child sees them: as they really are.

My EXTRAordinary Mum

By:
Alexandra Colombo, Dani Vee

My mum’s a little quirky, free-spirited and bold. She dances to the beat of her own drum.A fun-filled adventure and celebration of an extraordinary mum and her daughter who find magic in unexpected places.We are all extraordinary, sometimes we just need reminding.

Son

By:
Jon Brokenbrow, Ariel Andrés Almada, Sonja Wimmer

Following on from the success of Little One, from the same creative team comes Son, a declaration of love from parents to their son, with stunning art by award-winning illustrator Sonja WimmerThe long-awaited arrival of a child fills the hearts of all parents with love. That is what happened to the parents of this very special child. In this story they welcome his little son into the world, while they tell him all about this world, their illusions and their fears. They express how much they would like to overcome their fears for him, or prevent him from going through sad moments, but the job of a father is to fill his toddler with feathers, so that one day he can fly alone and feel protected, but, above all, so that find he finds his way home.

Read 
Son
 now

Looking for something else to read, but not sure what to choose? Check out How to Select Books for Your Child.

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