As a parent of three, I spend a lot of time talking to my kids about self-love safety, and doing things that make them proud. Basically, I try to empower them. But sometimes, my words aren't enough. In that case, I need reinforcement, like books that will empower kids of all ages.
In order to raise confident, assertive, responsible kids, it's important to help kids find and play to their strengths, as well as teach them to be proud of what makes them different or special. If they feel proud of their own unique qualities, they're much more likely to want to share their gifts with the world. That may sound hokey, but todays' kids are the next generation of people who will have the power to make change. So raising kids that want to contribute and feel fulfilled when they do so is kind of a big deal. And books can certainly help them know that.
The following books don't feel preachy or condescending. Rather, they will leave your kid feeling confident with themselves and their place in the world. So if you hope to raise a future leader or change-maker, consider adding these 10 books to oour shelf.
1'Counting On Community' by Innosanto Nagara
Counting On Community is the follow-up to the beloved A Is For Activist. This time, the author encourages readers to count the things that make their communities special. Besides teaching numbers, this book will have kids thinking about their own community and their place in it.
2'It's Okay To Be Different' by Todd Parr
It's Okay To Be Different is an uplifting and silly book that lists all the ways you might be different from the people around you. It'll make your child laugh, but it will also make them feel proud of whatever sets them apart from the crowd.
3'The Skin You Live In' by Michael Tyler
The Skin You Live In acknowledges that skin comes in many different colors, and that's special. This book introduces the concept of social acceptance and is a great read if you're looking for a way into discussing these issues with your child.
4'Shine' by Patrick McDonnell
Hoshi is a starfish who loves looking up at the stars, and wishes she could shine like they do. She feels pretty down about it, sinking lower and lower into the ocean, until she makes an important discovery: that her shine has to come from within. Shine is a cute and imaginative story that's a wonderful read-aloud book.
5'In My Heart: A Book Of Feelings' by Jo Witek
In My Heart is a wonderful starting point for discussing emotions. It describes and illustrates feelings in a way that really makes you experience what the emotions feel like. You might feel floaty when you're happy, or big when you are proud or like you'll explode when you're angry. It doesn't label any emotions as good or bad, however. Instead, it acknowledges that it's normal to feel all sorts of ways.
6'Last Stop On Market Street' by Matt de la Peña
In Last Stop On Market Street, CJ and his Grandma ride the bus together all the way across town. At first CJ wishes he didn't have to do this every Sunday, but his Grandma starts to point out all the beautiful and wonderful things he can observe from the vivid world around him. The book drives home the fact that beauty is everywhere, and children can immediately feel better about their surroundings when they make the effort to notice these things.
7'My Body! What I Say Goes!' by Jayneen Sanders
No parent wants to think about our children being a victim of any bad touch. My Body! What I Say Goes! teaches kids about consent and agency, and includes tips on how to start these discussions with your child. The tone is upbeat and not scary, making it an easy way to start the discussion.
9'Real Friends' by Shannon Hale
Real Friends is an incredibly relatable graphic memoir about friendships that form in late elementary school, and how they can be both empowering and toxic. Kids will certainly recognize themselves somewhere within these pages, and will undoubtably take to heart the lessons of inclusion and kindness.
10'Amina's Voice' by Hena Khan
Middle-schooler Amina is struggling to find her confidence in Amina's Voice. She feels stuck between the worlds of her school and her mosque. Her Korean-American friend wants to be "more American" and Amina wonders if she should distance herself from her Pakistani heritage. As she struggles with her identity, she realizes that being herself is the way to go.