Growing up is hard, that’s a universal truth. Whether it’s finding your place on the playground, wondering what the hell is going on with your body during puberty, or discovering your sexuality, figuring out your relationship with your body can be a challenge, regardless of your age. That’s why teaching children about body positivity at a young age is so important. Thankfully, there are plenty of books, and book characters that teach body positivity. What better way to instill an idea in a child than in the pages of a book?
Body image is an issue that children struggle with at an early age, and in a society that cares so much about surface value, being positive about your body and all of its quirks can be a difficult idea to navigate. You know what else can be difficult? Conveying to children that all bodies are beautiful bodies. Society finds sneaky ways to body shame even its youngest members, whether it’s through sizing, snack time, or learned behaviors from less accepting children. These book characters are here to help you teach your child the glory of loving every little thing about themselves, and even though they’re children’s books? You might just learn a thing or two yourself.
1. Winnie The Pooh From 'The Complete Tales Of Winnie The Pooh'
In perhaps one of the most classic pieces of children's literature of all time, The Complete Tales Of Winnie The Pooh, A.A. Milne delivers Pooh Bear, a rotund and joyous main character. Always happy when honey is around, Pooh believes that he is perfect the way he is. What better message to send to your kids?
2. Molly Lou Melon From 'Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon'
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon follows young Molly Lou Melon — a short little girl with wild hair and buck teeth. Her grandmother taught her to always stand tall, and Mary Lou Melon takes that advice to heart. Even when faced with a bully at a new school, Molly Lou stands tall, teaching children the importance of being proud of who they are, regardless of what others might say.
3. Brontorina From 'Brontorina'
Brontorina is a brontosaurus who wishes to be a ballerina. In this tale by James Howe, children learn that you should never let naysayers stop you from following your dreams.
4. Abigail Walker From 'The Second Life Of Abigail Walker'
In The Second Life Of Abigail Walker by Frances O'Roark Dowell, Abby Walker is chubbier than the popular girls at school, and she takes a stand against them. In doing so, she finds a world full of wonderful, accepting people, who love Abby for who she is, and don't care how much she weighs.
5. Marisol McDonald From 'Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match'
Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match follows a little girl with bright red hair and nut-brown skin, who loves peanut butter and jelly burritos. Marisol gives readers a heroine who's proud of the mismatched things she loves, and is written in both English and Spanish!
6. Ella Kate From 'Stand Straight Ella Kate'
Stand Straight, Ella Kate tells the story of Ella Kate, an unusually tall young lady who uses her height to her advantage and achieves her dreams, rather than hiding away from the world because she's different.
7. Flora From 'Flora And The Flamingo'
In Flora and the Flamingo, Flora has a round belly and a passion for dance. She's graceful, determined, beautiful, and battles the typical aterotypes of a dancer.
8. Micay From 'The Ugly One'
The heroine of The Ugly One, Micay is a 12-year-old with a scar that runs the course of her face. As a result, she deals with the judgment of her village on a daily basis. But when a stranger gives her a sad-looking baby macaw parrot, Micay learns to free herself from doubt, and reach beyond the small-minded negativity to find a greater purpose.
9. Cece From 'El Deafo'
In El Deafo, Cece Bell recounts the struggles of going to school with a bulky hearing aid strapped to her chest, and trying to make friends. For anyone who has ever struggled with being different, Bell reminds them that your differences are what make you stand out, and ultimately, what make you a hero.
10. Auggie From 'Wonder'
Auggue from Wonder hasn't been able to attend a mainstream school for years, because of a facial difference. When he begins fifth grade at a regular school, he hopes to be treated like any other kid. Unfortunately his new classmates can't seem to get past the way he looks. This story of compassion and acceptance will leave readers with a greater appreciation of the simple gift of friendship.
11. Charlie C. Cooper From 'Confessions Of A So-Called Middle Child'
Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child is hilarious, poignant, and perfect for any young lady struggling with fitting in on her own terms. Charlie C. Cooper is moving to Los Angeles, and wants to fit in. After a few misguided attempts at becoming popular, this reformed bully finds a friend in the most-bullied girl at school, and in turn, finds a place for herself.