Who doesn't want their child to feel like a million bucks? Some of the most important things parents want to tell their child are "you are loved," "you are amazing in every way," and "I am so proud of who you are." Whether these books are describing the kind of love parents feel for their child or the kind of love children feel about themselves, these books will boost your child's self-esteem immeasurably.
Read these books to kickstart your day. Send your kids off to school or daycare with confidence. Whether it's knowing that they can rely on your unconditional love, or realizing their friends have their backs, you can emphasize all of that with a little morning reading-time over cereal. There will always be tough times when children feel like they stand out when they want to fit in. Learning that what makes a child different--whether it's the color of their skin (as in Sulwe), their culture (as in The Proudest Blue), their beliefs that kindness is a super power (as in Superbun!), or their interests (as in Best Friends) is one of the most important ways we teach our kids to have endless, and loving self-esteem. When your kids fall down, dust off their pants, give them a hug, and read them a book!
1. 'I Love All Of Me (Wonderful Me)' by Lorie Ann Grover, Pictures by Carolina Búzio
This sweet book for babies in toddlers celebrates all the parts of them you love. Written in first person, this book will teach positive self-talk, which is something everyone needs! With the refrain of "I love my..." kids will look at their own body and self in a positive and joyful way.
2. 'You Make Me Happy' by Smriti Prasadam-Halls, illustrated by Alison Brown
3. 'Perfect' by Max Amato
It's OK not to be perfect! Eraser loves things a certain way (fresh, clean paper), and Pencil kind of ruins those plans. But maybe, just maybe, things don't have to be perfect to be wonderful. In fact, when you learn to be flexible, it lets you find out who you really are.
4. 'Sulwe' by Lupita Nyong'o, Illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Sweet Sulwe doesn't feel beautiful. Her dark skin doesn't seem as desirable as lighter skin, and some kids even tease her for it! Based on Lupita Nyong'o's own experiences as a child, Sulwe discovers what's special and beautiful about her dark skin. And Harrison's illustrations are both deep and luminous, just like Sulwe herself.
5. 'You Are My Happy' by Hoda Kotb, pictures by Suzie Mason
6. 'Isle Of You' by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Jaime Kim
7. 'Superbuns: Kindness Is Her Superpower' by Diane Kredensor
8. 'The Proudest Blue: A Story Of Hijab And Family' by Ibtihaj Muhammad with S. K. Ali, Art By Hatem Aly
Written by the first Muslim American to compete in the Olympics in hijab, The Proudest Blue is a story of sisters. Faizah looks up to her sister Asiya, especially when Asiya begins to wear a beautiful blue hijab to school for the first time. Faizah sees that this makes Asiya different from many of her peers, but she walks through her day with a pride that Faizah aspires to.
9. 'The Amazing Idea Of You' by Charlotte Sullivan Wild, illustrated by Mary Lundquist
Starting off with the idea of a seed containing the entire idea of a tree, and an egg containing all the notes of a birdsong, readers take the leap and realize that they hold more than their small self now. This book is really magical, and each kid will love hearing of their untapped potential.
10. 'Best Friends' by Shannon Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Best Friends is the follow-up to Real Friends. What's so special about Best Friends is that it questions what makes a good friend. Is it someone popular? Or is it someone who accepts you for who you are? (Spoiler: by the end of the graphic novel, Shannon realizes that she can't let popularity define her--and she grows to love the things about her that are unique!) Hand this one to an older kid with friend woes.