Children’s Books About Being Yourself

Children's Books About Being Yourself

Last month I wrote a letter to my daughter and encouraged her to “stay weird.” One of my friends who has a pre-teen daughter mentioned that as kids get older, it’s harder for them to hold onto their quirks and individuality.

I started thinking that maybe a blog post [that my five-year-old can’t read yet] might not be enough to help my silly little girl love herself, quirks and all.

The way we approach most any big topic in our family is to find a book (or 10) to read about it. Obedience, playing well with others, stranger danger – you name it, we’ve used books to prompt conversations and [hopefully] life change.

So I did not pass go and went directly to Annalyn’s bookshelf. I pulled out all the books we’ve read about being yourself, and then I did a little Googling to see if I’d missed any that we’d borrowed from the library but didn’t own.

I didn’t find a huge stack of books, but that’s okay. I love the books on this list – and I’m now more motivated than ever to find additional, similarly themed books!

Children's Books about Being Yourself

Children’s Books About Being Yourself

Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal: Hello?! A book about PUNCTUATION?! This is actually the book that gave me the idea to write this post. “He stood out here. He stood out there. He tried everything to be more like them.” The exclamation mark really wants to be like the other punctuation marks, but eventually he realizes that being himself is a whole lot of fun. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH.

Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal: While I don’t get quite as excited about silverware as I do punctuation, I still adore this little book. Spoon thinks all the other utensils have it better than him, that they’re so much more cool. His mom gently points out all the ways he’s special, and he realizes in the end that being Spoon is pretty awesome after all.

Oooooh, look! There’s another place setting picture book! Chopsticks is about friendship, so a whole other topic. Still, I’m putting this one on our to-read list now.

Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el: This book is adorable and Annalyn loved it. Crispin the little dragon doesn’t breathe fire like Every Other Dragon. He breathes cotton balls, bubbles, Band-Aids and more – but all he wants to do is breathe fire! Of course, he figures out ways his unique talent is better than being like everyone else. I think I’m going to get this one from the library again!

Olivia and the Fairy Princesses by Ian Falconer: I’m going to be honest. Some Olivia books really get on my nerves. But this one is my favorite. The sassy little pig is sick and tired of princess play. EVERYONE wants to be a princess, so she must be something different! I love her confidence in this book; it’s not at obnoxious levels like in some others and makes a clear case for standing out and being different.

The Jellybeans Books by Laura Numeroff and Nate Evans: Okay, fine, you got me. I love these books so much that I’m going to fit them into every list I ever make. If you read them, you’d understand! Seriously, though, this series of books about four friends who are different but get along is perfect for illustrating how not only is it acceptable to have your own unique interests and talents, but it’s desirable – and as fun as eating jellybeans!

Honorable Mentions:
Quite a few of the books in my list of excellent books for smart girls fit into this category. Here are my favorites:

For more books about being yourself, visit No Time for Flashcards. I’ve put several of these on our to-read list!

And for more books for smart little girls, check out my list here.

How do you help your kids embrace their “weirdness”?
What are your favorite children’s books about being different?

19 Comments Children’s Books About Being Yourself

  1. Melanie August 16, 2013 at 9:13 am

    I LOVE this, Mary!!!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect August 16, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      Thanks, Melanie!!

  2. Robin Dance August 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm


    I’m trying to decide which one(s) to get my daughter for her birthday.

    (she’ll be 21 tomorrow.)


    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect August 16, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      Definitely get her the Amy Krouse Rosenthal books. I’m partial to punctuation, but Spoon is just as good as Exclamation Mark. I bet she’d love either one, 21 or not!

  3. ohAmanda August 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Not to be super spiritual but (well, I am), Max Lucado has a lot of kids books that are about this same idea–God made you who you are and that is special!

    And I feel like I have some other ideas on the tip of my tongue. But I’m too tired to remember.

    (Aren’t you glad I left a comment?)


    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect August 16, 2013 at 2:43 pm

      You are SO super-spiritual. ;) (And duh, I’m always glad when you leave a comment.)

  4. Lisa August 16, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    I’m checking these out tomorrow–thanks for the great list! Have you all read “Tacky the Penguin” yet? It’s super cute. Also, anything by Ethan Long–he is one of our favorites!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect August 26, 2013 at 11:58 am

      I haven’t, but I’ve seen it recommended a couple other times, too. I’ll look for it at the library! Thanks!

  5. Vanderbilt Wife August 16, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    I like The Princess Knight!

    Do you know Yoko by Rosemary Wells? Yoko is Japanese and gets teased because of what she eats. It’s not my favorite, but Libbie likes it a lot and it seems to fit this list!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect August 26, 2013 at 11:58 am

      I haven’t read that one. I’ll have to look for it at the library!

  6. Jessica August 16, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    This is great. I just told my son the other day that I hope he always dances unashamedly like he does now- the boy busted a major move during a play date with several friends! I love the freedom he feels now, and I’m not looking forward to him becoming self-conscious as he gets older. Also, would love to see your book lists for the other topics you mentioned…obedience in particular!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect August 26, 2013 at 11:56 am

      Oh, I love that!! I’m working on a few more book lists, but I have to admit when I mentioned obedience the only thing that was really on my mind was her devotional book. We’re really, AHEM, working on that right now, though – so I think I’ll find a few more books on this topic (and then share them)!

  7. Anna August 21, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Hmm, the Enchanted Forest series is pretty good. They’re chapter books for 4th or 5th grade, but I’ve enjoyed reading them, too.
    Cimorene is a princess, but she doesn’t like to do princessy things.

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect August 26, 2013 at 11:49 am

      Thanks for the rec, Anna. I’m going to check this series out!

  8. Hanna August 28, 2013 at 10:51 am

    I love the paperbag princess too by Munsch. Well really I love everything by Munsch.

  9. Lauren January 13, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    Visiting from The Modern Mrs. Darcy. Have you checked out A Mighty Girl website (tag line “The world’s largest collection of books, toys and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls.”)?
    It has wonderful books spanning many ages, themes and genres. I use it as a reference when looking for books for my 4yo son to pull from diverse subject matter and bring strong female protagonists into the mix. I have used it to purchase gifts and love to browse just for myself! I know this will be invaluable as my 18mo daughter grows!

  10. Carrie March 16, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    Great list! Can’t wait to check them out! “Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon” is another good one. It gets me every time!

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  12. Sarah L. May 28, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    Since I was revisiting your list of good princess books yesterday while standing in the library (we got a couple more from the list), I’ll have to do the same with this list next time. We own “Not your Typical Dragon” and I agree with it being a good read.

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