Because all children deserve to learn how to love themselves.
Up until recently, I could not fully wrap my head around self-love. Sure, I could speak to the buzz words, I dabbled in affirmations from time to time, and I bought (but never actually wrote in) the journals. I understood on a very surface level what the concept was all about. But I never truly felt it. It took years of introspection and self-discovery to truly know what it felt like to love myself.
Now, if you are like me, you may ask: is self-love really something that can be taught? Or do each of us need to travel our own journey, have our own life experiences, and draw our own conclusions to get there?
My answer to that question? I’m not sure, but why not try?!
If there is any possibility that our efforts to teach our young children to have a healthy self-esteem will stay with them later down the road, I say we take our chances.
As you may or may not know, I am in the process of publishing my first children’s picture book, and its overarching message is one of self-love (surprise!). Over the course of many, many, MANY hours researching the children’s book industry, formatting guidelines, and the publishing process, I’ve picked apart hundreds of picture books. And I’ve been delighted to see so many wonderful books out there on this very topic!
Clearly, I am far from alone in wanting to spread this positive message to children everywhere. And, naturally, I’ve racked up a few favorites that I feel are worth sharing. So, if you are of a similar mindset and are on the hunt for the next book to read to the little one(s) in your life, check out my suggestions below.
Title: You Matter Author: Christian Robinson Target Age Group: 4–8 Christian Robinson manages to sum up a substantial message with just a few words. He uses clear and simple text coupled with eye-catching illustrations to get his hammer his point home: No matter what happens or where life takes you, you matter.
Title: Hooray for You! Author: Marianne Richmond Target Age Group: 4–8 This adorable book captured my attention right away with its fun and vibrant illustrations. It sold me with its beautiful message of self-love, and, as the subtitle captures perfectly, a “celebration of you-ness”.
Title: I AM ME Author: Susan Verde Target Age Group: 0–2 One of the things I love about this book — aside from its exciting color scheme and use of fun fonts — is that before diving into the concept of loving oneself, it first introduces the feeling of insecurity we so often have when comparing ourselves with others. This is one of a whole series of similar picture books written by Susan Verde, and I would recommend checking out all of them.
Title: I am Amazing! Author: Alissa Holder Target Age Group: 0–2 This book takes us on a journey with its main character, Ayaan. At first, he is blissfully confident in himself and his abilities, but when he is met with criticism, he confides in his father to work through his conflicting feelings. It is a heartwarming story that not only encourages self-love, but also being kind to others.
Title: I Like Myself! Author: Karen Beaumont Target Age Group: 0–3 How can I sum up my love for this book? It just makes me smile! With its adorably exciting illustrations, and a lovably imperfect main character, its message is strong and clear: just like yourself! You are not perfect, and you will make mistakes, because that is part of being human. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to like yourself despite any perceived “flaws”. Bonus: you may also find this one in a board book format for younger kiddos.
As I said before, I’ll take any chance I can get to help my son develop a healthy self-esteem. If you’re like me, you’ll want to read these amazing books to your children, too!
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Looking for childhood self-esteem resources? Head over to the Resources section of our site for FREE coloring pages and worksheets, and don't forget that the Proud to Be Me Activity Book is packed with fun activities to help children understand and build confidence. Check it out here!