Developing Self-Confidence Through Books

Stories that are great confidence-boosters and teach important lessons about believing in oneself

Young children thrive when they feel confident and excited to explore new ideas and try new things. In this series of selected books, young children get an opportunity to see how they can be confident, be daring, and make a difference. Here are a few of our favorites.

We Are Water Protectors book cover image
Developing Self-Confidence

We Are Water Protectors

Written by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade, this book features a young girl who takes a stand to protect the water and other creatures. It focuses on having the courage to stand up for your beliefs and being able to persevere when things become challenging.
Illustration from the book The Day You Begin
Developing Self-Confidence

The Day You Begin

Written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael López, this book features children who feel different because of their skin color, home language, or the food they bring for lunch. But they find the courage to connect with others and make new friends.

Image from The Magnificent Thing book
Developing Self-Confidence

The Most Magnificent Thing

Written and illustrated by Ashley Spires, this story depicts a little girl and her dog assistant who set out to build “the most magnificent thing.” This story is about frustration, perfectionism, and the value of trying new things and persevering through challenges.
Image from the book Hands Up!
Developing Self-Confidence

Hands Up!

Written by Breanna McDaniel and illustrated by Shane Evans, this story portrays a Black girl growing up through everyday moments of joy, love, and sadness. This story turns the phrase “hands up” on its head to empower Black children and celebrate that confidence is built through simple everyday moments.
Image from The Magical Yet Book
Developing Self-Confidence

The Magical Yet

Written by Angela DiTerlizzi and Lorena Alvarez, this story describes the Yet, a companion that we all have. It shows children that the frustrating and discouraging moments we face when learning something new can be turned into an opportunity for growth.

Image from Jabari Jumps book
Developing Self-Confidence

Jabari Jumps

Written and illustrated by Gaia Cornwall, this story features a young boy who is scared to jump off the diving board. But, with some encouragement from his dad, Jabari finds the confidence to jump!
Violet's Music book cover image
Developing Self-Confidence

Violet's Music

Written by Angela Johnson and illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith, this story follows Violet as she tries to find others who enjoy music as much as her. Violet confidently marches to the beat of her own drum until she stumbles across some new music-loving friends just like her!
Image from the book Don't Touch My Hair
Developing Self-Confidence

Don't Touch My Hair

Written and illustrated by Sharee Miller, this book teaches readers about the importance of setting personal boundaries. Aria gains the confidence to say ‘No’ when others ask to touch her beautiful hair.
Illustration from the book After the Fall
Developing Self-Confidence

After the Fall

Written and illustrated by Dan Santat, this is the after-story of the infamous Humpty Dumpty. After his fall, the egg was scared to do the thing he loved most. This inspiring story illustrates how self-confidence can help you fly.
Image from Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match book
Developing Self-Confidence

Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match

Written by Monica Brown and Illustrated by Sara Palacios, this story features a creative, unique, multiracial girl who is constantly told she does not match. With support from her educator, Marisol learns to feel confident and proud in sharing her own ideas and preferences!
Image from Awesomely Emma book
Developing Self-Confidence

Awesomely Emma

Written by Amy Webb and Merrilee Liddiard, this book tells the story of a young girl with limb differences who shows everyone that different doesn’t mean bad. Her message is an important one around empathy, advocacy, and feeling awesome in your own skin!

Image from Super Satya Saves the Day book
Developing Self-Confidence

Super Satya Saves the Day

Written by Raakhee Mirchandani and illustrated by Tim Palin, this is the story of a little girl who learns that her beloved hero cape is not the sole source of her confidence. She learns that her bravery and generosity come from within!
Book cover for I Can, Can You?
Developing Self-Confidence

I Can, Can You?

Written and photographed by Marjorie W. Pitzer, this book features children showing confidence and pride in their abilities.
Cover image for the book Little You
Developing Self-Confidence

Little You

Written by Richard Van Camp and illustrated by Julie Flett, this book is about a family celebrating their little one as they explore the world. The story encourages autonomy as the child explores independently and with their family.

Cover image for the book What I like about me
Developing Self-Confidence

What I Like About Me!

Written by Allia Zobel-Nolan and illustrated by Miki Sakamoto, this book shows children feeling confident in their personal traits, ideas, and abilities. Use it to encourage self-confidence in individual thoughts and actions.


Key Takeaways

Make space to share stories

When children feel confident, they know that what they say or what they want matters. Educators can use story time to encourage children to express their ideas and share their own stories.

Frame challenges as opportunities

Children build self-confidence when they see challenging tasks as opportunities to grow and practice, rather than something to avoid. Educators can highlight characters’ challenges as opportunities to try new things and learn new skills.

Point out persistence

Children build self-confidence when educators acknowledge their efforts. Educators can point out times when characters persist through challenges and celebrate their efforts more than their successes.