Self-Care and Healthy Habits Through Books

Engaging stories that encourage children to explore healthy foods and self-care tasks with increasing independence

Young children are learning how to take responsibility for their self-care and are developing healthy eating habits. These books are a great resource to show children different ways they can take care of their bodies by participating in daily routines and eating nutritious foods.

Today book page


Written and illustrated by Julie Morstad, this book showcases the many different choices a child might make throughout their daily routines.
Pigeon Needs Bath Cover

The Pigeon Needs a Bath!

Written and illustrated by Mo Willems, this book shows the journey of a silly and reluctant pigeon as it learns to have fun washing and getting clean.

Amara's Farm Book Cover
healthy habits

Amara's Farm

Written by JaNay Brown-Wood and illustrated by Samara Hardy, this story follows a girl around her garden as she appreciates the many unique and tasty qualities of the vegetables and fruits growing there.

Tomatoes for Neela Book Cover
healthy habits

Tomatoes for Neela

Written by Padma Lakshmi and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal, this story shows a child connecting with her family as she learns about cooking the food that nourishes them.

Please Baby Please Book Cover

Please, Baby, Please

Written by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee and illustrated by Kadir Nelson, this story spans the day of a toddler who has their own ideas about how to get daily activities done.
Up Up Up Down Book Cover

Up, Up, Up, Down

Written and illustrated by Kimberly Gee, this book shows a toddler and their caregiver getting ready for a busy day while encouraging child participation in routines.
Rah Rah Radish Book Cover
healthy habits

Rah, Rah, Radishes!

Rah, Rah, Radishes!

Written and illustrated by April Pulley Sayre, this book introduces a wide variety of vegetables using a rhythmic chant and celebrates their different looks and flavors.

1 big salad book cover
healthy habits

1 Big Salad

Written and illustrated by Juana Medina, this story introduces many nutritious fruits and vegetables that can be put together to create a delicious dish.


Key Takeaways

Encourage participation

Help children grow their self-care skills and confidence by actively involving them in the daily routines they see in the stories. Find opportunities to encourage children to participate in taking care of themselves throughout the day.

Make connections

Children will engage more around stories that connect to their interests, lives, and experiences. While reading, comment on passages that highlight connections, and ask children to share their own connections to the story.

Embrace diversity

Eating habits can be sensitive and deeply personal for everyone. Promote healthy food choices while respecting families’ cultures and values about eating preferences and habits.