12 Books About Self-Esteem and Confidence

Sometimes teaching self-esteem and confidence can be difficult. Sure, we might start with identifying strengths and weaknesses, but self-worth is so much more complex than that. It also includes skills like assertive communication and mindset. Below is a list of 12 books about self-esteem and confidence that I enjoy using with my students and would recommend!

Books about self-esteem and confidence

When I want to work on self-esteem and confidence with my littlest ones, this book works best!  It’s a story about numbers, featuring the main character, Zero.  Zero believes all of the other numbers have worth except him.  He tries to twist and bend to turn into a different number, but it doesn’t work.  He has to find his worth on his own, and in the end, he does – in a fabulous way.  I would recommend this book for PreK-2nd.

This is such a cute book!  It follows Humpty Dumpty after his fall.  He talks about his new fears because of it, and how they are keeping him from doing some of the things he loves.  In the end, he finds confidence and is able to try again, even though it is scary.  This book would be great for a student who went through something, made a mistake, or had an accident happen, and is afraid it could happen again.  I would recommend this book for PreK-2nd.

Sometimes we may work with students who have perfectionist tendencies. A student who doesn’t like making mistakes, erases and rewrites work, has trouble transitioning when not finished, etc. may be struggling with self-esteem or confidence. Some of the books I’ve listed in this post are especially great for these students.  I love this particular book for a more interactive lesson.  Each page can be manipulated in some way, making it really engaging.  The general idea of this book is that you can always find a way to make your mistake beautiful or make the best of it.  I would recommend this book for Prek-3rd.  In need of interventions for the perfectionist? I’ve outlined some here.  

In this book, the main character is afraid to leave his comfort zone, a tree.  He prefers to stick with what is familiar instead of ever trying anything new.  This concept is important because it can help encourage our students to grow and experience new things.  It can also help them find their true potential.  This book fits best for Prek-2nd.


There is a difference between self-esteem and confidence.  Self-esteem is how someone feels about themselves and confidence is how someone feels doing a particular skill or in a particular situation.  They both overlap in many ways, but sometimes our students may need to work more on one than another.  For teaching confidence, this book is adorable.  It’s about a boy who wants to jump off of a high diving board at the pool.  He makes it up the ladder but decides to climb down, giving many different reasons along the way.  It’s obvious he is nervous, and his dad gives him great advice, including deep breathing.  I would recommend this book for K-2nd.

I love this book for accepting yourself, your differences, and working on a positive mindset.  This book is filled with positive affirmations.  Each page gives a different comparison to help students realize how great they are and the potential they have.  I would recommend this book for K-3rd.

This is another great book for students who are hard on themselves or are afraid of making a mistake.  The main character is actually known for never making mistakes.  Not only does she end up making her first mistake, but a big one, in front of a lot of people.  Fortunately, this is just what she needed to happen.  She chooses to laugh it off and embrace any other mistakes.  I would recommend this book for K-3rd.

You can use this book to teach many different things relating to self-esteem and confidence.  It mostly focuses on self-acceptance and remembering that everyone has a heart and feelings, even if they are different.  What I love most about this book is that it includes examples of looking different and being interested in different things.  Because students care more about the opinion of their peers as they get older, I believe addressing both appearance and interests is important.  At the end, it even talks about having the courage to stick up for yourself but still do the right thing if that person has been mean. I would recommend this book for 1st-3rd.

When working with students on self-esteem, assertive communication is such an important piece.  This book is perfect for that!  It covers everything from voicing your opinion when you disagree, boundaries for personal space, safety, speaking out against injustice, and so much more.  It also gives examples of how to say “no” in a variety of ways.  This book should be included in every social-emotional library at the elementary level.  I would recommend this book for 1st-4th.

Helping our students become more aware of their thoughts and mindset is also important when working on self-esteem and confidence.  This book explains the idea of a growth mindset and a fixed mindset through 2 different characters.  Each page shows them experiencing the same thing but how it can look and feel different depending on your mindset.  Students are able to grasp the concept easily with this book and I often see them referring to it.  I would recommend this book for 1st-5th.

In this book, the main character generally feels unhappy and depressed.  The book does a great job of defining these emotions.  It includes symptoms of feeling down and on some days too high, how the person might have felt before, and things that could be causing them to feel that way.  A few things to note: The word depressed is actually used throughout, so you may need to paraphrase if that is not appropriate for your student population.  The end of this book also mentions going to the doctor and receiving a prescription, so that may need to be modified as well.  For the right student, this book can be very helpful.  I would recommend this book for 2nd-5th.

This is another book about an overall sense of feeling worthless and dragged down by feelings of unhappiness.  It explains that everyone has a purpose, “gifts” to share, and if you are feeling down to ask for help.  It also talks about helping others, if they seem to be feeling unhappy too, and how that could help you both.  I would recommend this book for 2nd-5th.

I hope you found this list of books about self-esteem and confidence helpful! Any that I missed?

Take care,

Kylie

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