Self-esteem is a word that gets thrown around fairly liberally, but it is important for kids to learn to embrace their uniqueness and to like themselves for who they are. They get so many messages from the media about having to aspire to some sort of unattainable perfection that it is important that we counter that with our own message about them being good enough just the way they are.
These messages can be even more important for kids who may feel different because of a special need or a visible difference such as a hearing aid, scarring or being significantly larger or smaller than same-age peers.
I often use books in helping me reinforce the values I am trying to teach my kids. Here are some books that help teach kids about being okay just being themselves:
Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun – This is a neat book because it lends itself to discussions on bullying, family traditions and embracing your uniqueness. Essentially, it’s a book about having the courage to be who you are, presented in a way that kids can easily understand and relate to.
I Like Myself – This is another family favourite. What parent doesn’t want their child to be able to say they like themselves?
You are Special – The underlying message in this book is that God cherishes each of us, exactly as we are, regardless of how the world perceives us or of how others treat us. It’s a long book for a read-aloud so you may want to break it into parts. Another book by the same author (Max Lucado) called If Only I Had a Green Nose reminds kids that they are created as unique for a reason.
I Love My Hair – This book obviously doesn’t apply to all kids, but if you have a daughter of African descent who struggles with liking her hair, this book is awesome! It has helped Dancing Queen to feel like her hair is another part of herself to be celebrated, not hated.
The Dot – “Just make a mark and see where it takes you.” This book helps kids discover their talents and encourages them to follow their own path.
The Skin You Live In – This is a great book about diversity and self-esteem. It is simple enough for even young children.
The rest of the books in the list above are not ones we have read yet but they seem to be ones that teach the same lesson. Are there any that you would add to the list?