Books on: Being Different & Self-esteem

Books that promote better self-esteem and self-belief in children.

Looking after Louis
Author: Lesley Ely
Illustrator: Polly Dunbar
How this book may help: Explaining to young children how autism can affect behaviour and promoting tolerance and understanding of others.
Beautiful contemporary illustrations accompany this tale of friendship, empathy and understanding.... read more

Tags: emotions, disability, co-operation, behaviour, autism


This is Our House
Author: Michael Rosen
Illustrator: Bob Graham
How this book may help: Promoting tolerance, co-operation and acceptance. Celebrating diversity.
The story is set in an urban environment, in a playground surrounded by high-rise buildings. All... read more

Tags: co-operation, bullying, being different, diversity, prejudice, rudeness, sharing, tantrums


Amazing Grace
Author: Mary Hoffman
Illustrator: Caroline Binch
How this book may help: Inspiring children to achieve their full potential by believing that anything is possible. Promoting tolerance and acceptance and celebrating diversity. Boosting self-esteem and dealing with prejudice.
Grace adores play acting and dressing up as her favourite fictional characters. So when her teacher... read more

Tags: persistence, multicultural, gender, diversity, confidence, being different, prejudice


The Great Big Book of Families
Author: Mary Hoffman
Illustrator: Ros Asquith
How this book may help: Highlighting the fact that families come in all shapes and sizes, this book celebrates diversity, explaining how every personal situation is different. It's a good book for debunking the traditional storybook myth that happy families usually consist of mother, father and two children. It highlights how different humans are in other ways too, from the hobbies they choose, through to the way they think and what they choose to cook and eat.
The key theme running through the book is that every family is different, and that's OK. It shows... read more

Tags: single parent, multicultural, mother, grandparent, foster, father, family, diversity, being different, adoption, wheelchair


Tinysaurus
Author: Sheryl Webster
Illustrator: Jan Fearnley
How this book may help: May help a child who is feeling fed up about being the youngest and not being able to do some of the things an older sister or brother gets to do.
Tinyasaurus comes from a family of dinosaurs. He is the youngest but is fed up with getting told he... read more

Tags: brother, co-operation, emotions, family, sibling, sister


Eliot Jones, Midnight Superhero
Author: Anne Cottringer
Illustrator: Alex T.Smith
How this book may help: A great choice for a child who wears glasses (the featured hero is bespectacled). It's also a good way to discuss prejudice with children, and to encourage them to look beyond outward appearance.
By day, Eliot Jones is a very quiet boy, who spends his days reading, feeding his goldfish and... read more

Tags: being different, diversity, glasses, prejudice


This Book Belongs to Aye-Aye
Author: Richard Byrne
Illustrator: Richard Byrne
How this book may help: This entertaining book explores the idea of 'being different'. The central character has less conventional looks than his classmates, but the story reveals that his kindness and intelligence are more important than the way he looks. The book also has an anti-bullying message.
The hero of the story is Aye-Aye (an Aye-Aye is a rather curious-looking animal that lives in the... read more

Tags: being different, bullying, co-operation, friends, helping, persistence, prejudice, school


Good Little Wolf
Author: Nadia Shireen
Illustrator: Nadia Shireen
How this book may help: Although predominantly an entertaining story, this quirky picture book also explores the idea of being true to oneself and defying stereotypes. It reinforces the message that you don't need to 'go with the crowd' if the crowd's actions are not wise.
Rolf is a good little wolf who likes gentle activities like baking, helping his friends and being... read more

Tags: behaviour, being different, bullying, helping, politeness


Rabbityness
Author: Jo Empson
Illustrator: Jo Empson
How this book may help: Celebrates individuality, encourages creativity in everyone and positively introduces children to dealing with loss of any kind
Rabbit loves doing 'rabbity' things like washing his whiskers and sleeping in his burrow but he... read more

Tags: friends, bereavement, being different, loss


The Great Big Book of Feelings
Author: Mary Hoffman
Illustrator: Ros Asquith
How this book may help: A child struggling with negative emotions may find great comfort in this sympathetic, entertaining and reassuring book which explores many different feelings: happy, sad, excited, bored, interested, angry, upset, calm, silly, lonely, scared, safe, embarrassed, shy, confident, worried, jealous and satisfied.
The book is presented in bite-size chunks of information which should hold the attention of a child... read more

Tags: anger, anxiety, bullying, comfort, death, depression, emotions, fears, friends, hitting, jealousy, loneliness, loss, persistence, phobias, prejudice, sadness, shyness, violence


I'm the Happiest
Author: Anna Shuttlewood
Illustrator: Anna Shuttlewood
How this book may help: A lovely story which teaches children that the path to true happiness is to be content with what you already have. While all the other animals compete and compare, Racoon is happy to be himself.
While all the other animals are busy arguing over who is the best, only the Raccoon is happy for... read more

Tags: being different, confidence, diversity, friends, gratitude

I'm Special, I'm Me!
Author: Ann Meek
Illustrator: Sarah Massini
How this book may help: Promoting tolerance, co-operation and acceptance and celebrating diversity. May help to boost a child's self-esteem and realise that being different isn't a negative trait.
Milo is sad as his classmates have different ideas to him about what roles he should play in their... read more

Tags: friends, diversity, confidence, being different, prejudice

Our Stripy Baby
Author: Gillian Shields
Illustrator: Paula Metcalf
How this book may help: Encourages children to accept the fact that everyone is different. This book may help a child who is struggling to come to terms with having a sibling with special needs.
The characters in this book are purple alien-like creatures with coloured spots on their skin. Zara... read more

Tags: new baby, family, diversity, disability, brother, being different, behaviour, sister

Catherine's Story
Author: Genevieve Moore
Illustrator: Karin Littlewood
How this book may help: Promoting tolerance and understanding of those with physical or mental disabilities. Highlights the positive traits of disability.
This book is based on a child who suffers from a kind of epilepsy known as infantile spasms or West... read more

Tags: being different, disability, persistence

Rachel Has Eczema
Author: Jenny Leigh
Illustrator: Woody Fox
How this book may help: Informing young children about eczema and how it is commonly treated. Acknowledging the emotional and physical distress some children with skin conditions may experience and providing a positive outcome at the end of the story.
Rachel Rhino and her family have just moved house and are having lunch with the Frog family, their... read more

Tags: illness, health, eczema, treatment

It's Okay to be Different
Author: Todd Parr
Illustrator:
How this book may help: Reinforcing the view that being different is a positive thing.
From the same author as the animated TV show “Toddworld”, Todd Parr’s colourful and... read more

Tags: imaginary friend, diversity, disability, wheelchair

The Animal Boogie
Author: Debbie Harter
Illustrator: Debbie Harter
How this book may help: Celebrating diversity, providing images of children of different ethnic backgrounds and wheelchair users.
Take a trip through the Indian Jungle with the animal boogie. A catchy tune and a CD accompany this... read more

Tags: multicultural, diversity, wheelchair

Our Twitchy
Author: Kes Gray
Illustrator: Mary McQuillan
How this book may help: Highlighting that adopted children are loved unconditionally and differences between the child and the parent are not important.
Twitchy the young rabbit wonders why his parents don't hop as he does. Twitchy is shocked to find... read more

Tags: family, diversity, being different, adoption, relationships

Dad David, Baba Chris and Me
Author: Ed Merchant
Illustrator: Rachel Fuller
How this book may help: May help and support children who are being parented by gay men. Encourages an appreciation of, and acceptance of, same-sex parents, and shows that families come in all shapes and sizes. Promotes a positive view of gay relationships.
Seven-year-old Ben has a pretty ordinary life in all respects but one: he has three dads. 'Baba... read more

Tags: multicultural, friends, father, emotions, diversity, being different, anxiety, anger, adoption, prejudice

A Mother for Choco
Author: Keiko Kasza
Illustrator:
How this book may help: A good choice for adopted children living in a multi-cultural home. Promotes the view that being different from your parents is fine.
Choco is a liitle bird who lives on his own and wishes he had a mother, so he decides to go and... read more

Tags: mother, foster, family, diversity, adoption, multicultural

Monsters Not Allowed
Author: Tracey Hammett
Illustrator: Jan McCafferty
How this book may help: A story that may help children understand that if you give someone who is different a chance you may actually really like them and they can do really well in class with some self esteem.
A monster tiptoes into Fidget School one day. The monster is blue and hairy and very disruptive... read more

Tags: behaviour, co-operation, school

Maggie's Monkeys
Author: Linda Saunders-Wells
Illustrator: Abby Carter
How this book may help: Shows that having imaginary friends is nothing to be afraid of.
Maggie has a family of pink monkeys in the fridge. This doesn’t bother the rest of the family... read more

Tags: brother, co-operation, sister

Piggity-Wiggity Jiggity Jig
Author: Diana Neild
Illustrator: Philip Webb
How this book may help: This book can help a child be confident with who they are and that having something about you that is different to others, in this case your name, is to be celebrated and be proud of.
‘Piggity –Wiggity Jiggity Jig was a long sort of name for a short sort of pig.’ This little... read more

Tags: being different, prejudice

Small Florence
Author: Claire Alexander
Illustrator: Claire Alexander
How this book may help: This book may help a child to understand that if they have a special talent or something they love doing, that they can achieve their dreams.
A book about a little sister pig called Florence who loves to sing and all the other animals tell... read more

Tags: confidence, bullying, persistence

Shaun The Shy Shark
Author: Neil Griffiths
Illustrator: Peggy Collins
How this book may help: It shows shyness and being different in a positive way.
Shaun is not the usual scary shark, he is actually very shy and scared of many other sea creatures.... read more

Tags: being different, bullying, confidence, shyness

Giraffes Can't Dance
Author: Giles Andreae
Illustrator: Guy Parker-Rees
How this book may help: The story would be a good starting point for a discussion on self-esteem and persistence, or the positive side of being different. It also has an anti-bullying/acceptance message.
Gerald was a very self-conscious giraffe; he was painfully aware of his gangly legs which made him... read more

Tags: anxiety, being different, bullying, confidence, diversity, emotions, loneliness, persistence, prejudice, sadness, shyness

Everybody Matters: A First Look at Respect for Others
Author: Pat Thomas
Illustrator: Lesley Harker
How this book may help: This non-fiction picture book introduces children to the concept of respect, fair treatment and anti-discrimination. It explains that you can earn respect by being polite, honest and by listening to others: qualities that will ultimately lead to making the world a better place.
An important part of the book explains how bullies often try to force people to respect them... read more

Tags: behaviour, being different, bullying, diversity, manners, prejudice, relationships

I Don't Care!: Learning About Respect
Author: Brian Moses
Illustrator: Mike Gordon
How this book may help: The book explains what respect means and shows a child the different ways respect can be shown and received. It also explains how negative it is when you are not respected or do not respect other people.
The book begins with a boy thinking about what respect means and that if you respect someone you... read more

Tags: behaviour, being different, bullying, confidence, manners, rudeness

Invisible Isabelle
Author: Wendy Sefcik
Illustrator: Wendy Sefcik
How this book may help: This may encourage children to embrace their creativity and self-expression and not to succumb to peer-pressure and bullying.
Isabelle adored designing and creating clothes, so when she received a sewing box for her seventh... read more

Tags: being different, confidence, diversity, persistence, prejudice

Billy Back To Front
Author: Sam McCullen
Illustrator:
How this book may help: A good story to enable children to appreciate and value being different and to recognise their own individuality
Everything about Billy is back to front, he hopes one day not to be noticed by anyone but learns... read more

Tags: being different, confidence

Freckleface Strawberry
Author: Julianne Moore
Illustrator: Lelyan Plam
How this book may help: A great book to celebrate differences and be proud of what we are as individuals.
Here is a little girl who doesn't like her freckles and red-hair but finally grows to love her... read more

Tags: being different, confidence

Naughty Toes
Author: Ann Bonwill
Illustrator: Teresa Muffin
How this book may help: For any child who doesn't quite fit in
Chloe's sister, Belinda, is the perfect ballerina, in her pink and white leotard and moving... read more

Tags: being different, sister

Beegu
Author: Alexis Deacon
Illustrator:
How this book may help: A story for anyone who has ever felt lonely, lost and unloved
Beegu's spaceship is stranded on earth and she is lost and alone. She meets lots of strange... read more

Tags: anxiety, being different, diversity, friends, loneliness, sadness, separation anxiety

The Gordon Star
Author: Rebecca Patterson
Illustrator: Mary Rees
All the children in Gordon's class receive stars for being good at something. Except Gordon that... read more

Tags: behaviour, friends

Sidney Goes to School
Author: Sharon Rentta
Illustrator:
How this book may help: Children at school who may feel they aren't very good at anything or feel 'outshone' by another child in their clss and resort to bad behaviour to be noticed
Sidney is quite happy at school until Alfie the Chimp arrives. Alfie is good at everything and... read more

Tags: confidence, friends

My Friend With Autism
Author: Beverly Bishop
Illustrator: Craig Bishop
This is a book which helps children understand autism. It presents a positive picture of what... read more

Tags: autism, being different, friends

Jessica Strange
Author: Malorie Blackman
Illustrator: Alison Bartlett
Jessica lives with a family of mice, but she is very different from all the others and begins to... read more

Tags: being different

Lamb-A-Roo
Author: Diana Kimpton
Illustrator: Rosalind Beardshaw
How this book may help: A comforting look at adoption and accepting that you don't have to look alike and be the same to be loved.
Lamb wants a Maa and Kangaroo wants a baby. Lamb may look nothing like the other baby kangaroos... read more

Tags: adoption, being different, family, love, relationships

When Zeeder met a Xyder
Author: Malachy Doyle
Illustrator: Joel Stewart
Two lonely creatures looking for love find each other but initially think they look so different... read more

Tags: being different, friends

Moonbird
Author: Joyce Dunbar
Illustrator: Jane Ray
How this book may help: Showing that there are many ways of communicating between adults and children
A baby who is born to a King and Queen cannot hear or speak. His parents are devastated, thinking... read more

Tags: deafness

I Can't Hear Like You (Talking it Through)
Author: Althea
Illustrator: Bridget Dowty
How this book may help: This book should give hearing children an insight into the experiences of a deaf child. Deaf children may relate to the boy in the story.
Tom, who is a young deaf boy, narrates his story. He tells the reader how he wears a hearing aid to... read more

Tags: bullying, deafness, doctor, emotions, fears, friends, health, prejudice, school

Blue Chameleon
Author: Emily Gravett
Illustrator: Emily Gravett
Chameleon can be anything he likes, but despite that no-one wants to be his friend. Will he ever... read more

Tags: being different, friends

The Talent Show
Author: Jo Hodgkinson
Illustrator: Jo Hodgkinson
How this book may help: Supporting children who may feel they have no special gift or who are judged on first impressions.
Four friends decide to enter a talent show but don't want to include a small red bird who is keen... read more

Tags: being different, confidence, friends

Mr Big
Author: Ed Vere
Illustrator: Ed Vere
Mr Big is strong and tough and scares people, but in his heart he's just a big softy. Can he get... read more

Tags: being different, confidence, friends, loneliness, sadness

But Martin
Author: June Counsel
Illustrator: Neal Layton
How this book may help: Difference/Friendship/Fitting In
Four very different children arrive at school expecting an ordinary day but then Martin, the... read more

Tags: friends, diversity, being different, anxiety, school

Collywobble
Author: Malachy Doyle
Illustrator: Petra Brown
How this book may help: The story shows that appearances are not always as they seem. It has an underlying message that even the youngest and weakest can achieve great and unexpected things with enough determination.
Working sheepdog Bess has a litter of puppies: all are big and strong, except one (Collywobble) who... read more

Tags: being different, confidence, dog, persistence

The Sunflower Sword
Author: Mark Sperring
Illustrator: Miriam Latimer
How this book may help: A good choice of book to reinforce the message that friendship is far better than fighting. It also has a theme of acceptance, and encourages the reader not to judge people on outward appearance.
A small boy loves pretending to be a knight and slaying imaginary dragons. When he asks his mother... read more

Tags: relationships, hitting, friends, being different, violence

Eric!...the Hero?
Author: Christopher Wormell
Illustrator: Christopher Wormell
How this book may help: Any child who sometimes feels less intelligent, less capable and less successful than others will be heartened by the story of Eric who isn’t much good at anything but turns out to be a hero.
Dramatic illustrations, fairy-tale setting, a friendly narratorial voice and effective use of... read more

Tags: anxiety, autism, bullying, confidence, emotions, fears, loneliness, monsters, prejudice

Oliver
Author: Birgitta Sif
Illustrator: Birgitta Sif
How this book may help: Every child feels different and alone sometimes and all carers learn to fear the wail “I don’t have any friends”. When loneliness strikes this book is the only friend a child will need.
Birgitta Sif creates a fascinating, shadowy dream-world populated by comical, bug-eyed characters.... read more

Tags: loneliness, friends, being different, shyness

A Mummy for Owen
Author: Marion Dane Bauer
Illustrator: John Butler
How this book may help: Children who have lost a parent or experienced a change in circumstances, such as fostering or adoption, will relate to orphaned Owen and find comfort in his loving relationship with his adoptive mother, Mzee, a 130-year-old male tortoise.
For baby hippo Owen his brownish grey mummy is his whole world until one day the rains come and... read more

Tags: being different, adoption, death, emotions, family, foster, love, mother

Jump!
Author: Carol Thompson
Illustrator: Carol Thompson
How this book may help: One of a vibrant series of books (Crawl!, Jump!, Climb! and Run!) that focusses on children's love of movement.
Carol Thompson's wonderful illustrations reflect the struggles, achievements and sheer delight that... read more

Tags: deafness, disability, diversity, multicultural

Run!
Author: Carol Thompson
Illustrator: Carol Thompson
How this book may help: One of a vibrant series of books (Crawl!, Jump!, Climb! and Run!) that focusses on children's love of movement.
Carol Thompson's wonderful illustrations reflect the struggles, achievements and sheer delight that... read more

Tags: being different, disability, Down's syndrome, prejudice

Max The Champion
Author: Sean Stockdale and Alexandra Strick
Illustrator: Ros Asquith
How this book may help: Max is first and foremost a fun picture book about a sport-mad boy with a powerful imagination. It also tells us that deaf and disabled children can - and should - be included, both in stories and in life.
Sport-mad Max turns aspects of his daily routine into daydreams of major sporting events. As he... read more

Tags: being different, disability, exercise, wheelchair

Odd Bird Out
Author: Helga Bansch
Illustrator: Helga Bansch
How this book may help: Whilst generally children want to fit in with their peers many others either cannot or do not want to be like everybody else.
Robert the raven wants to wear colourful clothes and sing and dance outrageously but all the other... read more

Tags: being different, friends, persistence

Elephants Never Forget
Author: Anushka Ravishankar
Illustrator: Christiane Pieper
How this book may help: This book touches lightly on the themes of adoption, loss and integration.
A baby elephant is lost and alone in the forest, when a herd of buffaloes come along and take him... read more

Tags: adoption, being different, family

Witches and Fairies
Author: Eva Montanari
Illustrator: Eva Montanari
How this book may help: Children can sometimes form friendship circles which exclude others, which can be difficult for the children left on the outside. This book focusses on Clotilda, a little girl who doesn’t really fit into the group of fairies and group of witches she longs to play with.
Clotilda has to make do with watching them, or refereeing their races and battles. One night, the... read more

Tags: friends, diversity, confidence, co-operation, bullying, being different, prejudice

Odd Bods
Author: Steven Butler
Illustrator: Jarvis
How this book may help: By celebrating the fact that every child alive is an ‘odd bod’, with their own set of idiosyncrasies which should be accepted as the things that define them. Nobody is perfect, and who would want to be anyway?
The story, written in rhyme, runs through an alphabetical list of children and their whimsical... read more

Tags: behaviour, being different, confidence, diversity, gender, prejudice

Introducing Teddy
Author: Jessica Walton
Illustrator: Dougal MacPherson
How this book may help: This book may strike a chord with children struggling with gender identity. There are also other clear messages: accepting people for who they are/celebrating diversity and encouraging children to share worries with friends rather than keep them bottled up.
Errol and Thomas the teddy bear are inseparable friends who play together every day. Errol notices... read more

Tags: being different, diversity, friends, gender, prejudice

The Wolf Who Cried Boy!
Author: James O'Neill
Illustrator: Russell Ayto
How this book may help: Challenges preconceptions that may be associated with unfamiliar situations, and promotes tolerance of other ways of life.
On the outskirts of a village, there lives a pack of wolves. The villagers fear the wolves, and... read more

Tags: co-operation, diversity, fears, friends, prejudice

The Tigon and the Liger
Author: Keilly Swift
Illustrator: Cosei Cawa
How this book may help: Encourages the child to see differences in a positive way, whether in themselves or in others, and shows the merits of diversity.
Tyler is a tigon. His dad is was a tiger, and his mum was a lion. But Tyler feels isolated by the... read more

Tags: adoption, being different, diversity, family, friends, prejudice, shyness

Monster in the Hood
Author: Steve Antony
Illustrator: Steve Antony
How this book may help: This story tackles the fear of the unknown, and helps a child to consider that situations they might initially think are scary can turn out to be harmless, and even enjoyable. It also challenges prejudice.
Three friends (Sammi Squirrel, Henri Hedgehog and Marvin Mouse) have all heard about the “Monster... read more

Tags: prejudice, monsters, friends, fears, being different, anxiety

Be a Friend
Author: Salina Yoon
Illustrator: Salina Yoon
How this book may help: Reassures children that it is normal to be different! Encourages the reader to celebrate these differences and understand that there are other people who feel the same way, who are out there waiting for friendship, too. This story would help children with mutism or other communication issues, who struggle to relate to those around them.
Dennis is an ordinary boy, but he has unusual ways of expressing himself. His nickname is Mime Boy,... read more

Tags: friends, mutism

"Oh, No," said Elephant
Author: A. H. Benjamin
Illustrator: Alireza Goldouzian
How this book may help: Helps a child to see that not everyone is good at the same thing. Individuals have different strengths, and everybody is good at something!
Elephant and his (smaller) friends are playing together, but Elephant is struggling to keep up with... read more

Tags: being different, diversity, friends, growing up, persistence, prejudice

All Kinds of People: a Lift-the-Flap Book
Author: Emma Damon
Illustrator: Emma Damon
Publisher's summary: "Everyone is unique and this delightful lift-the-flap book celebrates all kinds of children in a..." read more

Tags: None

Tyrannosaurus Drip
Author: Julia Donaldson
Illustrator: David Roberts
How this book may help: While predominantly being a book for pure entertainment, this book also has the underlying themes of bullying, acceptance and prejudice.
Publisher's summary: "Whoever heard of a vegetarian T. rex? Everyone knows that tyrannosauruses are big and scary, so..." read more

Tags: bullying, being different, prejudice

Ruby Flew Too!
Author: Jonathan Emmett
Illustrator: Rebecca Harry
Publisher's summary: "Mother and Father Duck have five eggs in their nest and they are ALL special. Father Duck is..." read more

Tags: being different

Elmer
Author: David McKee
Illustrator: David McKee
Publisher's summary: "Elmer the colourful patchwork elephant has been a nursery favourite since this first book was..." read more

Tags: diversity

The Cow That Laid an Egg
Author: Andy Cutbill
Illustrator: Russell Ayto
How this book may help: A great choice to cheer up a child going through difficult times - they will probably be giggling out loud by the end of the book! There's also an underlying theme of acceptance, and may even strike a chord with adopted children.
Publisher's summary: "A madcap, yet moving, story about having the courage of one’s convictions, even when others doubt..." read more

Tags: adoption, foster, love, prejudice

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes
Author: Mem Fox
Illustrator: Helen Oxenbury
Publisher's summary: "Nothing is sweeter, as everyone knows, than tiny baby fingers and chubby baby toes! All over the..." read more

Tags: diversity, multicultural

Manners in School
Author: Arianna Candell
Illustrator: Rosa M.Curto
How this book may help: By encouraging children to behave in a thoughtful, polite and caring manner at school.
Publisher's summary: "The 'Manners' series shows children how to resolve small difficulties they might face in their..." read more

Tags: behaviour, bullying, co-operation, compliance, diversity, friends, hygiene, politeness, prejudice, school, sharing

Snug!
Author: Carol Thompson
Illustrator: Carol Thompson
How this book may help: A comforting board book that includes illustrations of a child wearing glasses and a wheel-chair user.
Publisher's summary: "What makes you feel snug? Is it being curled up in a blanket? Feeling safe in your cosy bed? Being..." read more

Tags: disability, diversity, glasses, wheelchair

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