As teachers, we can help students feel more confident with self-esteem book activities in the classroom. Try these social-emotional activities that go along with important children’s books in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.
Engaging Activities and Children’s Books on Self-Esteem
Remember when you decided to become a teacher? Some of us decided when we were young, others right before college, and some even changed careers. But we all have had to step into a classroom for the first time and teach. It takes a lot of confidence to teach students, run a classroom, and know that we are doing the right thing for our students.
I’ll be the first to admit that when I had to do my teaching internship and teach under a veteran teacher, I had plenty of self-doubts. I felt like I had no idea how to control the class and wasn’t sure I was teaching the standards correctly. My self-esteem was pretty much non-exist when I began teaching. But, after getting into the groove and working alongside my mentor, I realized I could do it.
Students walk into a classroom daily with varying levels of confidence. It can be very challenging for some students to have a growth mindset each day, but we can help build students’ self-esteem every day. We can develop their confidence with self-esteem activities that fit perfectly into our curriculum, like reading and discussing children’s books on self-esteem.
5 Children’s Books on Self-Esteem
I LOVE children’s books and how helpful they are in the classroom. These five social-emotional learning children’s books help teach self-esteem and confidence.
1. Perfectly Norman
Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival is a beautiful book about a boy who has always been “normal” until he grows a pair of wings. He tries to hide them, afraid of what others will think, but he soon realizes it’s ok to be unique.
This book helps students realize that everyone is different and it is ok to show your true self!
Self-Esteem Book Activities to Use with Perfectly Norman
- Perfectly Norman Writing Prompt– After talking about the importance of being different and being yourself, complete a writing prompt titled “Perfectly NAME” with ways that they are different, special, and important.
- Perfectly Me Poem – Have children write a poem about themselves using their ideas and those from the anchor chart lesson. For example, “I am strong when climbing the monkey bars and have courage when alone in the dark.”
- Being Myself Role-Playing Scenarios- Read the scenarios and ask kids to role-play how they would act and be themselves if faced with certain scenarios. Then ask students to share how they would feel if they faced those situations.
- Am/Am Not Sorting Activity– Sort cards with different ways kids define themselves under the headings ‘I Am’ and ‘I Am Not’. It is important to discuss that there is no right or wrong answer for how someone identifies themself. Everyone is different, and we need to embrace our differences. Also, point out that the definitions are fluid and can change. For example, “I am fast and like to run.” or “I am quiet and like to spend time alone.” could go under either the ‘I Am’ or ‘I Am Not’.
2. The Smart Cookie
The Smart Cookie by Jory John is one book in the Food Group series. She has never felt like a smart cookie and often compares herself to cupcakes and rolls in the bakery. Eventually, she learns that perfect scores and having all answers are only part of intelligence.
This book is perfect for students who need a sprinkle of confidence.
Self-Esteem Book Activities to Use with The Smart Cookie
- Smart Cookie Writing Prompt– Following your class discussion, talk to students about what it means to be smart. Complete the writing prompt, “I am a SMART cookie,” or write a recipe for a Smart Cookie using the acronym or their ideas.
- Confident Cookies– Put positive tasks that build self-esteem on cookie cutouts. Pull out the confident cookies and read them to individual kids, or have kids pull out a cookie when they need a confidence boost. Grab these for free below!
- Smart Cookie Journal- Encourage kids to reflect on what they can do and what happens when they try something new. They record their thoughts and experiences in the Smart Cookie Journal. Suggest a prompt like, “Today, I was a smart cookie when…” to guide writing or create your own using the blank writing pages—a great way to create a self-esteem journal.
- Cookie Certificate– Praise children for their many efforts in school to try their best and be who they are. Award them a “Smart Cookie Certificate.”
3. Thelma the Unicorn
Thelma the Unicorn by Aaron Blabey is about a horse who pretends to be a glamorous unicorn and what happens when she rises to instant international stardom. But, after a while, Thelma realizes that she is happier as her ordinary, sparkle-free self. She ditches her horn and sparkles and returns home, where her best friend is waiting for her!
A joyful book that shows students it’s ok to be who you are!
Book Activities to use with Thelma the Unicorn
- Thelma The Unicorn Writing Prompt– After reading and talking about how mistakes are good and help us learn. Complete a writing prompt, “Just Me” or “I am Special…”.
- Thelma Directed Drawing- Draw a unicorn using step-by-step directions. After drawing a unicorn, have students add details and color it to make it unique and representative of themselves.
- Self-Love Cards– Create cards that include positive messages we should say to ourselves to show ourselves love, patience, and respect. Hand out cards to kids when they need a little extra. Positive affirmations are helpful for all students.
- Unicorn Craftivity– Print a unicorn head template on cardstock and cut it out. Attach strips of colored paper to the unicorn’s mane. On each strip of hair, write a different thing that makes them unique. Hole punch the top and hang using string or ribbon, or create a bulletin board display.
4. Be You
The book Be You by Peter Reynolds is a joyful reminder that every kid is different and teaches patience, persistence, and truth. It encourages all students to “be your own work of art.”
Self-Esteem Activities to use with Be You
- Be You Writing Prompt- After talking about character traits and ways to be themselves, complete the writing prompt “Be NAME” or write an acrostic poem, “I am [TRAIT] when…”
- All About me Craftivity & Self-Portrait- Decorate a boat template, cut it, and glue it to the bottom of a sheet of paper. Draw a picture or take a photo of oneself inside the boat. Draw balloons coming up from the boat. Inside the balloons, write personal traits. Draw clouds, color, or paint the picture with a blue background for the sky.
- Self-Esteem Challenge Calendar- Challenge students to perform self-esteem activities each day. They can perform and record a self-esteem activity of their choice for different days of the month or color in one of the acts listed on the self-esteem calendar.
- Be Me Task Cards– Print and cut a set of task cards for each child or create one set for the class. Each card has a specific task on it that relates to a character trait and adjective from the book. For example, Be Adventurous – Go for a walk outside to someplace you’ve never been. Use the cards as you see fit or when you want to encourage kids to grow and develop certain traits.
5. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell is a book about Molly Lou Melon, who is short, clumsy, has buck teeth, and has a voice like no one else’s. But she doesn’t mind. Her grandmother has always given her good advice to walk proud, smile big, and sing loudly, and she takes that advice to heart. But she soon starts at a new school, and a bully begins to pick on her the very first day. Molly Lou knows what to do!
This book is about having positive thoughts about yourself, even during a difficult time, and having the confidence to stand up for yourself.
Activities to use with Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
- Stand Tall Writing Prompt– Writing is always a great way to help student internalize their thought. After discussing the differences between inside and outside traits, complete a writing prompt, such as “Stand Tall, NAME.”
- Confidence Quotes- Read quotes about being confident, then have students select a poster to color and hang in the room to remind students of their meaning.
- Stand Tall Foldable Pamphlet- Create a pamphlet detailing oneself and what makes one unique and special. Have students color and decorate. Then everyone can share them with the class or a special someone.
- Special Someone Letter– Think of someone special that has done something helpful or meaningful (i.e., mom, dad, grandparent, sibling, teacher, etc.). Write a letter to that person thanking them for what they did. Describe what they did and how it made an impact. Send the letter to that special person.
More Self-Esteem Books
Self-Esteem Activities for Students
Free Self-Esteem Confidence Cards
These self-esteem confidence cards are the perfect tool for students who need a confidence boost!
Click below to grab your free cards!
Self-Esteem Book Companion Lessons & Activities
Try these self-esteem book companions and lessons by Proud to be Primary. You will have everything you need to lead informative lessons that support students as they practice self-esteem and, above all build their confidence.
More Self-Esteem Ideas and Activities
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