Children’s Books That Promote a Growth Mindset

The term growth mindset has certainly been getting a lot of press recently, and for good reason. To put it quite simply, a growth mindset is when students understand that they can improve their intelligence and abilities through study and practice (and trial, error, and challenges). A great way to reinforce the ideas of a growth mindset with children is to read books – ideally together! These children’s books emphasize the importance of taking risks, failure, persistence and perseverance.


Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, by JoAnn Deak and illustrated by Sarah Ackerley.
This engaging book teaches kids how they can stretch and grow their brains and that making mistakes (and trying new things) is one of the best ways they can learn.


Beautiful, Oops by Barney Saltzberg.
Want your littlest ones to learn about growth mindset? This book introduces the concept of taking a mistake (A torn piece of paper, a splatter of paint) and turning them into beautiful discoveries.


Giraffes Can’t Dance, by Giles Andreae and illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees.
Gerald the giraffe is discouraged when all the animals laugh at his clumsy dance moves, but he does not give up. Children can learn a lot from this brave and determined giraffe who learns how to dance to his own music.


After the Fall, by Dan Santat.
This charming book tells the story of what happens after Humpty Dumpty gets put back together again. In an update to the classic tale, we learn how he is able to gather his courage to pick up the pieces (literally and figuratively) and overcome his fear of heights. 


What Do You Do With a Chance? by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom.
In this beautifully illustrated story, we learn about a young boy who is presented with a chance, but when he reaches for this chance, he falls. Although the chances continue to appear, the boy doesn’t try to reach for them again for fear of looking foolish. Only when the chances almost disappear, does the boy realize that he needs to reach deep within and be brave enough to seize a new opportunity. 


The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds.
What does Vashti do when she believes she can’t draw? She doesn’t take a chance on her art project and simply makes a dot on her paper. Her teachers asks her to sign her drawing and we then follow along on a memorable artistically-inspired journey about taking chances and not being afraid to fail.


Jabari Jumps, by Gaia Cornwall.
We love this sweet story about Jabari, a young boy who is so excited to jump off the diving board…until he realizes how high it actually is. Will Jabari have the courage to jump? His father’s gentle encouragement and reassurance helps Jabari find his inner strength and courage. 


Rosie Revere, Engineer, by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts.
This book offers a compelling tale about the importance of never giving up. Little Rosie dreams of becoming an engineer, but her inventions are not exactly successful. She is undeterred and never gives up, because “you can only truly fail if you quit.”

The Bad Seed, by Jory John and illustrated by Pete Oswald.
This incredibly funny book tells the story of the endearing Bad Seed. You better believe that he’s baaaaad, with a bad attitude and bad manners… but maybe, just maybe, he has the power to change himself so he isn’t so bad after all?


The Most Magnificent Thing, by Ashley Spires.
This story about a young girl and her dog, shows how even when we try our hardest to make the most magnificent thing, we sometimes keep running into obstacles but perseverance and resilience will always save the day.


Flight School, by Lita Judge.
We love reading this story about an adorable penguin who is determined to fly through the sky. Don’t worry, he’s not going to let a little thing like not being designed to fly stop him!


I Can’t Do That, YET, by Esther Cordova and illustrated by Maima Adiputri.
We love any book that teaches children the concept of not being able to do something YET. This is an important word for kids to understand, and be able to use, when learning about the growth mindset.


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