Be Yourself Books for Kids Who are Lovely, Just as They Are


I just love compliments from my little ones. Recently one child said, “Ooh, Mama, the purple lines on your legs are so pretty!”

Thanks kid, really.

This moment reminded me of a mom I knew when I was younger and purple-line-less who used to joke that whenever her kids began a compliment, she would run away before they could finish. “Mom you look beautiful [Mom wearing fishnet hose runs away], like Spiderman!” “Mom you look awesome [Mom wearing go-go boots runs away], like a Power Ranger!”

I wish I could bottle up that ability to like what you like for whatever reason you like it (purple is a pretty color, after all) and swallow it whole. But I’ll take the closest thing – these BE YOURSELF books, celebrating unique individuals who like what they like and who are who they are.

Now excuse me, while I re-read some Brene Brown.


The Junkyard Wonders is just one Polacco’s many masterfully told stories, so feel free to check out her entire shelf in the P’s at your local library when you look for this one. Her picture books are generally long (which is ideal if you are reading to a mixed age group) and can sometimes be heavy (this one is), so be sure to preview before you read with your littles. Her books are worth reading more than once, so you won’t be sorry. I still remember reading one of Patricia Polacco’s books for the first time in elementary school. She has that effect.


The parents in I Love My Colorful Nails are pure gold. And if you aren’t misty-eyed with happy tears at the end of this one, you may need to visit Oz.


Kobi Yamada and Mae Besom’s What Do You Do With an Idea? is a New York Times Best Seller for a reason. Every page is beautiful and it will no doubt give many children the confidence boost they need to take risks and let their inner creative out.


Every page of Pearl is a piece of art. You’ll be tempted to rip them out and frame them. Don’t! I bet Molly Idle sells prints.


I Am Small,  and Oliver: The Second-Largest Living Thing on Earth are perfect for any kid who plays the comparison game.


Another Oliver, finding his place in the world!


I don’t even need to sell Julian is a Mermaid. Look at that cover. It’s perfect.


Check out Julian’s kindred spirit Morris, too!


Ideal in its simplicity, Red is a fabulous intro book on this topic but is great for any age (including mine – I loved it).


Work that fabulous neck, Edward!


Pair Perfectly Norman with the short story “The Flyers of Gy” by Ursula Le Guin for your next family book club (the Flyers link will take you to Lavar Burton’s short story podcast, which will radically change your next commute or workout session).


Happy reading and remember there is no one alive who is you-er than you.






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