Little Nippers Top 10
by Michelle Berg
This month my pre-school class engaged in an All About Me unit and as the teacher, I needed to find books that were focused on identity, family and emotions for toddlers. What I found was an amazing amount of books available on confidence and self-esteem for all ages. The following is a list of my favorites.
10. A Bad Case of Stripes
Written and Illustrated by David Shannon. Ages 4-8.
Camilla Cream is so worried about what the other kids think of her that she refuses to eat her favorite food! Lima beans are apparently unpopular with the other kids at school and she’s afraid if she eats them she’ll be laughed at. However, her body clearly needs them as she discovers after contracting a very unusual disease; she is literally covered from head to toe in rainbow colored stripes! A Bad Case of Stripes is an amusing, spellbinding tale of self-respect like no other. As her stripes change to stars, polka-dots and checkerboard squares, Camilla realizes that being well liked is less important than being yourself.9. It’s Okay to Be Different
Written and Illustrated by Todd Parr. Ages Pre-School-Grade 28. Today I Feel Silly
This is a great book that focuses on both social and emotional development as it talks about self-acceptance, individuality and tolerance of others. I love the bright colors and simplicity of Parr’s illustrations. They successfully grab the attention of young readers. For example, on the page that reads It’s Okay to be a different color, there are two childlike images of zebras; one black and white, the other multicolored. This is a positive, feel-good book with an important message of common appreciation.
Written by Jamie Lee Curtis. Illustrated by Laura Cornell. Ages 4-8
Through a witty rhyming narrative, a young girl talks about the variety of moods she experiences day by day. Whether silly, sad, grumpy or confused she relays an acceptance of her feelings by illustrating how moods are just something that happens to everyone each and every day! This book also includes a “mood wheel” on the last page that allows the reader to change the expression on the little girls’ face; a great tool for parents and teachers to discuss the concept of emotions.7. The Family Book
Written and Illustrated by Todd Parr. Ages Pre-School-Grade 2
Discover diversity with this whimsical book as Todd Parr presents a variety of different families; some are big, others are small, some adopt children, others have one parent instead of two. But most of all Parr emphasizes that ALL families are special. Again, as with the book listed above, It’s Okay to be Different, young readers will be drawn to the simple, childlike drawings with bright colors and happy faces.6. The Skin You Live In
Written by Michael Tyler. Illustrated by David Lee Csicsko. Ages 4-8.5. The Way I Feel
Tying in self-esteem with diversity, this book teaches us that although we may all look different, we are very much the same. Tyler stresses that there are many different shades of skin and emphasizes that we are all created equal on the inside and out. This is a remarkable book that celebrates diversity with a fun lyrical narrative.
Written and Illustrated by Janan Cain. Ages 4-84. The Loveables in the Kingdom of Self-Esteem
Author, Janan Cain understands that it’s hard for little ones to express their feelings when they don’t have the words to describe them and she’s taken steps to remedy that problem with this charming and joyous word book for emotions. Lively and straightforward, this book will help alleviate frustration for both parent and child.
Written by Diane Loomans. Illustrated by Kim Howard. Ages 4-83. I Like Myself
This is a spiritually moving book that is both beautiful to read and hear. Through rhyming prose, the animals in the Kingdom of Self-Esteem offer an uplifting message of happiness and self-acceptance but furthermore remind us that we all have a gift to share in our own special way.
Written by Karen Beaumont. Illustrated by David Catrow. Ages Pre-School-Grade 2
Energetic and fun, this is indeed a wonderful tale of a young girl who has an abundance of poise and self-confidence. No matter what someone else may think or say, she’s too busy being herself to let anyone bother her. Even if she had fleas or warts or a silly snout that snorts, she still has a sense of self-worth! I applaud the author for her witty and clever narrative, as I truly love this book!2. I’m Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem
Written by Jamie Lee Curtis. Illustrated by Laura Cornell. Ages 4-81. Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon
A long time favorite of mine, this book was one of my daughter’s firsts. Curtis uses repetition and rhyme to show children how easy it is to like yourself even if you give a wrong answer in school or fall down and get hurt. My daughter's favorite line was: I’m gonna like me/when I jump up so high/I’ll twist and I’ll stretch straight up to the sky because while reading this page I would literally JUMP, TWIST, STRETCH and try to TOUCH THE SKY! My favorite line is: I’m gonna like me/’cause I’m loved and I know it/and liking myself is the best way to show it. I highly recommend this book. If you don’t have it already, purchase it today!
Written by Patty Lovell and Illustrated by David Catrow. Ages 4-8.
Molly Lou Melon was not born with grace or beauty. She is naturally clumsy, curiously short, has buck teeth and a peculiar sound to her voice. However, with encouragement from her Grandmother, she stands tall and proud, smiles frequently and sings to her heart’s content! Furthermore, she finds that the world smiles right alongside her. Illustrated by David Catrow, who is also responsible for the lively images of I Like Myself. His style is charming and vibrant, reminiscent of Dr. Seuss. This book is loved by my family as its powerful message seems to have the ability to connect with us all.
Michelle Berg is a Pre-School Teacher and author of children's book, Miss Mandy Manners. Please visit her website: www.littlenipperbooks.com