Building self-esteem and self-confidence is imperative to a child’s emotional development. Without a positive self-view, children can grow to become insecure, risk-averse, and withdrawn. However, parents and caregivers can’t always shield their children from rejection. Thus, developing healthy coping mechanisms can make for self-assured adults.
Self-help worksheets and books are an excellent tool for children and adults alike. Discover the 24 best self-esteem books for all reading levels.
Best Self-Esteem Books for Kids
Are you keen on raising a confident and self-reliant child? Add these books to their libraries!
1. Dear Girl by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Dear Girl is written as a love letter to the self, gently reminding readers that they are empowered, resilient, and valuable. Alongside inspiring quotes about embracing one’s imperfections, Dear Girl features adorable illustrations.
2. It’s Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr
This picture book is a quirkily illustrated testament to the beauty of diversity. It’s perfect for younger children, with its bright colors and easy-to-digest messages of acceptance and understanding.
3. The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright
This inspiring text by Rachel Bright utilizes animal counterparts to illustrate what it means to be courageous, assertive, and expressive. It encourages children to discuss big feelings and discover what drives certain actions.
4. I Am Enough by Grace Byers
Lyrically written and beautifully illustrated, I Am Enough emphasizes self-respect and inward-facing kindness. Activist Grace Byers provides children with tips on finding their purpose and handling significant life events.
5. We’re All Wonders by RJ Palacio
From the mind of the author behind Wonder, We’re All Wonders is written for younger audiences and explores every child’s desire to belong. The book provides parents and teachers with opportunities to discuss empathy and kindness.
6. Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom by Booki Vivat
This instant New York Times bestseller is a middle-school graphic novel series that touches upon anxiety, finding a tribe, and navigating the everyday “disasters” of growing up.
7. How Full is Your Bucket by Tom Rath
How Full is Your Bucket provides an excellent road map for children learning to set their boundaries. It offers an ideal metaphor for learning to satisfy one’s own needs as much as they desire to please others.
Best Self-Esteem Books for Teens
Readers at the teenage level may just be discovering their sexuality, learning to develop long-term goals, and experiencing heartbreak for the first time. Consider these books for better equipping your child to handle a rollercoaster of emotions.
8. Just as You Are: A Teen’s Guide to Self-Acceptance and Lasting Self-Esteem byMichelle and Kelly Skeen
Teens feeling the impossible standards of living up to and outdoing their peers will benefit from the encouraging tone of this self-help book. Just As You Are provides helpful tips for quieting the critical voices in every teen’s head, breaking away from negative self-talk, and practicing mindfulness activities.
9. The Body Image Book for Girls: Love Yourself and Grow Up Fearless by Charlotte Markey
For a teenager, achieving body positivity may feel impossible. However, this book works at easing many body woes by providing hard facts on how self-care and diet culture impact mental health. In this easy-to-read book, psychologist Markey busts dozens of body image myths and provides helpful tools for nourishing the mind and body.
10. Never Fight Alone: 51 Inspiring Interviews to Help Teens Overcome Their Struggles and Improve Their Mental Health by Shelomo Solson
Teenagers today face many world-dismantling problems like bullying, divorce, assault, and mental distress. However, this book reminds them that they are far from alone and consists of interviews with athletes, authors, and other teens facing potentially similar problems.
11. Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World by Admiral William H. McRaven
Based on Admiral McRaven’s viral 2014 speech, Make Your Bed expands his motivational advice into a profound journey of hardship. The book retells the admiral’s encounters during his military service, during which he learned the art of determination, humility, and compassion.
12. This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson
Well-known fiction writer Juno Dawson steps away from her beautifully imagined world to help teens explore and accept their sexuality. This book offers helpful tips for teens discovering their gender identities and is a handy guide for parents raising LGBTQ+ kids.
13. Think Confident, Be Confident for Teens by Leslie Sokol and Marci Fox
For parents looking for something wise and witty, this book provides CBT techniques for reframing negative thoughts and entertaining confidence-building habits for teens handling tricky social situations. It’s also a workbook, so it’s perfect for children and adults working together.
Price: $19.95 on Amazon, $19.95 on Barnes and Noble
14. Blame My Brain: The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed by Nicola Morgan
Teens always hear, “Blame it on the hormones,” and this book explains why. It provides helpful direction for teens undergoing significant changes in their lives and bodies while keeping things slightly comical and approachable.
Price: $13.15 on Amazon
15. The Teenager’s Guide to Life, the Universe, and Being Awesome: Super-Charge Your Life by Andy Cope
For teenagers who often forget why they’re awesome, this book will do them a favor. It’s irreverent and hilarious, making issues like self-esteem and peer comparison more approachable.
Best Self-Esteem Books for Adults
Most parents step into the role with little to no training, which can become overwhelming for adults and children. While there’s no true parenting manual, these books can help adults become more confident in their parenting or teaching skills and themselves.
16. Good Inside by Dr. Becky Kennedy
As its title suggests, Good Inside operates on the belief that all humans are inherently good. Clinical psychologist Dr. Kennedy walks parents and teachers through the woes of caregiving and provides tips on effective child-rearing.
17. Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff
Adults, regardless of whether they are parents, often struggle with self-criticism. This book encourages more compassionate relationships with oneself and demonstrates how inward-facing kindness leads to greater resilience and well-being.
18. The Self-Confidence Workbook by Barbara Markway
Sometimes, adults need workbooks, too. This workbook provides a step-by-step approach to building confidence and caters to adults with an active learning style. It also offers a five-step program for self-acceptance.
19. Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers
Fear can keep most people from achieving their goals, whether a child or an adult. This book provides empowering insights and tools to shift problematic perspectives. With tips from author Susan Jeffers, readers can challenge self-limiting beliefs and pursue new opportunities.
20. You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
Adults need positive affirmations for self-esteem just as much as kids do. In this book, adult readers go on a journey of self-healing and transformation to achieve a better mind-body connection.
21. The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler
This book combines Eastern and Western perspectives that discuss compassion, mindfulness, and the keys to lasting happiness. It’s perfect for adults who want to discover new ideologies and refreshing methods of achieving self-acceptance.
22. What to Say When You Talk to Yourself by Shad Helmstetter
Adults who never learned positive self-talk for self-esteem may struggle to do it as they age. This book by self-help author Helmstetter helps adults challenge negative thoughts and learn more about their internal dialogue.
23. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Gretchen Rubin is a bestselling author for a reason—The Happiness Project has flown off shelves for years, providing practical tips for finding joy, becoming more self-aware, and aligning one’s life with what matters most to them.
24. Presence by Amy Cuddy
Presence is the ultimate combination of scientific research, personal stories, and practical advice for the everyday adult looking to build self-confidence. This book is perfect for learning to excel in high-stress situations like job interviews and public speaking.
Price: $19.84 on Amazon
Self-esteem isn’t always easy to achieve as a child or an adult. While it isn’t always a linear process, reading books on self-esteem can provide valuable insights and some much-needed structure.
Using our worksheets alongside your favorite self-esteem-related literature can pave the way for positive self-talk and an enriching family environment.