Thursday, 15 March 2018

45 Picture Books To Teach Growth Mindset

It's been a big week. I've been struggling with my own growth mindset in regards to teaching kids to have a growth mindset. We talk about it every day, we watch the videos, sing the songs, dissect characters, and model the self talk. We made model brains, we re-enact neurons connecting and forming stronger and stronger pathways. 

And every day I see kids give up, hesitate to try and shut themselves down. But FINALLY, a miracle has happened. I've started hearing them correct each other, and themselves. I'm starting to see that glint of determination in their eye. I'm seeing them start looking to others for reassurance and ask for insights from their friends.

It's slowly but surely starting to happen. It only took 8 weeks of pure determination and sheer stubborness, but it's finally happening. This class has resisted the growth mindset more than any other group I've worked with. But they are starting to notice the difference it makes! They are starting to celebrate each other's successes, and start working towards their own accomplishments!

So to celebrate, I've rounded up 45 of my absolute favourite picture books to teach growth mindset in the early years. You'll see many of the regulars, and hopefully, some new ones. These are listed in no particular order. Because I really couldn't rank them. I love them all. 

1. Actually I Can

This one is super sweet! Nicky Johnston has several fantastic books worth checking out... (I couldn't very well do a book round up with EVERY book to teach growth mindset, now could I? I'd never get it finished!)

Also, she's an aussie!

2. Almost

A cute story about a little boy who just wants to grow up so fast!

3. I Can Be Anything!

A sweet rhyming story about the possibilities life has to offer.

4. A is for Awesome

A rhyming alphabet story that inspires you to live life, dream big and stay awesome!

5. Everyone Can Learn To Ride a Bicycle 

This story is a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions. I love using it with my class because all of us can relate to this story! Some are experts, some are a bit wobbly, some are still using training wheels... and I still can't ride my bike.... yet! It's always powerful to talk about things I can't do yet with my class.

I'm human too, afterall.

6. Bubble Gum Brain

This one is a new favourite. I love how the use of (and lack of) colour matches up with the student book from the emotional resilience program my school uses. Talk about reinforcement!

7. I Can't Do This...

This is a simple story about not giving up. I think it's probably aimed at kids 7+, but I use it with my 5 year olds without a problem. The bonus is that they enrich their vocab because they have NO IDEA what fortitude means :)

8.  What Do You Do With A Chance?

If you loved Kobi Yamada's other two books as much as I did, you will love this story about opportunities, taking chances, falling down and getting back up again.

9. It Could Have Been Worse

This has been a long time favourite of mine. I originally bought it for my son, who was going through a bit of a negative nelly phase. I loved it so much I had to go and buy a copy for my classroom. My son still has his copy and pulls it out from time to time. A gentle reminder that one bad thing doesn't have to ruin our day, and it may not actually be as bad as it seems!

10. The Cow Tripped Over The Moon

Another one for bonus vocab- perseverance.
A fun rhyming story that helps us to remember that when we look at another person's success, we usually don't see the whole story.
Also, it has a dog puking. Gotta love that!

11. The Dot

If you don't have this one yet, just get it. You can thank me later!
It targets every frustrated perfectionist at the heart of their unhelpful thinking and flips it upside down and inside out.

12. Your Fantastic Elastic Brain

I think this one is the go-to for every growth mindset book roundup. There is a reason for it! A fun and engaging story to start education children on neuroplasticity... this story is where the growth mindset learning adventure can begin!

13. The Little Engine That Could

You just can't beat a classic.
If your kids aren't chanting "I think I can, I think I can" by the time you finish, you need to read it again!
Talk about positive self talk... and they don't even know they are doing it!

14. Thanks for the Feedback... I Think

Another gem from Julia Cook. Great for learning how to handle compliments gracefully, and to take constructive criticism like a champion (because I'm too tired to find something that further alliterates with constructive criticism...except carnivore. I'm not sure that's the message we want to send though!)

15. Gifted For Greatness

If you have ever heard Glen Gerreyn speak, you'll know that this book is going to be inspirational just because he wrote it!
Gorgeous illustrations and very simple text conveys a powerful message of determination and an amazing future.

This book, and his other new children's book (can't vouch for it- only just ordered it!) are currently ON SALE!

His books for adults are worth a good read for yourself too!

16. Giraffes Can't Dance

Gerald, you're so weird! We love Gerald and love talking about all the things that make us a little bit 'weird' or different. Afterall, it's those differences that make us unique. Without our weird bits, we wouldn't have the things that make us interesting!  Embrace and celebrate them!

There's a whole bunch of different art/craft ideas if you google, and the song on youtube is one of the QR codes from my freebie!

17. Going Places

If you like Peter Reynolds other books, you'll love this one!
Some of us like to walk on the edge. Some think outside of the box. And then some of us can't even locate the box, because we don't see it as one. Celebrate creativity!

18. I Can Handle It!

Ever met one of those kids who just can't seem to help themself?
I'm not talking lack of self control, I'm talking about actually being unable to see that they can take small actions to solve their own problems (e.g. my pencil is missing... I could look on the floor to see if I dropped it...)

This story will have them telling themselves they can handle it in much the same way as The Little Engine That Could has them telling themselves that they can do it!

19. What Do You Do With An Idea?

Well, What DO you do with it!? You let it grow and change the world, of course!

20. Incredible You

Short, sweet and on point.

Plus it rhymes. I love rhyming stories!

21. Ish

I might just be the queen of being okay-ish.
A lovely story demonstrating that where you are on your journey is wonderful.  Perfection is overrated.

22. The Most Magnificent Thing

The power of perseverance, apparent failure and mistakes wrapped up in some awesome STEAM vocab.

23. A Perfectly Messed Up Story

This story may have been written about me. Just sayin..

Mistakes, a thwarted story and spills and messes everywhere!

24. The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes

In stark contrast, this story was definitely not written about me! This fun story helps children to see that it's okay to make a mistake... even when other people are watching!

25. Mistakes That Worked

Nothing more inspiring that a whole bunch of mistakes that made the world a better place!

26. A Muddle of Mistakes

Because mistakes are where the learning happens! Again, this one seems like it's aimed at a slightly older audience, but my class had no trouble unpacking it whatsoever.

27. Nobody's Perfect

A good reminder for us all, with super cute illustrations too!

28. No Excuses!

In life, there are people who want to help you to succeed, and people who will tell you all the reasons why you can't. You get to choose who you listen to.

29. The OK Book

There  is nothing 'ok' about this book. It's just awesome!
Gotta love a book that turns itself upside down and inside out just for the fun of it!

30. A Little Bit of Oomph!

A bit of grit goes a long way...
I love Barney Saltzbeg's style! This is another favourite, along with ...



31. Beautiful Oops!

A great message, but I have had to use a lot of sticky tape repairing some of the moving parts in this one. It is definitely a kid-favourite!

Again, the song in my QR code freebie is awesome!

32. The Paper Bag Princess

Can't beat girl power in this version of a fairytale gone wrong.
One of my all time favourites by Robert Munsch.

33. Nobody's Perfect

Aimed at slightly older readers, this chapter book follows Sally through her journey  of perfectionism.

34. Oh, The Places You'll Go!

A fun (if not a little long) story highlighting the ups and downs that we'll go through in life. Such a good message. John Lithgow has done a brilliant read aloud on youtube.

35. What Do You Do With A Problem?

A brilliant take on avoiding problems and also discovering possibilities.

36. Rosie Revere, Engineer

This whole series is great. Set goals, dream big, girl power.

37. Perfect Square

Once the square experienced creativity, it found the confines of being in it's normal shape uncomfortable.

38. How to Catch A Star

The power of persistence!

39. Old Tracks, New Tricks

Another new favourite! It may be worth popping in to Kmart to grab a cheap train set, because you're going to want to allow kids (or yourself.. *ahem*) to draw, paint and otherwise decorate your tracks!

40. Unstoppable Me!

Take risks, enjoy the moment and live life to the fullest!
Pretty much everything Wayne Dyer has written for children has been epic!

41. A Walk In the Rain With a Brain

Learning more about how our brains work in a fun story is one of my favourite things!

42. Wilma Jean the Worry Machine

Yet another brilliant story focussing on overcoming negative human emotions from Julia Cook!

43. The Wonderful Things You Will Be

A beautiful story with lovely illustrations focussing on the potential of our lives.

44. The Worst Day of My Life

Another Julie Cook masterpiece showcasing the power of our thinking!

45. I Can't Do That, YET

This story models the power of YET and realising potential.

BONUS 46. After the Fall

Because your new favourite growth mindset book arrives the day after your post is published! I'll never think of this rhyme the same way ever again! I have big STEAM plans for this story...

So there they are! Are there any I have missed that you would include in the list? I'd love to hear in the comments below!

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