Be Yourself! 12 Picture Books that Encourage Individuality

Book Roundup, Picture Books
12 Picture Books About Individuality. Books that make kids feel special.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard the two-word phrase of advice, “be yourself”. But celebrating your own individuality is easier said than done. Sometimes, you feel like you don’t fit in. Other times, you feel invisible or like there’s nothing unique about you.

Being yourself IS the best way to make friends and feel good about yourself, but how do you do that?

Most kids (and many adults) struggle with this to some degree. When my kids need to be reminded that they’re special, we read these books.

12 Picture Books About Individuality. Books that make kids feel special.


Picture Books About Individuality


Thelma the Unicorn by Aaron Blabey. Picture books for kids to read about individuality and self-esteem. Books that help kids accept themselves. Books about self-acceptance. Grass is greener books for kids. | batchofbooks.comThelma the Unicorn by Aaron Blabey

Thelma wants to be a unicorn. With the help of a strategically placed carrot, some paint, and some glitter, she manages to fool everyone into thinking she is one.

At first, it’s great. She’s famous and adored. But soon, Thelma realizes that fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

I loved the way Thelma realized what was truly important and how she learned to accept herself by the end. It’s a nice “the grass isn’t always greener” lesson that kids (and adults) often need to be reminded of.

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Leaping Lemmings by John Briggs, illustrated by Nicola Slater

Larry isn’t like the other lemmings. They all think the same, act the same and look the same. Larry is different, and he sticks out like a sore thumb. However, Larry’s refusal to conform may be the thing that saves the lemmings from an undesirable end.

I love books about individuality. Leaping Lemmings celebrates our differences and encourages kids to find their own voice. It shows us that being unique is a good thing, and it may help others feel brave enough to embrace their own individuality as well.

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Peas in a Pod by Tania McCartney, illustrated by Tina Snerling

When five little girls get tired of always being the same, they take matters into their own hands. Even though they are quintuplets, they are still unique individuals with their own dreams, desires, and personalities.

My kids love this book, and I can’t blame them. It’s a simple story, written with short, simple sentences and beautiful illustrations. It celebrates individuality and personality.  It delivers the subtle message that everyone is unique, even if others don’t see you that way.

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Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

Some books are just destined to be classics.  This is one of them.  I had a good laugh with my kids when Mr. Tiger takes things “too far”. I also like the way he doesn’t totally give up his old life. He just needs a change, and so he crosses over to
the wild side for a bit.

This book is really cute and will appeal to kids ages 2 and up.  Definitely a must-have book for any kid’s home library!

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Naked Trevor by Rebecca Elliott

Naked Trevor is a picture book about a little bird that doesn’t want to wear his bird feathers, so he goes in search of something else to wear. His mishaps also manage to give him a unique outfit that other birds soon want to imitate.

I read this book to my kids and they loved it. They especially liked the flaps and the slightly irreverent humor. I liked the bright, vibrant colors and the style of the illustrations. It’s a cute book about being yourself and embracing your individuality.

Amazon >>


Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts

Rosie is a secret engineer. She became embarrassed after she felt like other people were laughing at her and decided to hide her talent for building things.

This story is an uplifting tale of a quirky young girl learning to accept herself, gain some confidence, and keep forging ahead. Rosie’s story is similar to those of a lot of children. She’s shy and tends to beat herself up for things she perceives as failures.

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Ursa’s Light by Deborah Marcero

This is a picture book about passion, dreaming, hard work, and following your heart. It’s a beautiful, simple story about a determined young bear pushing aside her doubt and the negativity of others to let herself shine. Ursa’s Light is perfect if you are looking for an uplifting book about following your dreams, working hard to reach your goals, and accepting yourself the way you are.

Amazon >>



The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein

“It” is missing a piece and sets off in search of it. After trying out a few pieces, it finds the one that fits perfectly. But sometimes having a missing piece is more fun than having everything perfect.

Other than adoring everything that Shel Silverstein ever wrote, I love this book because of its positive message. It’s about that incomplete feeling we all have and the constant search for something that’s missing. But when we finally locate that missing piece, we often discover we were happier without it.

This is a beautiful story about self-acceptance, adventure, and enjoying the journey of life.

Amazon >>


Storybook Knight by Helen Docherty, illustrated by Thomas Docherty | batchofbooks.comThe Storybook Knight by Helen Docherty, illustrated by Thomas Docherty

Leo doesn’t need adventure – he gets all the excitement he needs from reading. His parents decide he needs to get out and fight a dragon, so they arm him with a sword and shield and send him off. Being a bookworm, Leo naturally takes a big stack of books with him. He meets many creatures along the way, shares his books, and tames the dragon.

This is a sweet story and a wonderful companion to The Snatchabook. It’s a great reminder that dragon taming is different for everyone. If you stay true to yourself and follow your heart, you can be a hero in your own way.

Amazon >>


Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el, illustrated by Tim Bowers

Crispin can’t breathe fire like the other dragons. Instead, when he opens his mouth, everything from marshmallows to party streamers come out! Ashamed, Crispin runs away and meets a young knight also searching for his place in the world.

I love the message in this children’s book. Most people feel like an outcast at one point or another, in search of a place to belong. No Ordinary Dragon reassures kids and helps them understand that being different isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes, the very thing that makes you different can save your bacon.

Amazon >>

You Are Special by Max Lucado

Don’t read this book without a box of tissues nearby.

This is such a beautiful story. Punchinello is an outcast who decides he doesn’t want other people’s opinions to affect him. It gets my kids to tear up every time we read it. I love the message of faith and hope. It’s one of the best picture books about individuality and self-esteem that I own.

Amazon >>



Franklin Fibs by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark

When Franklin’s friends start bragging about the amazing things they can do, Franklin feels like he doesn’t measure up—so he lies. He tells a whopper that is so outlandish, nobody believes him. When he finally decides to tell his friends the truth, he realizes that he has a special talent he can be proud of.

Franklin is a favorite character for many kids (including mine) and we love reading about his many exploits. His experiences resonate with my kids. Franklin Fibs is a great example of a child learning to accept himself and be proud of his unique abilities. It’s also a great lesson in being truthful.

Amazon >>


The Race to the Beach! by Anna Shuttlewood

When all the zoo animals want to have a swimming contest, Giraffe decides to sit it out, even though the other animals tease him. We soon find out why Giraffe didn’t want to participate — and the reason may surprise you.

My kids and I love this book. Giraffe didn’t let the other animals ruffle him. He knew that his particular skills might be needed and he didn’t let peer pressure get to him.  Because of his level head and courage, the other animals learn to respect him.

Amazon >>


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  • Reply
    Cait @ Paper Fury
    November 30, 2016 at 4:05 am

    Oh oh this list is SO HELPFUL because I take my preschooling niece/nephew to the library every week and I’m always wondering what books to get out. hehe. These sound amazing! I’m going to see if our library has them. I already love You Are Special and now I’m eyeing those dragon ones…😂 DRAGONS FTW. Must get the small children loving them as well. ;D

    • Reply
      Dena at Batch of Books
      November 30, 2016 at 8:17 pm

      These books are all so precious! And yes, you TOTALLY need to indoctrinate your niece/nephew and get them loving dragons. It’s the only way they’ll grow up happy. 😉

  • Reply
    Adriana Garcia
    December 4, 2016 at 1:03 am

    The Missing Piece! Oh I know that book well. I love that you have a selection of books to remind your kids how special they are. It’s tough being different but then again everyone is!
    The Storybook Knight is the perfect book for me because books and dragons? Yes, please. The quintuplets book also looks really adorable and wonderful.

    • Reply
      Dena at Batch of Books
      December 5, 2016 at 11:00 am

      The Missing Piece is one of my favorite books ever!

      It’s so true that everyone is different. Kids want to fit in so badly, but it’s good to be different!

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