I have been on the hunt lately for growth mindset picture books for my preschoolers.
There are so many great options, but finding the right options for my young learners was a bit of a challenge and so I thought if I have found it challenging, you must too.
Haven’t you found the language in them can sometimes be challenging for this age group? So finding that sweet spot has been very important for me when gathering this list of picture books to teach growth mindset to preschoolers.
Before I jump into sharing my list, I wanted to make sure you have gotten your hands on my FREE Guide made especially for you. This guide includes a clear breakdown of CASEL’s SEL Framework and how it applies to our preschoolers, and I’ve created easy to use cheat sheets & planning pages to get you started integrating SEL into your day! Sounds like something you could use? If yes, then click on the image to download them.
What is Growth Mindset?
I’m a firm believer in social-emotional learning, so teaching about growth and fixed mindset is always a “yes” for me in my classroom.
Just in case you are wondering what is a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset, a fixed mindset is where a person believes their traits like intelligence or talent are set the day they are born. They do not work to develop their intelligence or talent. They just believe they are what they are.
A growth mindset is when a person believes intelligence or talent can be developed through dedication and hard work. Having a brain or talent is just a starting point, and they can continuously develop their intelligence and/or talent.
That’s something I try to instill in my students everyday. The power of ‘yet’ is such a simple but powerful concept to instill in your students and can begin by you leading by example. How often are we showing our students that we too are still learning, improving and growing? How often are we showing our students that we too have challenges and how we may ‘fail’ at times? Leading by example can have such a powerful effect on our young students who often see us as invincible.
If you have thought about including books to teach growth mindset in your classroom, here are some books you can start using during read aloud time.
19 Picture Books to Teach Growth Mindset
These growth mindset books are the perfect addition to your preschool classroom. They are easy to understand for our young learners, and you can easily add them to any growth mindset activities you already have planned!
#1 Giraffes Can’t Dance by Gile Andreae
Giraffes Can’t Dance is a wonderful story about Gerald the giraffe, who just wants to dance. However, being so tall, it’s harder for a giraffe. Luckily, Gerald is able to find his own tune and with some encouraging words from an unlikely friend, he starts to dance.
#2 Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
Jabari is ready to jump off the diving board. After finishing swimming lessons and passing the swim test, he is not scared at all. But, when his turn is coming, he finds every excuse not to jump. His patient and encouraging father helps his determined son finally jump.
#3 Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty
Rosie always has wanted to be a great engineer. Some people see trash, but Rosie sees inspiration. However, Rosie is always afraid of failure and hides her inventions under her bed. But, when her great-great-aunt Rose (AKA Rosie the Riveter!) comes to visit, she shows her that a flop isn’t something to be afraid of. She also teaches Rosie that you can only truly fail if you quit.
#4 The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
A little girl has a great idea, “she is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!” But the girl soon finds out. It is anything but easy. The girl tries and fails often. She even quits. But after her dog convinces her to step away and take a walk, she has a new outlook and enthusiasm to try and get it just right.
#5 After the Fall by Dan Santat
Everyone knows the story of Humpty Dumpty. But what happens after the fall? Humpty is afraid to climb high and soon feels like he is missing out on the best things. The most delicious cereal, the most interesting books, etc. He eventually realizes he can’t live his life on the ground and begins to fly.
#6 Ricky the Rock That Couldn’t Roll by Mr. Jay
Rocks come in all different shapes and sizes. But they all like to get together to play and roll around. However, Ricky can’t roll with them. Ricky wasn’t like the other rocks which were round. Ricky has a flat side. But that didn’t stop his friends. The rocks were determined to help Ricky roll, one way or another.
#7 The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes: A Growth Mindset Book for Kids to Promote Self-Esteem by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein
Beatrice is known as the girl who never made mistakes. Then one day, it happens. She makes a huge mistake in front of everyone. But, it becomes a lesson to Beatrice and all the readers that being a perfectionist isn’t as fun as enjoying life and making mistakes.
#8 Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream by Deloris Jordan
Michael Jordan may be one of the best basketball players of all times. But if you can believe it when Michael was a child, he almost gave up on his basketball dreams. He was afraid he would never grow tall enough to play. But when his mother and father stepped in and taught him a valuable lesson, he learned that patience, determination, and hard work are a little more important than height.
#9 The Dot by Peter H.Reynolds
Vashti is having a hard time in art class. Even at the end, her paper is still blank. But, when her teacher gives her a gentle invitation to express herself, she angrily draws a dot. That dot, however, becomes the beginning of Vashti’s journey to surprise and self-discovery.
#10 Anything Is Possible by Giulia Belloni
The sheep is a dreamer, and her friend, the wolf, is more practical. One day the sheep runs to the wolf with an idea. She wants to build a flying machine, but the wolf thinks it’s impossible. The sheep’s dreams get better, and the wolf agrees to work on the project together. The wolf and sheep create a winning design using perseverance and trial and error.
#11 Bears Don’t Read! by Emma Chichester Clark
George is a bear and he has a problem. He is bored and fed up with all the things bears do. One day, he finds a book and decides to find the owner. This owner of the book helped him learn to read. A great book to show how a growth mindset can change your life.
#12 Bob the Artist by Marion Deuchars
Bob the bird is similar to all of his friends. But he has skinny legs. He is sometimes teased and decides to try and change himself to fit in. But, his efforts lead him on a journey of self discovery and change.
#13 The Dreamer by Il Sung Na
There once was a pig who admired the birds, and wished he could join them in the sky. He has big dreams and perseverance make them come true! Developing, building, and in the end he realizes that he just loves to sit and watch those birds.
#14 Elephants Cannot Dance! by Mo Williams
Piggie tries to teach Gerald some new dance moves, but will Gerald teach Piggie something more important? A book all about friendship and how patience and effort can pay off.
#15 Flight School by Lita Judge
Penguin feels like he is meant to be an eagle. His body however can not soar. But with his irrepressible spirit, and his ability to follow his dreams, he is determined. With a little help wth the technical parts, penguin is ready to fly.
#16 Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still by Karlin Gray
Nadia was a little girl who enjoyed climbing trees in Romania. Who knew that this beginning would lead to her attending the Olympic Games! There she received 7 perfect scores in gymnastics. Read about her story from small-town girl to world-class athlete even with the imperfect moments.
#17 The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi
The main character realizes quickly that riding a two-wheeler is harder than it looks. When giving up they quickly run into the magic “yet” fairy and realizes “yet” is with them throughout their life. Whether it’s learning to tie your shoes, learn the bassoon, no matter what you’ll get there eventually.
#18 The Ok Book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Litchenheld
In this clever and visual play on words, OK is turned upside down, sideways, and right side up to show that being OK can really be quite great.
#19 The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spire
When friends decide to climb a tree to play pirates, Lou realizes quickly this is a new adventure. She comes up with many excuses as to why she can’t climb the tree. But, eventually realizes she is just too afraid. Lou procrastinating, making excuses, imagining alternatives and denying she cares. Lou decides to face her fears and although she fails, the power and growth mindset she now has is all she needs.
Questions to Use When Reading books to Teach Growth Mindset
Reading the books listed above is a great first step. Next you want to ensure your little learners are really internalizing all of the information and thinking about what is happening in the book and to the characters.
Here are some questions you may want to ask while reading the growth mindset picture books:
- What problem does (character) have?
- How does the (character) feel about the problem?
- What does the (character) do about the problem?
- Why do you think the (character) is afraid of trying something new?
- What could the (character) do differently next time?
- Did the (character) ask for help? Did it make a difference?
- Have you ever felt like (character)?
With so much growth and development happening in preschool, it is the perfect setting to begin developing a growth mindset. Choosing the right books to introduce the ideas around having a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset is an easy way to begin fostering those ideas.
Leave a comment if you have any other great books to add to this list!
If you’d like to delve deeper into this topic, check out these blog post below: