Picture Books about Self-Management and Self-Control

Picture Books about Self-Management and Self-Control

These picture books on self-management illustrate characters regulating their emotions, thoughts and behaviours and working towards personal and academic goals.

Picture Books about Self-Management and Self-Control

Social and Emotional Learning: Self-Management

Self-Management is one of five social and emotional learning components. The other components are self-awareness, responsible decision-making, relationship skills and social awareness

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) describes self-management as “the ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations — effectively managing stress, controlling impulses, and motivating oneself. The ability to set and work toward personal and academic goals.”

Self-management helps students recognise how different situations influence their behaviour, emotions and judgments. This recognition help children to respond in constructive ways and regulate their emotions in challenging situations. Those who self-manage themselves show:

  • Improved confidence and self-esteem.
  • Increased motivation and enthusiasm.
  • Increased ability to set and achieve goals.
  • Improved study skills and academic performance.
  • Pride and confidence in achievements.
  • Understanding that meeting goals and challenges is not always easy.

Why Read Picture Books on Self Management?

Picture books on self-management show your students book characters prepared to self-manage, be self-motivated, organised, and show perseverance. The characteristics, which will exhibit in different ways depending on age and experiences, include:

  • Managing and controlling emotions, thoughts, and behaviour in different situations.
  • Understanding why they feel the way they do.
  • Using appropriate strategies for impulse control and regulating emotions.
  • Promoting perseverance in personal and academic life.
  • Using stress management techniques, such as mindfulness.
  • Motivating themselves to persevere in overcoming challenges.
  • Understanding they need time and motivation to accomplish goals and challenges.
  • Understanding that failure or mistakes are a chance to learn and improve.
  • Setting goals, both personal and academic, and working towards them.
  • Assessing where they are at and creating new targets.
  • Developing organisational skills and sticking to routines.

Questions to use with Picture Books on Self-Management

  • What strategies do you use to self-manage your emotions or behaviour?
  • What makes it difficult for you (or others) to self-manage?
  • How could self-management have a positive impact on your life?
  • How can you help others manage their behaviour or emotions?
  • Why do you think [character] struggled to control their emotions?
  • If [character] had managed their emotions/behaviour, what would the outcome have been?
  • What could [character] do to manage their feelings/behaviour?
  • Why was it important that [character] persevered during [task/event]?
  • What strategies could [character] have used to manage their stress?
  • Was it appropriate for [character] to get angry? What would have been a better strategy?
  • Why do you think [character] got so angry/jealous/upset?
  • What would be a good strategy to help [character] deal with their emotions?
  • What could [character] learn from their mistakes?

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Picture Books about Self-Management and Self-Control

Again! by Emily Gravett

Again! by Emily Gravett

This is the first of two picture books on self-management by Emily Gravett. A dragon wants his bedtime story again and again. When his mother falls asleep during the fourth reading, the dragon cannot control his emotions and burns a hole through the back of the book! 

Promotes manners, self-management and emotions. 

Bug in a Vacuum by Mélanie Watt

A bug is sucked into a vacuum bag as it flies around a house. It goes through the five stages of grief as it tries to come to terms with its situation. Helps children understand the different emotions involved in unexpected and disappointing events.

Read to discuss self-management, overcoming adversity, acceptance, self-reflection and different perspectives.

Butterfly Brain by Laura Dockrill

Gus doesn’t listen to adults, and after being told not to lean back in his chair, he falls and cracks his head. Out of the crack escapes memories of his mother. He realises he has been locking away his emotions about his mother’s death.

Read to discuss memories, grief, fears, self-reflection, love, and self-management.

Decibella and Her 6-Inch Voice by Julia Cook

Isabella uses her booming voice whenever she can, earning her the nickname Decibella. Her teacher helps her know when and how to use a softer, quieter voice with practice and patience.

Promotes discussions on self-management and self-awareness.

The Dog Who Found Sorrow by Rūta Briede

A black dog helps children understand negative emotions and thoughts. No matter how sad or angry we are, we can find happiness. 

This translated book promotes discussions on self-management, loneliness, empathy, depression, and dealing with negative thoughts and feelings.

Eat Pete! by Michael Rex

A monster visits Pete with plans to eat him. But Pete is thrilled to have someone to play with and keeps the monster busy. Will he ever get to eat Pete?

Promotes discussions on friendship and self-management.

Even Superheroes Have Bad Days by Shelly Becker

Help children cope when they are feeling overwhelmed by reading about how Superheroes manage their emotions when they are having a bad day.

Fergal is Fuming by Robert Starling

Fergal the dragon can’t keep friends because of his short temper, particularly when he doesn’t get his own way. He notices others have effective strategies to calm down, and he finds his own way to cool down.

This book reinforces self-management, a growth mindset and balance.

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

This is the first of two picture books on self-management by Mark Pett. A girl wants to buy a new bike but doesn’t have enough money. She helps her elderly neighbour by doing yard work and developing a new friendship. When she has enough money, she rushes to the shop to buy the bike, but to her dismay, it has gone.

This wordless book shows how the girl’s hard work and perseverance are rewarded.

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett

This is the second of two picture books on self-management by Mark Pett. Beatrice Bottomwell has never, ever made a mistake. Until she makes one huge mistake in front of everyone. Will Beatrice realise it is okay to make mistakes and have more fun at the same time?

Reinforces themes of perfectionism, a growth mindset and balanced life.

The Good Egg by John Jory

A virtuous egg spends its time helping people out, whether it’s needed or wanted! One day The Good Egg cracks (literally) from the pressure of perfection. It takes a much-needed break where it learns to live a more balanced life.

Promotes acceptance, balance, well-being and self-management.

Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer

Penguin is having a grumpy day and no one has no idea why. No matter what he does he can’t shake his grumpiness off. What is a penguin to do?

Deals with themes of emotions, bad moods and self-management.

Harriet, You’ll Drive Me Wild! by Mem Fox

Harriet has a series of naughty mishaps that tests her mother’s patience. But Harriet and her mum know that they love each other no matter what.

Promotes forgiveness, self-management and manners.

The Huge Bag of Worries by Virginia Ironside

Jenny carries a ‘bag of worries’ wherever she goes, but it ‘weighs her down’. She tries talking to her family and friends, but they have enough concerns of their own. An old lady helps her open her bag of worries and deal with them. 

Promotes discussions on self-management, well-being, anxiety, worries, fears, and communication.

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

A chicken begs her father to read a fairy tale book at bedtime. As he reads a new story, the excited chicken keeps interrupting. The tired father suggests she writes her own story. As she reads her story “Bedtime for Papa”, she is interrupted by his snoring.

Kindness Grows by Britta Teckentrup

Kindness Grows illustrates the consequences of our actions, positive and negative. Using a visual representation of a tree, one side of the page shows it flourishing through kindness. The other side shows how negative behaviour creates unhappiness and separation. The book ends with the children on both sides coming together through kindness.

Life Doesn't Frighten Me by Maya Angelou

Life Doesn’t Frighten Me by Maya Angelou is a poem about bravery and confronting our fears and finding the courage within. Told from a child’s perspective. Use to teach how words and art tell a story, fears, confronting challenges and self-management.

Little Beauty by Anthony Browne

A lonely gorilla learns sign language to communicate with his zookeepers. They bring him a tiny cat called Beauty and the two become inseparable. When the gorilla gets angry, his keepers threaten to separate the pair, until the kitten steps into the keep them together.

Use to discuss communication, friendships, kindness, loneliness and self-management.

The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh by Supriya Kelkar

Harpreet Singh expresses himself with colours, particularly through his patka, Sikh headwear. When he moves from California to a town with snow, Harpreet has trouble settling in. He only wears white so he can feel invisible. When he finds his first new friend, the colour returns.

Use to promote acceptance, kindness, courage and coping in new situations.

Many Shapes of Clay: A Story of Healing by Kenesha Sneed

Eisha creates a shape out of clay in her mother’s studio. The shape reminds Elisa of her dad, who recently passed away. She later drops and shatters the clay shape. Her mother helps her turn the pieces into a necklace so she can wear the memories of her dad.

Promotes discussions on bereavement, self-management, and self-expression.

My Father's Arms Are A Boat by Stein Erik Lunde

A grieving boy looks to his father for comfort. His father answers questions about when will his mother wake up. As they walk into a snowy night the father reassures his worried son as he holds him close.

Reinforces themes of bereavement, self-management, fears and resilience.

My Heart by Corinna Luyken

In this poetic book full of metaphors, a young girl describes how her feelings change day by day, and she gets to decide how she feels.

My Monster and Me by Nadiya Hussain

A big, furry, yellow monster follows a little boy everywhere. It has an enormous impact on the boy, stopping him from doing so many things. One day, he confides in his grandma about his worries and the monster shrinks. The more he shares his fears, the smaller it gets, setting the boy free to live his life.

Promotes overcoming fears, seeking help, well-being and self-management.

Nerdy Birdy Tweets by Aaron Reynolds

Nerdy Birdy neglects her friend Vulture when her use of technology and social media takes over.

Reinforces themes of technology use, relationship skills, being well-balanced and self-management.

No David! by David Shannon

David is a boy who breaks the rules; flooding the bath, jumping on the bed, and breaking a vase. His mum repeatedly says “No!” until David apologises, and he gets his mother’s forgiveness.

Promotes discussions on responsible decision-making, manners, love and forgiveness.

Never, Not Ever! by Beatrice Alemagna

While the other animals make their way to school, Pascaline refuses. “Never, not ever!” She shrieks so loudly her parents shrink to the size of peanuts. Pascaline tucks them under her wing and takes them to school. What initially seems like a fun idea turns into a nuisance. She returns to school the next day alone.

This translated book promotes discussions on being independent and self-management.

No Fits, Nilson! by Zachariah O’Hora

No Fits, Nilson! by Zachariah O’Hora

Amelia and her imaginary friend, Nilson, do everything together. When Nilson’s temper erupts Amelia helps him control his emotions, but when Nilson gets the last scoop of ice cream Amelia throws a fit. This time Nilson helps her calm down by sharing the ice cream.