Growth Mindset Picture Books for the Classroom
These growth mindset picture books show characters using different strategies to achieve their educational and personal goals by understanding they can improve their abilities.
Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset
A growth mindset helps students achieve their educational goals and work through difficult tasks. Children with a fixed mindset believe intelligence is fixed from birth, and nothing they do will change it.
Carol Dweck’s research found that intelligence is malleable. Our approach to learning determines a growth mindset vs a fixed mindset. Though in reality, we all have a mix of both mindsets.
“We found that students’ mindsets—how they perceive their abilities—played a key role in their motivation and achievement, and we found that if we changed students’ mindsets, we could boost their achievement. Students who believed their intelligence could be developed (a growth mindset) outperformed those who believed their intelligence was fixed (a fixed mindset).” Carol Dweck
Dweck’s research found students with a growth mindset improved their academic results. The reverse was true of those with a fixed mindset. However, these results changed when children with a fixed mindset understood that brains are a muscle that builds new connections through effort and practice. This knowledge gave children the confidence to learn and positively affected their achievement, engagement and happiness.
Why Read Growth Mindset Picture Books?
Using these growth mindset picture books will spark discussions about the characters who show:
- Adaptability and inquiry by overcoming obstacles and/or fear.
- Commitment and confidence by learning from mistakes and failure.
- Curiosity by understanding the power of YET.
- Determination by overcoming negative self-talk.
- Enthusiasm and motivation by aiming for improvement, not perfection.
Characteristics of Children with a Growth Mindset
There are many reasons for having a growth mindset. Click on the Infographic. It shows the benefits for those with a growth mindset and what a fixed mindset can look like.
Questions to use with Growth Mindset Picture Books
- How could [character] have made the task more challenging?
- What other strategies could [character] try?
- How do you think [character] will/could solve their problem?
- Does [character] have a fixed or growth mindset? Explain.
- Why do you think [character] fears trying something new?
- What could [character] do differently next time?
- How did [character] use failure to create success?
- What can [character] learn from their mistake?
- Did [character] ask for help when they needed it? Would it have made a difference?
FREE Growth Mindset Graphic Organizers
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Fill in the form below to access the FREE I Am Enough growth mindset pack.
You can find the full pack for I Am Enough by clicking on the image.
If you already have access to the free resource library, you will find the I Am Enough freebie in the Graphic Organiser section.
Growth Mindset Picture Books
Anything is Possible by Giulia Belloni
A sheep wants to learn how to fly. When she shares this news with her friend, the wolf, he tells her it is impossible. Despite the wolf’s scepticism, they work together to make the sheep’s dreams come true. Their perseverance and trial and error lead to success, and the wolf admits anything is possible.
Beautiful Oops! By Barney Saltzberg
Change Sings: A Children's Anthem by Amanda Gorman
A young girl bands together with a group of children to influence change in their community. They realise they have the power to change the world for the better, big and small, with their words and actions and inspire others to do the same.
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
The Day You Begin considers the difficulty of entering a room where you don’t know anyone. In these situations, we are “an only” until we share our personal stories. Woodson reminds us that we are all outsiders, and it takes courage to be ourselves.
The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
An art teacher encourages Vashti to make a mark, a dot, prompting Vashti to create a wide range of dot paintings. She displays her work at the school art show and inspires a young boy to make his own unique mark.
The Dreamer by Il Sung Na
Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle and Rafael López
Cuba’s traditions don't allow female drummers. A young girl tries to keep her passion a secret. But when others hear her music they dance and sing to her rhythm. This passion changes tradition and anyone who dreams of playing the drums, no matter their gender, can.
Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson
People dismissed Emmanuel because of his deformed leg, but his mother’s belief gave him the courage and determination to be himself. As he got older, he became a cyclist, eventually cycling 400 miles across Ghana to promote the message that disability is not inability.
The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett
I Got the School Spirit by Connie Schofield-Morrison
Feel the positivity and enthusiasm as a young girl starts school. She shows empathy to students struggling with first-day nerves and makes new friends. Told in the first person, the girl shows how fun and exciting school can be, especially if you have a positive mindset.
Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten by Laura Veirs
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
This is the first of two growth mindset picture books by Ashley Spires. A girl and her canine assistant adjust, examine, tweak, fasten, fix, straighten and study to create the most magnificent thing. But not everything works out the way she imagines.
My Beautiful Voice by Joseph Coelho
A shy girl is unable to speak up in class. With patience and compassion, a teacher helps her and encourages her to write a poem. The girl builds her confidence and courage, finds her voice and reads her poem aloud.
A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant
In the late 1800s, Horace Pippin drew anyone around him. He filled notebooks while fighting during WWI, but he could not create his art when he was shot. Through practice and patience, Horace regained the use of his arm and started creating art again.
Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats
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Using growth mindset picture books helps you start discussions about how we can improve our abilities over time and with practice. They are also a positive tool to help your students understand how we can conquer fears and perfectionism with a growth mindset.
You can read more about Carol Dweck’s research in these documents. A list of her research papers is listed on her Stanford University bio page.
- Mindsets That Promote Resilience: When Students Believe That Personal Characteristics Can Be Developed
- Carol Dweck Revisits the ‘Growth Mindset'
- Academic Tenacity Mindsets and Skills that Promote Long-Term Learning
What growth mindset picture books do you use in your classroom?
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