Growth Mindset Picture Books for the Classroom

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 Picture Books for the Classroom

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.

Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset Infographic

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

After the Fall by Dan Santat

A retelling of Humpty Dumpty from the egg’s perspective. Promotes perspectives, a growth mindset, perseverance, and courage as Humpty Dumpty conquers his fear of heights.

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.

Promotes discussions on determination, growth mindset, teamwork, dreams, and creativity.

The Bad Seed by Jory John

When a “bad seed' overhears negative comments, he decides to change his ways. He doesn’t change his behaviour overnight but takes it one day at a time.

Promotes a growth mindset, self-management, self-awareness and social awareness.

Bears Don't Read by Emma Chichester Clark

George the Bear longs to learn to read, but everyone tells him that bears don’t read! With a little help from a friend, determination and resilience help him overcome all obstacles to be a success.

Beautiful Oops! By Barney Saltzberg

Learn how to turn mistakes into something wonderful. Barney Saltzberg uses his imagination to embrace mistakes such as tears, stains, holes and smudges to create something spectacular.

Bob The Artist by Marion Deuchars

Bob is made fun of because of his skinny legs. His lack of self-esteem leaves him deflated until he visits an art gallery and gets inspired!

Promotes a growth mindset, relationship skills, creativity and appreciation.

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken

An artist creates images and sees mistakes as something positive, transforming them into something better.

Promotes a growth mindset, imagination, creativity and adaptability.

The Busy Beaver by Nicholas Oldland

A busy beaver only realises the damage his mindless chomping does when he gets hit by one of his own falling trees. He reflects on his destructive behaviour and makes positive changes.

Promotes a balanced life, reflection and a growth mindset.

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.

This first-person narrative poetry book promotes conversations about a sense of community, change, unity, hope, cooperation, kindness, activism and a growth mindset.

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.

Read to promote discussions on empathy, identity, growth mindset, open-mindedness, relationship skills, self-awareness and self-esteem.

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

A pig was sad he couldn’t join the birds he admired in the sky. With perseverance and a dream, he experiments by making a flying machine. After much trial and error, he takes to the sky.

Promotes discussions on perseverance, STEM, a growth mindset, inventions, and believing in yourself.

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.

Elephants Cannot Dance! by Mo Willems

Piggie teaches Gerald to dance, but he is sure elephants can’t dance. He attempts Piggie's moves with mixed results but his perseverance helps him to create his own moves.

Promotes a growth mindset and self-esteem.

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.

Flight School by Lita Judge

A determined penguin joins a flight school. He gets help from the other birds and a few extra feathers to realise his dream.

Promotes determination, following our dreams, perseverance and a growth mindset.

Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreas

Giraffes Can’t Dance? Or can they? Gerald is determined to take part in the annual Jungle dance. While the other animals laugh, he shows perseverance, determination, and confidence to follow his dream.

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes 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 a balanced life.

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.

Promotes self-esteem a growth mindset, self-confidence, enthusiasm, empathy, curiosity, and relationship skills.

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chiere Uegak

After three violin lessons, Hana Hashimoto signs up for a local talent show. When she gets on stage, her nerves take over but Hana finds her own form of success.

Use this book to discuss determination and a growth mindset.

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Jabari is determined to jump off the diving board, but his confidence wanes as he nears the ladder. His patient father reassures Jabari that it is okay to be scared. With new determination, he climbs the ladder and jumps.

Let's Paint! by Gabriel Alborozo

Let’s Paint! encourages children's creativity and expression and to not worry about mistakes. The book reinforces themes of courage, creativity, imagination and risk-taking.

Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten by Laura Veirs

Elisabeth Cotten taught herself to play her brother’s right-handed guitar upside down and backwards as she was left-handed. She created her own music as a teenager and composed the song ‘Freight Train’

Read this biography to discuss growth mindset, determination and Black History Month.

The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi

Despite her frustrations, a young girl persists in learning to ride her bike. Use to discuss a growth mindset, determination, making mistakes and not giving up.

Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai

Malala wishes to make people happy and improve their lives. Her experience in Pakistan inspires her to help change the world through her actions, words and writings.

Promotes gender roles, perspectives, courage and resilience.

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.

Promotes creative thinking, self-management, perseverance and a growth mindset.

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.

Promotes discussions on confidence, self-awareness, empathy, self-expression, and overcoming fears and anxiety.

The OK Book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Celebrate the different skills and talents of children. Empower them to discover their strengths and realise that being OK is a great place to be.

Reinforces themes of balance, commitment, confidence, self-awareness and self-esteem.

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

Rosie hides her inventions after being laughed at. Her great-aunt shows her that failure is part of the creative process.

Promotes a growth mindset, open-mindedness, perseverance, problem-solving and creative thinking.

Ruby's Wish by Shirin Yim

Ruby impresses her grandfather in old China with her determination to continue her education in a time when girls were not encouraged to go to university. 

Promotes commitment, determination, gender roles and perseverance.

Salt in His Shoes by Deloris Jordan

A young Michael Jordon thought about giving up his basketball dream because of his size. His parents shared with him the qualities that make a champion, patience, determination, and hard work.

She's Got This by Laurie Hernandez

Zoe dreams of becoming a gymnast because it looks like flying. She learns it will be harder than she ever thought during her first lesson. Zoe perseveres and shows a growth mindset to follow her dream.

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.

Use to teach overcoming adversity, perseverance, a growth mindset and determination.

The Thing Lou Couldn't Do by Ashley Spires

This is the second of two growth mindset picture books by Ashley Spires. Lou procrastinates and makes excuses rather than face her fears. With the support of her friends, she develops a growth mindset to overcome the challenges she faces.

Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats

Peter was playing outside when he hears the whistling of an older boy. His own attempts come to nothing until his determination pays off and he blows his first whistle. Much to his delight, he can whistle to call his dog Willy.

Promotes perseverance, commitment and a growth mindset.

You Can Do It, Bert! by Ole Konnecke

Translated from German. Bert, a small bird, walks tentatively to the end of a branch, but can he jump off? Promotes a growth mindset, courage, being a risk-taker and perseverance.

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What Next?

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.

What growth mindset picture books do you use in your classroom?

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Growth Mindset Picture Books for the Classroom

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