Children's Books about Self-Awareness and Perception
These self-awareness books show characters who recognise their own feelings and behaviour and how they affect others. They illustrate how these feelings influence their choices and any consequences.
Social and Emotional Learning: Self-Awareness
Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) describes self-awareness as “the ability to accurately recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior. The ability to accurately assess one’s strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset.”
Self-awareness affects every aspect of a child's life. How they communicate, learn, and interact with others is all influenced by their ability to understand themselves. Children who show self-awareness consider the effect of emotions on themselves and others.
Self-awareness skills give children the ability to recognise what triggers their emotions. This awareness helps them deal with their feelings in positive ways, acknowledge the feelings of others and that people may view them differently than they see themselves.
Why Read Children's Books about Self-Awareness?
These children's books about self-awareness show the effect of emotions on ourselves and others. The characters reflect on how their feelings influence their choices and any repercussions. They build an understanding of their strengths, limitations and personal preferences. This allows them to develop these strengths, learn from their mistakes and seek support when needed.
The characters in the children's books about self-awareness show the benefits of this skill, including:
- Understanding failure is a learning opportunity and a stepping stone to success.
- Increasing confidence and self-esteem.
- Being able to identify their emotions and control them in challenging situations.
- Developing positive relationships by understanding how their actions affect others.
- Recognising when they make mistakes in schoolwork and work to make changes.
Characters in Children's Books about Self-Awareness
In these picture books, you will find characters who demonstrate self-awareness by:
- Identifying and verbalising emotions.
- Recognising the needs and feelings of others.
- Understanding how other people see them.
- Recognising and building on strengths and limitations.
- Using different learning styles and strategies.
- Understanding how their emotions and thoughts influence their behaviour.
- Identifying their feelings, the triggers and the consequences.
- Acting positively on their thoughts and feelings.
- Learning from mistakes and seeking support.
- Understanding strengths and limitations/challenges.
- Developing academic and personal goals.
There are also characters working towards these behaviours. This opens up great discussions about how we work towards different self-awareness skills.
Questions to use with Children's Books about Self-Awareness
- How did [character] change throughout the book?
- Did [character] consider how their actions or behaviour would affect others? What could they have done differently?
- What were [character’s] strengths and weaknesses?
- What lesson did [character] learn? Do you think they have better self-awareness?
- How could [character] reflect on their behaviour and improve their actions?
- What previous knowledge did [character] use? How did it help them?
- How did [character] deal with feeling [scared, anxious, etc.]?
- What was the most important or relevant moment in the story? Why?
- What did [character] learn about themselves? How will they use this knowledge in the future?
- What factors stopped [character] from being successful?
- Is there anything [character] should do differently next time? Why?
- How could [character] have made the task more challenging?
- What other strategies could [character] try?
- How do you think [character] will solve their problem?
- Why do you think [character] fears trying something new?
- What can [character] learn from their mistake?
- Did [character] ask for help when they needed it? Would it have made a difference?
- How was [character] able to turn their failure into a success?
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Children's Books about Self-Awareness and Perception
Brian the Dancing Lion by Tom Tinn-Disbury
Brian is a lion who loves to dance. He is worried about his friends finding out he isn't brave and strong like a lion should be. When he can't stop his foot tapping to some music, his secret is out, and Brian flees in embarrassment. His friends are proud of him for showing all of himself, and they reveal their own unexpected pastimes.
Use in the classroom to discuss being yourself, self-expression and not changing just to fit in with others.
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.
Deep In The Sahara by Kelly Cunnane
In Mauritania, young Lalla wishes to wear a malafa like her mother and older sister. In the Muslim tradition, women wear colourful material over their heads and clothes. When Lalla learns a malafa is not only beautiful but honours her faith, her mother wraps one around her body.
Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Fergal is Fuming by Robert Starling
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
How to Live Forever by Colin Thompson
I Am Henry Finch by Alexis Deacon
I Just Ate My Friend by Heidi McKinnon
After a yellow creature eats his friends, he sets off on a journey to find a new companion. At last, he comes across a monster who will be his friend. However, not all is well. The new monster is alone on the last page, having just eaten his new friend.
Jack (Not Jackie) by Erica Silverman
Susan wants Jackie to be like her, pretending to be forest fairies or kittens. But Jackie dons a cape or plays in the mud. As Jackie gets older, she wants to wear boys' clothes. Susan's feelings become more confused as her sister changes her name to Jack and cuts her hair short.
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.
Lila and the Crow by Gabrielle Grimard
Little Wise Wolf by Gijs van der Hammen
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.
My Hair by Hannah Lee
A young black girl is excited about an upcoming celebration. She thinks of her family and friends as inspiration as she decides how to style her hair. Should she choose dreadlocks, Bantu knots, high top fade, braids, twist out, cornrows or short and cropped? She goes her own way and wears her natural hair as an afro.
The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
Noodle Magic by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
Not My Girl by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton
Margaret, an indigenous girl, was removed from her family and the First Nations community. Her cultural way of life is erased in a Canadian residential school for indigenous children. When Margaret returns to her reservation, her mother says, “not my girl”. She has to immerse herself in her culture and traditions to reconnect with her family.
Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival
Norman was a perfectly normal boy until he grew a pair of wings. He loves flying but thinks no one will understand his new wings so hide them under a large, yellow coat. When he finds the courage to show off his wings, he gets a surprising reaction.
The Red Tree by Shaun Tan
The Remarkable Pigeon by Dorien Brouwers
A pigeon feels self-conscious when it visits birds at a zoo’s aviary. There are birds with colourful feathers, that fly backwards and sing sweetly. The pigeon realises it has something more precious than these birds. It is free.
Through the Magic Mirror by Anthony Browne
Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great by Bob Shea
Goat has been feeling out of sorts since Unicorn moved into town. Goat's cool bike suddenly looks dull when Unicorn flies to school. His marshmallow squares look boring when Unicorn makes its rain cupcakes. Jealous Goat thinks Unicorn is such a show-off. How can he compete?
Where Happiness Begins by Eva Eland
A young child goes on a journey to discover where to find happiness. Sometimes it is near and other times far away. The child tries to chase, capture, and search for it and learns that you can always find it within when you feel like happiness has gone.
Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt
Who would you be if you were someone else? This is the question posed by a young boy and girl. They ponder if they weren’t who they are would they be taller, faster, smaller, smarter or lighter, older, darker, or bolder.
Wild by Emily Hughes
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Promoting self-awareness skills in your classroom will help your students understand themselves and why they may react in certain circumstances. Students who are self-awareness recognise how their feelings and actions have consequences.
How do you support your student’s self-awareness in the classroom? Do you have favourite children’s books about self-awareness that you use?