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
In the library where Peter lives, he looks for a book called How to Live Forever. For two years he searches for the lost book to discover its secrets so he can make an important decision.
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.