10 Picture Books About Being Yourself for Kids

Teach children to be themselves with the help of these ten picture book ideas.

It is so easy for all of us, kids and adults alike, to get caught up in what we see others doing. We are easily influenced by others and might try to change what we say and do or how we dress or act to be more like someone else. 

In an effort to teach kids that it is okay to be yourself, I've compiled a list of ten of my favorite pictures books that are all about being yourself. Hopefully this collection can help teach your little ones that being different is okay, and we all have unique gifts and talents to offer the world. 

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A Bad Case of Stripes

A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon

Camilla Cream is so worried about what other people think of her that she refuses to eat lima beans - something that she LOVES. She is so worried about what others think that she starts changing how she looks based on what others say. Camilla learns in a big way how important it is to be yourself.⁣

Leopold the Lion

Leopold the Lion by Denise Brennan-Nelson

Leopold the Lion is a fun and silly book about being yourself. Jack and Ella bring a circus lion home. He quickly learns that eating junk food and being lazy is more fun than the life he knew. But then he starts to change and is no longer himself. The circus doesn't even recognize him. The kids start to feed him healthy food, give him exercise, and a chance to show off his skills until Leopold is back to his true self. ⁣

Thelma the Unicorn

Thelma is a horse who wants to be a unicorn. With the help of some glitter, paint, and an unexpected event, Thelma becomes a unicorn and a famous star. She is so popular, and it is everything she wanted...until she realizes it isn't what she wants at all. She just wants to be herself and go home to her best friend.⁣

Not Your Typical Dragon

Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el

Crispin wants to breathe fire like the other dragons do, but he breathes silly things like marshmallows and teddy bears. He is so frustrated until a family emergency comes up and Crispin is exactly who they need to save the day.⁣


Janine by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

I love this book for teaching about being yourself. Janine is definitely herself and not like the other kids. They tell her she is strange and that she needs to change. Janine stays true to who she is, even when it means not being invited to the "cool" party.⁣

The Mixed Up Chameleon

The Mixed Up Chameleon by Eric Carle

Another great book for talking about being yourself. The Mixed-Up Chameleon wishes to be like all the other animals - smart like a fox, handsome like a flamingo, etc. He continues to change and ultimately learns being himself is best of all!⁣


Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum is the sweet story of the mouse who was so excited to go to school until she got made fun of for her name and how long it was. Her self-confidence was shattered, she did not want to go to school, and she did not want her name to be Chrysanthemum until her teacher showed her that being different was okay and she was perfect just the way she was.

William's Doll

William's Doll by Charlotte Zolotow

I remember checking this book out of our school library over and over again as a kid. It is the story of a boy who more than anything wants a doll to play with and take care of. He gets made fun of by the people in his life that think he should play with "boy toys," but that is simply not what William wants. 

The Pirate of Kindergarten

The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon

The Pirate of Kindergarten is a great reminder that we are all different and some students have struggles that others don't. This book is about Ginny who sees double and struggles at school. She doesn't realize that everyone doesn't see that way and the adults don't realize that is what she is seeing. She ends up needing glasses and a patch. As a parent of a daughter who had to get glasses in preschool (we had no idea she had trouble seeing especially out of one eye) and has had to wear a patch, this was a relatable book and great for my daughter to see someone sort of like her in a book.⁣


Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio

Not only is Gaston a great book for being yourself, but it is also a great book to show that families don't have to look like each other to belong together. Gaston is a bulldog in a poodle family. At a meeting in a park, he and a poodle switch places because they can see they don't belong with their families. But even though they look like their new family, it still doesn't feel right and is not where they belong.⁣
Do you have any other favorite books for teaching kids to be themselves? Hopefully this list will help you and your little ones to see the importance of being themselves!