Must-Read Books that Promote Individuality

As teachers, we want our students to accept and respect themselves, and others. We want them to follow their own path with confidence.

In my classroom, I try to promote the idea of "be you, do you." From day one, we talk about, and celebrate, how we are all different individuals, and how that is a wonderful thing.

Books About Being Different
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One of the easiest ways, in my opinion, to promote and celebrate individuality is with the use of books. The illustrations and storytelling are perfect for getting students' attention on an important topic. They are also perfect for facilitating a meaningful conversation about accepting (celebrating, honoring) yourself for you who you are, as well as accepting (celebrating, honoring) others for who they are.

What follows are my favorite books for promoting individuality. They are listed in no particular order because they are all amazing and awesome.

I Like Myself - I read this book at the beginning of the school year before the students paint their self-portraits. The illustrations are hilarious, as is the text (at times). And, it does a great job of reminding students to be proud of who they are. It's perfect for discussing how we are all different (inside and out), and how that is a beautiful thing.

Spork - Spork's mom is a spoon. His dad is a fork. This makes him different from all the other utensils in the drawer. His parents know he is perfect, but it takes Spork a while to figure that out on his own. This book is a great way to talk about race, differences, and acceptance.

Not Quite Narwhal - I'll be honest, I mostly bought this book because it had narwhals and unicorns. I mean, does it get any better? Turns out, it's a great book! Kelp is a unicorn, who was raised by a family of narwhals. The story is about discovering who you are and fitting in. I also love that it serves as a reminder that families can look different (something the kids may or may not pick up on, but could certainly be discussed if desired).

Rot, The Cutest in the World - Rot is a mutant potato and he is most certainly NOT the cutest in the world. Or, is he? In this story, the mutant enters a Cutest in the World contest because he is pretty confident in himself. He is ridiculed by the other (cute) contestants and begins to think he should be more like them. In the end, he goes on stage as himself and....well, you'll have to read it to find out what happens. This story is serves as a (fun) reminder that we are all perfect just the way we are.

Thelma the Unicorn - Well, Thelma is not a unicorn, but she pretends to be. And, it's pretty great, for a while, anyway. After spending some time in the spotlight and being admired by all, Thelma misses her old life as an ordinary pony. This book is another great reminder that we are all perfect just the way we are.

Princess Truly, I Am Truly - I love that this book simply celebrates a little girl who is confident in who she is (in every possible way). It's about believing in yourself and having the confidence to stand out. It's a great book to remind and motivate all students that they can do whatever they put their mind to.

Leaping Lemmings - This book is cute and funny. The lemmings just basically live their lives like a game of  Follow the Leader. Except for one lemming named Larry. He does his own thing, thinks for himself, and tries to teach his lemming friends to do the same. This book is a great way to show students the importance of staying true to yourself. In fact, it is perfect for talking about how being different may help others in the long run.

I Don't Want to Be a Frog - This book is funny. But, it's also another great book about self acceptance. Frog has lots of reasons he doesn't want to be a frog, but in the end, he realizes that being a frog really isn't so bad.

T-Veg - This book is all about being different. Reginald is a T-Rex. But, he's not a "normal" T-Rex. Why? Because he likes to eat veggies! His friends and family don't quite understand his taste for veggies and tease him. He leaves, but soon finds that this doesn't solve his problem of fitting in. In the end, he is accepted by his friends and family. I love that this character is different from the norm and that he accepts who he is.

Red: A Crayon's Story - Red had a red label, but he's actually blue! Red tries really hard to be red, but no matter how hard he tries, and no matter who tries to help him, he can't do it. With the help of a new friend, he discovers who he really is. This book could be interpreted on many levels. You could use it for general conversation about accepting who you are. More specifically, being true to yourself and following your own path.

Wolfie the Bunny - Wolfie is just that, a wolf. He is adopted by a family of...bunnies! His sister, Dot, isn't so sure it's a good idea to let a wolf into the family, but she ultimately stands up for him, when a bear decides that Wolfie would make a great meal. You can use this story to talk about acceptance (and how families don't always look the same).

Only One You - Adri is excited to venture out into the world. His loving parents share their wisdom with him. While the story could be used to reinforce the notion of family love, it is also great for showing students that they are unique and can make a difference. In a nutshell, this book is another reminder of the importance of accepting yourself and others for who they are. Use it as a lead in to a discussion about appreciating our differences.

You Be You - Adri continues his exploration of the world in this follow up book to Only One You. In his journey, he notices that there are many different fish in the sea, and that each fish has something to offer. This book promotes diversity and acceptance. It's reminds us that we all have something to offer, and that we should be accepting and appreciative of this.

Do you have any books to add to the list? Leave your favorite title in the comments below. I can't wait to hear all about your favorites!

Looking for more great books to share with your students? Check out all my favorites HERE.


Books About Being Different

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