My Favorite Books for Teaching Growth Mindset

If you're looking for a way to start the school year strong with your primary kiddos, I'd highly recommend teaching a lesson or two about Growth Mindset. If you're unfamiliar with Growth Mindset or want to learn more, you can find another blog post I wrote about it here.

Taking time to talk about Growth Mindset has completely changed my classroom culture the last couple years, and I've found that the kids really connect with the ideas when we read and discuss quality books together as a class. There are many fabulous children's books that complement lessons about Growth Mindset, and I want to share just a few of my favorites with you. Some of these books are beloved and well-known, others are brand new, and still others are lesser-known but cherished books from my own childhood that I've read to my students for years. All are beautifully written and illustrated, and will help set a positive tone for your whole school year!

1. Rosie Revere, Engineer
"Your brilliant first flop was a raging success. Come on, let's get busy and on to the rest!" I won't lie, the first time I read this book to my students, I choked up! I recommend this book with all of my heart. The main character, Rosie, learns the value of making mistakes in the process of creating something new.

2. Mirette on the High Wire
This is one of my favorite stories from my childhood, and I read it with my students every year. It's a beautiful story of perseverance, written about a little girl who is determined to learn how to walk on a high wire. Even though Mirette falls many times when she is first learning, she doesn't give up, and she ends up helping her teacher conquer his own fears in the process.

3. The Dot
Can you imagine how much fun this book would be to plan an art lesson around? It shares a beautiful lesson about the power of just getting started, even if your first attempt to try something new isn't perfect. Vashti, the main character in this book, is hesitant to take a risk to create art, but with her teacher's encouragement she ends up creating art that inspires others to take risks, too.

4. The Big Orange Splot
My brothers and I adored this book when we were growing up. This is the fanciful story of a seagull flying over a man's house carrying a can of orange paint (nobody knows why), which it drops on the man's roof (nobody knows why). The man happens to live on a street where all of the houses look the same. While the man's neighbors pressure him to get his house cleaned up and back to normal, he ends up seizing the opportunity to redecorate his house to look like his dreams. One-by-one, he inspires his neighbors to do the same. This story is a beautiful starting point for talking about how thinking creatively, innovating, and going outside of the norm can inspire beautiful things in your life and in others'!

5. Beautiful Oops!
Oh, this book. I love it so much. Forget the fact that I've just listed it as a classroom resource--go ahead and pin this book cover now to buy for everyone on your gift list. It's meaningful for kids and adults alike, and creating our own "Beautiful Oops!" paintings has become a cherished tradition for starting the school year in my classroom. Your students will be delighted by how each "mistake"--a torn page, a coffee stain--is transformed into something new and beautiful.

6. What Do You Do With a Problem?
This is a lovely book for talking about the power of perspective, and how our problems hold possibility. I would also highly recommend this book for any children in your life (or adults, for that matter) who struggle with anxiety. In kid-friendly terms, the author describes what it feels like to be anxious about a problem, and then what it feels like to shift from focusing on a problem to focusing on finding a solution.

Honestly, looking over this list of books makes my heart feel so full. The class discussions and light bulb moments my students have had while reading these books are priceless. I hope these help you in your classroom, too!

So, what do you think? Would you add any books to this list? I'd love to hear the other Growth Mindset books you love!  Also, if you're looking for printable resources to help you teach growth mindset, you can follow this link for a packet I created to get you started!

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