I love to use fun, meaningful and engaging books to teach broad concepts that may be hard for kids to grasp. Here are my 7 favorite growth mindset books to teach students in a way they can really understand.
Growth mindset has become one of those *buzz words* we hear in schools and classrooms over the past several years. (I know you know what I mean. ?) Rather than shrug it off just another “new thing,” I got really interested in it and began to research.
Before I get to my favorite growth mindset books, I want to clarify what I mean when I say growth mindset. It is literally about our brains and the way we view ourselves. 🧠
A fixed mindset says: I am the way I am. My character, my intelligence and my abilities are what I was given, and I can’t change them. 😔
A growth mindset says: I like a challenge! When I don’t succeed, that does not mean I’m not smart. It means I can grow and stretch to build new abilities. 💪
Here is the kicker:
Research shows that our mindset, whether fixed or growth, is manifested from a young age. That means behavior, relationships and even our capacity for happiness stems from this early mindset. 🤯
If you’re all the sudden feeling a LOT of responsibility, you’re not alone. When I first learned this, I panicked. I thought I have such a big impact on how they view themselves…forever!
Then I realized I already do so much work with them to become open-minded problem solvers. I truly believe it’s something we as teachers already know and implement in many ways.
Of course, we can always improve (or grow 😉) in the ways we encourage our students to implement a growth mindset themselves.
This list of growth mindset books is all about thinking in different ways, not being held back by stereotypes and overcoming personal road blocks.
This book is an excellent introduction to growth mindset for kids. It explains how your brain can stretch and grow. It really drives home the “growth” vs “fixed” concept.
I especially love this book because I can reference it when having important conversations with my students.
“Don’t forget your brain is like an elastic band. It can s-t-r-e-t-c-h. What feels hard right now will get so much easier when you keep trying.”
How powerful is that? You can change the narrative in those discussions to give students ownership of their own learning. I can’t recommend getting this book for your shelf enough.
That big word has so much to do with growth mindset. When we encourage our kids to stretch and expand their minds, some may want to give up.
This sweet story is about a rock named Ricky who just can’t roll. All of his round rock friends roll everywhere. They don’t understand why Ricky won’t join them. They encourage him to just try harder.
I have to tell you, that hits close to home. When we talk about growth mindset it’s not a “fix all” for kids who struggle. It isn’t a “get it quick” scheme, either. It takes a lot of hard work and practice.
A lot of the time it takes even more than that, too. It takes finding a different solution. Ricky is never going to be round. That’s just not something he can change. He can, however, figure out a new way to move around with the help of his friends.
Ramon loves to draw, until his brother looks at a drawing of a vase and says, “What is that?” Suddenly Ramon can’t draw anything like he could before.
How often do we see students go from “confident” to “unsure” as they learn more or watch others?
Ramon’s younger sister keeps all of his discarded drawings. When Ramon finds out and points out they are all failures, she looks at his original drawing and says, “It’s vase-ish.”
Suddenly Ramon has the powerful realization: I see things and do things in my own way, and that’s perfect for me. #growthmindset
This book is the perfect remedy to the feeling that you are not good enough to do something. Instead, you keep going! You are proud of the hard work you do because it shows that your brain is stretching and growing.
What is an idea, really? It’s an intangible concept that this book transforms into a character.
This boy’s idea is almost like a pet that follows him around. At first, he doesn’t want it around. People tell him it’s not good. He even thinks of giving it up.
Then he realizes it’s his idea and he likes it. He helps it grow and develop. It helps him see things differently.
Our kids have ideas all of the time. Encouraging them to foster those ideas will ultimately encourage problem solving and broaden their thinking as well.
This book’s main character, Rosie, is an inventor. She makes the silliest inventions that are beloved by all.
Rosie loves to invent until her uncle laughs at an invention that she made for him. He tells Rosie he loves it, but her confidence is shattered.
This book has several important lessons, (for example: your words affect others), but I love to use it as a lesson in growth mindset.
Rosie attempts to build a flying machine that works for a second and then fails. She is determined to never create anything again until her aunt convinces her that failure is a stepping stone to success.
She says, “Life might have its failures, but this was not it. The only true failure can come if you quit.”
Note: Growth mindset and S.T.E.A.M often go hand in hand in the classroom because they both focus on trying new things and persevering. There are two other books in this series that are excellent: Ada Twist, Scientist and Iggy Peck, Architect.
This book is about an ordinary girl and her ordinary dog. I LOVE that it starts off this way.
I take special time to note what “ordinary” means with my students. She is just like you and me! (This is important later.)
She decides to make the most magnificent thing. She makes a plan, gathers supplies and gets to work. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t turn out right.
So, she tries again. …and again. …and again. ….and she gets very mad.
This story is an amazing example of things not working right the first time. They almost never do and that’s an important lesson for all of us.
The end of this story has my students cheering but the process is truly my favorite part of it.
(By the end of the book, we decide that she is absolutely not ordinary, so they must not be either! ?)
Jabari, the main character in this story is absolutely, 100%, ready to jump off of the diving board.
He has taken swim lessons. He’s a really good jumper. He is absolutely not scared.
Despite all of this, Jabari hesitates. Just like our kids, he knows he has the skill. That doesn’t make the jump any less scary.
This book explores the idea that it’s okay to be scared. Overcoming fears is a part of growing. Kids will definitely be able to identify with Jabari and you will be able to learn a lesson from his patient, encouraging dad.
Growth mindset is a big, encompassing topic that will be reoccurring the whole year. I hope these growth mindset books help you tackle it from all angles.
We have an amazing opportunity to help our kids think outside of the box, take chances, overcome their fears and believe in themselves. 🎉
I would love to hear how you do this in your classroom or at home. Please share favorite activities or other books with all of us below! 👇 #teamwork