Books to boost body image and self love in kids

Guest post.

Standing in front of the mirror, head tilted. She squints, focuses, dwells. She hones in on all the ‘flaws’ – and the tween girl looking back at her agrees with her thoughts.

Yep. Definitely ugly.

Her hair is too thin. Her skin too pale. Her body too thick. And her face? Well it’s hideous, of course.

She approaches the heap of clothes on her floor (the one her mum has been nagging her to put away) and selects the same oversized hoodie she wears most days. Even though it’s not cold.

She wants to hide. Disappear in its softness and be comforted by its cloaking. Mostly, she’s hoping to be invisible to all the other thinner, prettier, more popular kids she might run into at the shops.

These are the likeable ones. The ones worthy of attention, admiration and ALL the love because they don’t look like her.

She feels less than. And she does more and more everyday.

We all know her

As I write this, I have a specific kid in mind, but she could be many we know – boy or girl, or even a grown up (us?).

But this tween is a beautiful 12-year-old girl. She has a huge heart and I adore her. She’s kind and funny, but lately she’s losing her sparkle. And I think it’s because she doesn’t see herself as I do.

I know she is becoming terribly hindered by a distorted body image. One that is being reaffirmed by the unrealistic beauty standards she sees on Instagram, TV and in advertising. It also doesn’t help that there have been some unkind comments made from other kids about her appearance (so her mum tells me). Sob.

She’s at risk of developing an eating disorder (if she hasn’t already) and of going through life thinking she’s not worthy, not loveable, not enough.

Her self esteem is plummeting and I want to scream at her that she’s everything she thinks she isn’t and then some.

But that’s not the way to reach kids. It never is.

Self-love boosting books

While she has all the support of a wonderful family, this impressionable young girl needs to develop a healthy body image herself. She needs to learn to view her amazing body for what it does and gives her, not how society tries to make her feel about it.

She also needs an injection of self love so SHE can harness her own internal power to silence negative thoughts, or better yet, not have these in the first place because she knows she deserves more.

She needs a stack of empowering books at her fingertips. Books that will reach her, connect with her and then change her thinking. Books written by awesome humans with powerful words that will ingrain themselves in her psychic so she can draw on them again and again – even years later when she’s all grown up.

Here are some titles that do just that. Some are for younger readers (because a healthy body image and loving oneself should be encouraged from the get go) and some are aimed at older teens.

All are important. All are powerful and all are picked by Megan Daley who knows the best books to reach young ones, including my friend’s little girl.

My hope is after reading a few of them, she’ll start to see her sparkly self again in the mirror.

I hope all of our kids do.

(See all of Megan’s favourite reads for each age and stage here.)

Best books to boost body image and self esteem in kids

Books are listed in age group order, apart from Love your Body which we have placed at the top of this list because Megan feels this is truly a must-read for ALL kids over six and doesn’t want you to miss it!

‘Love your body’

By Jessica Sanders, Carol Rossetti (Illustrator)

 For ages 6+

‘All bodies are good bodies’

By Charlotte Barkla, Erica Salcedo (Illustrator)

 For ages 3+

‘It’s okay to be different’

By Todd Parr

 For ages 3+

‘Embrace your body’

By Taryn Brumfitt, Sinead Hanley (Illustrator)

 For ages 3+

‘You are like you’

By Shona Innes and Irisz Agocs

 For ages 3+

‘Be who you are’

By Todd Parr

 For ages 3+

‘I am enough’

By Grace Byers, Keturah A. Bobo (Illustrator)

 For ages 4+

‘Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon’

By Patty Lovell

 For ages 4+

‘Julian is a mermaid’

By Jessica Love

 For ages 4+


By Lupita Nyong’o, Vashti Harrison (Illustrator)

 For ages 5+

‘Freckleface strawberry’

By Julianne Moore, LeUyen Pham (Illustrator)

 For ages 5+

‘Abigail the whale’

By Davide Cali, Sonja Bougaeva (Illustrator)

 For ages 6+

‘Beautiful girl’

By Christiane Northrup

 For ages 6+

‘Girl Stuff for Girls Aged 8 – 12’

By Kaz Cooke

 For ages 8+

‘Be your own man’

By Jessica Sanders, Robbie Cathro (Illustrator)

 For ages 8+

Megan’s review of ‘Be Your Own Man’.

‘Girl Wise’

By Sharon Witt

 For ages 8+

‘Wise Guys’

By Wise Guys

 For ages 8+


By Jess Hong

 For ages 8+

‘You are awesome’

By Matthew Syed, Toby Triumph (Illustrator)

 For ages 9+

‘Dare to be you’

By Matthew Syed, Toby Triumph (Illustrator)

 For ages 9+

‘A Smart Girl’s Guide to Liking Herself’

By Laurie E Zelinger, Jennifer Kalis

 For ages 9+

‘Shine From Within’

By Amanda Rootsey

 For ages 11+

‘The Body image book for girls’

By Charlotte Markey

 For ages 12+

‘Good Selfie’

By Turia Pitt

 For ages 12+

‘Future Girl’

By Asphyxia

 For ages 12+

‘At Home Within’

By Meredith Gaston

 For ages 12+

‘Find Your Sparkle’

By Meredith Gaston

 For ages 12+


By Jennifer Mathieu

 For ages 12+

‘Girl Stuff 13+’

By Kaz Cooke

 For ages 13+


By Maxine Beneba Clarke

 For ages 15+

Lana Hallowes is an online writer and mum of two boys. She recently adopted a rescue puppy, so feels like there’s also a wayward toddler living in her house. When she isn’t mumming or working, she’s ignoring the housework and reading a good book.

Looking for more great book reviews and recommendations? I’m Megan Daley and you can find out more about me here.

My book recommendations (for babies to young adults) is here and you can peruse ALL of my reviews (searchable by age, genre and theme) here.

Check out my mini ebook, ‘What to Read Next‘ or sign up for my FREE webinar, ‘3 Tips to Start the Best Book Club Ever‘.


November 14, 2021 at 01:18PM Lana Hallowes