Beyond Fairy Tales: 10 Picture Books to Raise Strong and Confident Girls

With the release of the new Barbie movie, the topics of identity, body image, feminism, and self-worth have seemed to emerge to the forefront of our attention. Though there are creative outlets, programs, and activities that aim to build up esteem, it can be hard for girls to get away from the messages centered on the ideal image of beauty.

The rise of social media, the presence of princess culture, and the ongoing reminder of traditional beauty standards have made it hard to escape the outside opinions regarding physical attractiveness.

The commercialized focus on good looks, perfect hair, glowing skin, and stylish clothes can be extremely damaging to a girl’s self-image. As our girls grow, it is vital that we continue to emphasize self-worth and work to remove the noise of the outside voices that encourage them to compare themselves to others. 

As parents, we have an essential job of reminding our girls that they have internal value. When we empower our children in this way, they are encouraged, they grow in their esteem, and they begin to understand that can indeed be anything (and achieve whatever they desire).

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As an abuse survivor, I’ve gone through my own battles with facing and overcoming self-doubt and insecurity. As a mom, I’m all the more cautious about the message that I portray in my own behavior, and the message that I directly instill in my daughter.

Each morning, I strive to remind my daughter of her value by citing affirmations with her and surrounding her with love, focused attention, and kindness. However, incorporating those subtle reminders in the form of books has the potential to add to the impact we’re making on our girls.

To help us better empower and inspire our girls, I partnered with Molly Branda, founder of Growing up Readers. Molly is a blogger and a professional in the books and reading niche. She has been teaching for nearly a decade and has a deep passion for instructing children on how to read. She has crafted a list of confidence boosting books just for you all. I hope you’re able to utilize this list as a tool and resource as you continue to assist your daughter in becoming her most confident self.


The Benefit of Books

Not only is the time spent reading to your child so sweet and comforting, but it’s also a great way to teach valuable life lessons. 

The books we read to our children can have so much power and influence. Reading books together gives an opportunity to encourage conversation, understand different perspectives, and create happy family memories. 

While classic fairy tales certainly have their charm, there are so many picture books today that go beyond the traditional fairy tale. 

The characters in picture books can do anything they want! They can be anything they want as well. These strong girls go on daring adventures, conquer challenges, and above all, they find the strength to believe in themselves.

These children’s books help instill strength, confidence, and resilience in young girls. Teaching our children to be confident will allow them to take risks and try new things. Picture books can be a great way to talk about these important things. 

In this blog post, we are excited to share some of our favorite picture books that will inspire and empower your young girls to confidently take on the world! 

10 Picture Books to Build Confidence in Young Girls 

I Am Enough by Grace Byers

This picture book is a must-read for every young girl. I Am Enough is a powerful reminder that we need to love ourselves, respect our peers, and be kind to others. Who wouldn’t love a picture book that has an amazing message like this? The repetitive but simple lyrical text makes this a perfect book for readers of all ages. The beautifully illustrated book is definitely worth checking out if you are looking for a book that is inspiring and heartwarming!

Most Perfect You by Jazmyn Simon

Moms, this one will hit you right in the feels! As mothers, we have so many important roles when it comes to our children. We view our children as these perfect little beings, and we want nothing more than our children to view themselves that way as well. This book does a beautiful job of highlighting one important job a mother has – to make her children feel beautiful and loved. Most importantly, this book reminds young girls to accept themselves as exactly who they are. 

Remarkably You by Pat Zietlow Miller

Need a book that celebrates your child’s individuality? Be sure to check out Remarkably You by Pat Zietlow Miller! This book delivers an important message for our young girls: find what you love to do… and do it! With charming rhyming text, this picture book celebrates a child’s potential to do great things. Our children can do all of these great things because they all have different skills, different interests, and different personalities.

Born to Sparkle by Megan Bomgaars

In this sweet book with colorful illustrations, readers are encouraged to follow their dreams – whatever those dreams may be. I love that this book addresses one key thing when it comes to achieving your dreams – you need to work hard! Throughout the book, we are reminded that it is so important to ask questions, work hard, and practice your craft. Because you were born to sparkle, anything is possible! 

Dear Girl by Amy Krouse Rosenthal 

This book is simply wonderful for young girls. If you are looking for a book that encourages girls to be themselves and love who they are, this is the book for you! The advice in this book encourages girls to be kind, smart, listen to your feelings, and be yourself. It’s a really important message for girls of all ages. 

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

In this picture book full of rhymes, Rosie Revere is quite the inventor. When a certain invention of hers is a flop, Rosie is tempted to quit and never create anything again. Luckily, Rosie’s aunt provides some wise words of encouragement to Rosie. This book encourages readers to never give up. After all, you only fail if you quit! 

She’s Got This by Laurie Hernandez 

If you have a budding gymnast, you need to check out this book! Laurie Hernandez, an Olympic gold medalist, writes the inspiring story of Zoe- a young girl who dreams of becoming a gymnast. After Zoe takes a fall in gymnastics, she is simply ready to give up. However, with the help of her family, Zoe soon learns the importance of getting up after you fall. This is such a sweet book for young girls who may feel embarrassed after a failure. 

The Girl with Big, Big Questions by Britney Winn Lee

When you are a curious girl like the character in this picture book, you are going to have a lot of questions! This curiosity drives her to ask questions to pretty much anyone she meets. Eventually, her classmates grow tired of her constant questioning. She stops asking them so much as a result. However, when she discovers a problem in her community, she soon realizes that asking questions can be so important. Will she be able to find the solution to this problem? You bet! This is an excellent book if you have a child who is quite curious, and you are hoping to never stifle that curiosity. 

Girls Can Do Anything by Caryl Hart

This is such a meaningful story with an important message about following your dreams and being true to yourself. With rhyming text and beautiful illustrations, this book is a wonderful read-aloud that will inspire little girls. This book does an outstanding job of showcasing that girls can indeed do anything they want. Positive affirmations are sprinkled throughout this book. 

Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio

When Grace learns that the United States has never had a girl president, she soon realizes that she wants to be the next president. A class election takes place between Grace and Thomas, a popular boy who seems to always win at everything he does. Will Grace win the election and become school president? This is such a thought-provoking book that also teaches young readers all about the voting process and the electoral college. From the illustrations to the message, this book is simply on point! 


So, there you have it- a full list of confidence boosting picture books that you can utilize right now! Young girls can gain knowledge, fortitude, pride, and coping skills by reading these childrens books. So, what are you waiting for? Go out and get started on reading with your daughter today!

Meet Molly Branda, the founder of Growing Up Readers. Molly founded this community to help parents in fostering their children’s love for reading and books. With curated book lists and tips for reluctant readers, Growing Up Readers equips parents with tools and strategies to get their children to love reading. 

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