Books that promote a healthy self-image and loving yourself!

"Giraffes Can't Dance" By: Giles Andreae

In this children's book, Gerald the Giraffe is faced with the issue that it is thought throughout the jungle that giraffes cannot dance. In this particular forest, the animals have a "jungle dance" every year where all of the animals get together and show off their skills. As Gerald begins to make his way towards the dance floor, all of the animals start laughing and reminding him that in fact giraffes can't dance. When this happens, Gerald does what most of us would do and runs away to be alone. As Gerald runs through the jungle forest, he meets a cricket that is playing a sweet tune and is reminded that "anybody can dance when they have the right music." This lesson resignates as Gerald begins to dance around not knowing that all of the jungle animals were standing behind him in amazement. Everyone loved Gerald's dancing! This would be a good book to read to begin the year off with helping the students understand that not everybody is the same, and that we all have our own "music" that we dance to!

"You are Special" By: Max Lucado

The Wemmicks are wooden people that live in a community and place stars and dots on each other. The stars signify approval, while the dots signify disgust or disapproval. In this community there are many Wemmicks that are covered in stars due to their abilities and "cool tricks." On the other hand, Punchinello is a Wemmick that only has dots covering his little wooden body. This, understandably, is very heart-breaking and discouraging for Punchinello. He sulks around all day and tries to hide away from the dots that people keep giving him. One day, Punchinello runs into a Wemmick like he has never seen. This Wemmick has no stars and no dots, she is completely clean! The clean Wemmick, Lucia, tells Punchinello that the reason she has no marks is because she goes to their creator (the craftsman, Eli). When Punchinello gets the courage up to go see Eli, he is surprised with the fact that Eli knows everything about him. Eli tells Punchinello that the reson Lucia doesn't have any marks is because she knows that the only thing that defines who she is is the creator himself, not other Wemmicks' opiniong (the dots and stars). Punchinello leaves, struggles with this fact, but eventually sees a dot fall off as he walks out of the door because he starts to believe what Eli has told him! This book would be a great opener to your class to let them know that they are special and what others say is not important because everyone is special!
You Are Special - Max Lucado

“Who are they to give stars or dots? They're Wemmicks just like you." -Eli

"On the Night You Were Born" by Nancy Tillman

In this book, the author is using nature and animals to describe how much you are loved and how special you are. One of my all time favorite pages, now that I have finally read this book, read, "So whenever you doubt just how special you are and you wonder who loves you, how much and how far, listen for geese honking high in the sky. (They're singing a song to remember you by.) Or notice the bears asleep at the zoo. (It's because they've been dancing all night for you!) Or drift off to the sound of the wind. (Listen's whispering your name again!)" This page basically sums up the book, and also makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside (at least it does for me). This book would be a great one to read at the beginning of the year or when your class needs to be reminded that no matter what, they are loved! As I read this book, I thought of all of the children that act out because they want to feel loved. This book would help you show your students that even though you get on to them, you love them and only do it because you want the best for them!

"velma gratch & the way too cool butterfly" by : Alan Madison and Kevin Hawkes

This would be a cool book to read when you start talking about metamorphosis, but would also have great meaning when you have children who do not feel like they belong (or even start acting out to gain attention as velma did). This book tells the story of a little girl, Velma Gratch, who wanted the teachers in the first grade to remember her just like they remembered her two older sisters. In order to get their attention, Velma began to act out and not do her best in school, this led the teachers to send Velma to the office (which she was happy about because she was the "first gratch to go to the principle's office"). As the year went on, the teachers began to talk about butterflies and the process of metamorphosis. When Velma brought the butterflies up to her older sisters, they thought it was "way cool." When Velma heard this from her sisters, she began to dive into the butterflies and learn all that she could about them. This book truly exemplifies that students can act out for attention, but when teachers make things fun and interactive for the students, they can become extremely engaged and learn so much more that you could ever imagine!
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"ish" By: Peter H. Reynolds

When people make fun of us or what we like to do, we tend to get very insecure and discouraged. This is exactly what happens in the book "ish". In this book, Ramon loves to draw, it is his favorite thing to do! One day when he is drawing a vase with flowers, his brother laughs at his picture and says he doesn't even know what it is. This, like it would do to us, make Ramon both angry and very hurt. For the next couple of days, Ramon tries to fix the picture that his brother laughed at, but had no luck. Ramon kept crumpling up papers when he felt as though he had failed again. One day, Ramon's little sister came in and was watching him draw, Ramon did not like this at all and yelled at her. Ramon's sister ran off with one of the pieces of crumpled paper and Ramon chased after her very angry. But, as Ramon opened the door to his sister's bedroom, he was shocked to see a bunch of his crumpled up "failure" drawings hung up all over her walls. Ramon was confused and asked her what she was doing. She told him that they were very vase-ish and she loved them! This sparked Ramon's creativity and excitement for drawing again and he began to draw again with an "ish" flare! This book would be good to read in your classroom when you are having issues with either bullying or with people being discouraged about something that they used to love to do!
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