Growth Mindset Picture Books Already On Your Shelf

growth mindset books and activities for kids


Teaching a growth mindset in your classroom is a great way to improve your students' persistence and effort when it comes to completing challenging assignments.

Teaching strategies to help students develop a growth mindset is a year-long commitment that in time, will become part of the culture of your classroom community. It is no easy undertaking, but the benefits for students are profound.

One way that I have found to drive home the concept of having a growth mindset is by using picture books. This is because students instantly connect with favorite and new characters as they accompany them on a journey of growth and change. Picture books also help begin conversations about growth vs fixed mindset.

I know that building a classroom library can be expensive. That is why I created a list of picture books that you probably have on your bookshelves already. Don't worry if your students have already read or heard these books before. Rereading books with a different lens will strengthen your students as readers and help them make connections between the characters that they already know and the concept of a growth mindset. Grab free growth mindset activities to be completed following a read-aloud of any of these books at the bottom of this post. 

Check your classroom library shelves for these classic books!


growth mindset activities and book for teachers


Brave Irene by William Steig

Do not let the snowy winter setting of this book stop you from reading this story at any time of the year! This book follows the determined main character, Irene as she travels through a terrible storm facing many obstacles to deliver a dress for her mother. This character shows a great deal of perseverance, persistence, and determination along her journey. Not only is it inspirational to read this book as you discuss growth mindset, but you can revisit and reread this book when you are teaching character analysis for a quick refresher on growth mindset.



read aloud books for upper elementary for growth mindset


Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae

This is absolutely one of my favorite books to read! It is written in prose and let's be honest, reading aloud poetry books is engaging for teachers AND students. For the main character Gerard, the thing most difficult for him to do is dance. After he is teased over and over, he realizes that he needs a different strategy to help him be successful at dancing. This book is a great way to reinforce to students that the learning process is more important than the outcome.



growth mindset vs fixed mindset activities


Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco

Warning: you may cry during your read-aloud of this book! I love reading this book during growth mindset lessons because it is a true story. This book follows the main character, who happens to be the author of the book, as she struggles to learn how to read. After connecting with a very special teacher, she learns that she has dyslexia. This helps her to realize that she needs to learn a different way. This book will again support your discussions of how important the learning process, different strategies, and perseverance are as you teach students to have a growth mindset.



growth mindset read aloud activities


A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams

I love this book and you probably do, too! This book can be ready during your kindness, empathy, and theme lessons, but it is also perfect to read and discuss growth mindset. The main character in this book, along with her family, are determined to save enough money for a new chair for her mother, after a fire in their last home destroyed theirs. I love the message and theme of the story of working together and appreciating what you have. This can easily be tied to a growth mindset as we teach students to work together, use their strengths, and what they have to help them succeed. 



Growth Mindset Picture Books Already On Your Shelf

Jambari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

This book is so relatable! The main character Jambari wants to take that giant leap after he finished his swimming lessons, but first he has to face his fears. Is there a better way to explain growth mindset to your students? Luckily for Jambari his father is right by his side helping him see his true potential. The adorable illustrations in this book helps the children to feel what Jambari feels as he grows during the story.


Growth Mindset Picture Books Already On Your Shelf

Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty

You may have this book on your shelf to share with students during makerpace, science, and STEM lessons, but this book is just perfect to read with a growth mindset lens. The main character loves to make inventions to help people, but after she is laughed at, her confidence begins to dwindle. But after a little pep talk from her aunt she realizes that the only true failure is quitting. 


growth mindset read aloud


The Most Magnificient Thing by Ashley Spires

This story has an extremely relatable character that your students will not only connect with but love! The main character has the vision to create something amazing and magnificent. But after many fails, she realizes that creating it is not as easy as she thought and she gets mad and gives up. Sound familiar? With a little nudging from her best dog friend, she decides to look at things differently and try again. This book is just perfect for back to school growth mindset lessons!


Have you heard about these books?


growth mindset read alouds and activities

These titles may not be in your classroom library....yet, but if you are looking to grab new titles that can be used during your growth mindset lessons, these are some must-haves!


  • The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett This book tells the story of a girl who loves to be perfect and afraid to make a mistake. She learns that not everything is in her control and that mistakes do happen. Eventually, she begins to embrace making mistakes.
  • I Can't Do That Yet by Esther Pia Cordana This book is about reaching your potential and overcoming your fears. It is a great book to spark conversation about never giving up and growth mindset vs fixed mindset.
  • Salt in His Shoes by Deloris Jordan This true story about Michael Jordan will keep your students engaged and help them to learn that even successful athletes had to work hard to achieve their goals. This book is also perfect to help students set SMART goals for the new school year.
  • After the Fall by Dan Santat This book tells the story about Humpty Dumpty...after the fall. I love the message about getting back up again, dusting yourself, and trying again. The surprise ending will have your students remembering this book and its message for a long time.


One last new book perfect for Growth Mindset!



snail crossing picture book and activities


Snail Crossing by Corey R. Tabor

I love this book! If every there was a book about growth mindset, this is it! This book follows the main character, a snail, on his journey to cross the road to the get some cabbage to eat. Sounds simple, right? But with many obstacles thrown at him and getting all turned around, literally, he realizes that help to reach your goals can come with a little help from your friends! 


Make teaching a growth mindset part of your back to school lessons with the books that are already on your bookshelf. As our school expectations, curriculum, and state testing and mandates increase in difficulty it is important to teach our students to persevere. Helping students have a growth mindset and not a fixed mindset will help students work through difficult tasks and succeed.

Grab free growth mindset activities to be completed following a read-aloud of any of these books at the bottom of this post. 

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Growth Mindset Picture Books Already On Your Shelf


You might be interested in the Growth Mindset Alphabet.









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