10 Books That Promote A Positive Body Image In Children

Is your child conscious about his thin frame? Does he hesitate to socialise because of the braces on his teeth? These books on body positivity will help your child become a confident individual

By Sahana Charan

10 Books That Promote A Positive Body Image In Children

How we feel about our bodies can often determine how confident and self-assured we are in our day-to-day life. Your child may be thin, tall, short, overweight, dark or have curly hair – if he has a positive body image, he will be comfortable in most situations and will believe in his abilities. This positivity helps in facing challenges later in life.

It is important to inculcate in children a love and acceptance of themselves, so that they develop body confidence. A negative body image pushes a child to be awkward and uncomfortable, to avoid making friends and to be socially isolated. Teach children to celebrate who they are with these wonderful books on body positivity. Start reading now --

1. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell

Illustrated by David Catrow

Ages: 3-8 years

This charming book inspires children to be themselves and not to be run down by bullies. The protagonist, Molly Lou Melon is a little girl who is short and clumsy, with buck teeth and a funny voice. But her greatest strength is her confidence and determination. When Molly joins school, she is picked on by a bully who tries to put her down. But the little girl always remembers her grandmother’s advice to stand tall and walk proud, and nothing can dampen her spirits. This book is a great example of how one should make the most of one’s gifts.

2. One Fat Summer by Robert Lipsyte

Ages: 11+ years

This acclaimed book traces the tribulations of a teenaged boy Bobby Marks, who is overweight and ridiculed by everyone around him. He hates summer because he cannot hide his body under the winter jackets. This particular summer is worse because he is at Rumson Lake and working for the stingy Dr Kahn, who pays him very little. How Bobby stands up for himself and overcomes his weight problems forms the crux of the story. Children will identify with the realistic portrayal of the teen hero in the book.

3. What I Like About Me! by Allia Zobel Nolan

Illustrated by Miki Sakamoto

Ages: 4-9 years

This is a lovely book that celebrates differences. It gives the message that every person is unique and has her own place in the world. The children in the story are as different as chalk and cheese, but happy in their own skin. They love the braces on their teeth, the spectacles they wear and so on.It is an interactive book that encourages children to talk about their special gifts. Your little one will love to touch and feel the different traits of the children featured in the book.

4. A Smart Girl’s Guide to Liking Herself: Even on the Bad Days by Laurie Zelinger

Illustrated by Jennifer Kalis

Ages: 9-12 years

An interesting and lively self-help book targeted at preteen girls, A Smart Girl’s Guide...encourages girls to feel good about their body and features. It is natural for young girls in the preteen age to feel awkward, be clumsy and have negative thoughts about their growing body. This simple and effective guide gives sound advice on feeling positive even in difficult situations, building your self-esteem and being confident of yourself.

5. Sticks and Stones by Abby Cooper

Ages: 10-13 years

This charming and light-hearted book is about accepting yourself and being comfortable in your own skin. This body positive book about a sixth-grade student Elyse will strike a chord with youngsters who struggle with body image issues. Elyse has a genetic condition and since she was small, all the words that people use to describe appear on her arms and legs as rashes. How the youngster learns to accept and be the best version of herself, makes an interesting lesson for all kids.

6. The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler

Illustrated by David Lee Csicsko

Ages: 4-8 years

This beautiful book, which is published by the Chicago Children’s Museum describes – through lively verse – how children can be different as well as similar, in various ways. It describes children of different skin colours engaged in various activities and celebrates their differences. Children will love the way the rhymes interestingly use the analogy of food to distinguish the skin colour of every child. Teach your children about acceptance and self-esteem through this book.

7. Your Body is Awesome: Body Respect for Children by Sigrun Danielsdottir

Illustrated by Bjork Bjarkadottir

Ages: 4+ years

A body positivity book for younger children, it focuses on how our body is amazing and can perform so many different functions. Through colourful illustrations, the picture book tells children why it is important to take care of their body and be healthy. Knowing about the different parts of the body and what each part does, helps children feel proud of their body and feel good about themselves.

8. Wonder by R J Palacio

Ages: 10+ years

Wonder is one of those books that all parents must read themselves and recommend to children, if they want to demonstrate compassion and acceptance. The New York Times bestseller, which has now been made into a Hollywood film, explores the heart-warming story of a boy with facial deformity. 10-year-old August is joining a mainstream school for the first time and the sometimes insensitive and sometimes awkward reactions of adults and kids to his facial difference, reveals various nuances of human behaviour. Read with your child and have tissues handy.

9. Minu And Her Hair by Gayathri Bashi

Ages: 3+ years

This wonderful book from Tulika is not just good to read but your preschooler will also have fun touching the pages. The story depicted in eye-catching illustrations goes like this -- little Minu hates her hair because it is really wild – all attempts to tame her tresses are unsuccessful. She asks, “Why me?” Then, her grandfather makes her understand how special she is and that her hair is beautiful. Minu’s hair is represented with many blacks threads and touching them will give a realistic feel to children. All of us have own unique traits and features and that’s what brings out our individuality – this is the lesson kids will learn from this book.

10. Diary of A Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney

Ages: 9+ years

One of the best-selling books of 2010, and fifth in the series of Wimpy Kid books, it is an interesting read about confronting our fears and embracing the changes of growing up. The book deals with the physical and emotional changes that Greg has to cope with and how he learns to manage it, in a humorous and heart-warming way. It is a great read for children just about to step into their teens, and who have doubts about their body and appearance.

Gift these engaging books to inculcate positive body image in your children and talk to kids about being comfortable in their skin.

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