If you are a parent, teacher, or educator looking to help your children grow into confident, successful adults, the best growth mindset books for kids in 2023 will help you do that!
Individuals with a growth mindset believe that they can learn through mistakes. Furthermore, they view hard work and perseverance as essential building blocks for intelligence.
If you have a child who quickly gives up, has perfectionist tendencies, or is hesitant to try new experiences, teaching them about a growth mindset can make a world of difference. (It’s backed by loads of research!)
In this post, we will talk about how to introduce the concept of a growth mindset to your child or students and where to find the best growth mindset books for kids in 2023 for their age group.
- What is a growth mindset for kids?
- The 11 best growth mindset books for kids in 2023
- The last thing you need to know about the best growth mindset books for kids in 2023
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What is a growth mindset for kids?
A growth mindset is a way of thinking about intelligence, talent, and ability. It champions the idea that these qualities are not fully innate but develop over time through persistence and hard work.
Dr. Carol Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist, first introduced the concept of a growth mindset in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
In this book, she explains how people with a growth mindset believe that they can change their intelligence. In contrast, those with a fixed mindset believe that their IQ is static.
Benefits of growth mindset for students
A study by Dweck and colleagues found that when students learn about the power of growing their brains through hard work and perseverance, they perform better in school.
Research has revealed countless benefits for students who adopt a growth mindset, including:
- more motivation to learn
- higher self-esteem
- increased resilience in the face of failure
- greater success in school
Growth mindset vs. fixed mindset for kids
Growth mindset characteristics
A growth mindset is a mental attitude in which people believe that their intelligence, skills, and abilities can improve over time through dedication and hard work.
Individuals with a growth mindset:
- welcome new experiences (even if they seem difficult)
- persevere through challenges and failures
- know there’s no “perfect” (particularly without practice)
- embrace constructive feedback
Fixed mindset characteristics
People who hold a fixed mindset believe their basic abilities are unchangeable. In other words, they are limited to what they have from birth.
People with a fixed mindset may:
- resist new experiences (particularly if they appear challenging)
- give up easily
- have perfectionist tendencies
- resist constructive feedback
How do you describe a growth mindset for kids?
As a school counselor, I explained the concept of a growth mindset to my students using the muscle analogy:
Key tip: Visuals can be essential for teaching abstract concepts to young kids! I liked to use a stretchy Monkey Noodle band (below) in my growth mindset lessons.
This provides kids with a hands-on learning experience and they love to grow and stretch the band like a muscle!
Examples of growth mindset for kids
Here are two key examples you are welcome to use to help explain the concept of a growth mindset to your child or students.
Growth mindset example for school
A child sits down to complete his math homework. After one attempt, she struggles to remember what her teacher said in class and cannot complete the problem… yet.
Unlike someone with a fixed mindset who may leave the question blank, jot down a random number, or not turn in the assignment, a child with a growth mindset will keep trying.
She may use her growth mindset to:
- Review class notes from her teacher’s lesson
- Reference her textbook for an example problem
- Ask a parent or older sibling for guidance
- Write down questions to ask her teacher the next day about where she got stuck
Growth mindset example for sports & extracurricular activities
A high school freshman tries out for the school baseball team and doesn’t make it… yet.
Unlike someone with a fixed mindset who may blame the coach, speak negatively about the kids who did make it, say/think, “I’ll never be good enough,” a child with a growth mindset will use a negative experience to grow and learn.
He may use his growth mindset to:
- Ask the coach for specific feedback on how to improve
- Volunteer as a team equipment manager to build connections and support the school team
- Join a local baseball league to keep practicing and pursuing his passion
- Set a goal to practice baseball at home 30 minutes per day; 5 days a week
How can I help my child develop a growth mindset?
There are many ways to help a child develop a growth mindset:
- Recognize them for their effort rather than praise them for their ability.
- Celebrate new experiences and the courage needed to take risks.
- Emphasize that mistakes are opportunities to grow.
- Discipline to teach new skills, rather than punish (learn how here)
- Teach kids about the concept of a growth mindset and how to apply it to daily challenges
- Hold a genuine belief they are capable of growth and success!*
*Fascinatingly, research has uncovered a phenomenon known as the Pygmalion Effect. When teachers have high expectations for their students, they are more likely to gain higher levels of achievement!
Recognition vs. Praise
Research tells us that well-intended praise such as “you’re so smart!” can contribute to a fixed mindset in kids.
Why? These statements reinforce a belief that intelligence is purely innate and cannot be changed through hard work.
Rather than pouring on praise and rewards, strategic recognition can spark internal motivation and a growth mindset in children.
The 11 best growth mindset books for kids in 2023
Parents and teachers need to teach children about a growth mindset to reap the profound academic and social/emotional benefits.
Books are one of the easiest and most impactful ways to do just that!
In this post, we will talk about the best growth mindset books for kids in 2023 for:
- Elementary-aged kids & the classroom setting
- Middle schoolers
Best growth mindset books for toddlers and preschoolers
Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg
This colorful interactive lift-the-flap style book appears simple, yet delivers a profound message.
There are no “mistakes,” only opportunities to learn and grow.
As a school counselor, my youngest students loved (an often over-the-top reading of) Beautiful Oops! The bright colors and tactile features will be adored by even the youngest of readers.
The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires
The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do is a fantastic choice for young kids who can’t yet do what other kids can.
Pirate-loving Lou comes up with every excuse not to climb a tree. Then she gets frustrated when she does try and fails.
By the end, Lou still cannot make it to the top, but far more importantly, she has embraced the power of yet.
It’s Okay to Make Mistakes by Todd Parr
A sure-fire favorite among positive parents! Todd Parr validates for the youngest of readers that it’s okay to fall, ask for help, and color outside the lines.
It’s Okay to Make Mistakes emphasizes that missteps help us learn and grow. And that even grown-ups make mistakes too… and that’s okay!
Toddlers and preschoolers will surely connect with Parr’s colorful, playful illustrations and light-hearted writing style.
Best growth mindset books for Kindergarten
A Thousand No’s by DJ Corchin (Illustrated by Dan Dougherty)
A delightful, visual representation of “making lemonade out of lemons.”
Watch as bold, black and white illustrations transform into a pop of color when 1,000 “no’s” become one giant YES.
Young children will learn that all it takes is one simple mindset shift to turn a bad day around.
Y is for Yet: A Growth Mindset Alphabet by Shannon Anderson (Illustrated by Jacob Souva)
Growth mindset with an A-B-C twist!
Y is for Yet not only explains in Kindergarten-friendly terms what growth mindset is all about but how to apply it in everyday life.
Parents and educators will value the 5 bonus pages packed with growth mindset questions and conversation starters, along with engaging activity ideas for kids.
Best growth mindset books for students and the classroom setting
The Growth Mindset Workbook by DaddiLife Books
It breaks my heart that this fantastic Growth Mindset Workbook came about after I left the classroom!
The workbook is packed with 60 colorful short stories, self-discovery quizzes, and engaging worksheet activities and helps elementary-aged children apply “the power of yet.”
The workbook also encourages children to celebrate mistakes and build resilience and self-awareness through journaling.
It’s an ideal resource for kids who struggle with a fixed mindset and would benefit from diving deeper beyond a traditional picture book.
The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi (Illustrated by Lorena Alvarez)
This vibrant picture book is beautifully diverse, making it a top choice for the elementary classroom setting.
The Magical Yet exudes optimism, empowering children to embrace the hope of what is yet to come with a little hard work!
The Magical Yet provides tons of visual growth mindset examples that can be applied to sports, the arts, play, and academic endeavors.
Mission: CONTROL!: A Big Feelings Adventure! by Nan Arkwright (Illustrated by Joe Bauman)
A must-read for the space adventure, comic book, or video-game-loving kid in your life!
Joseph faces some BIG emotions when mom says it’s time to turn off the TV and go to bed. Readers will love joining him (and his adorable pup Gretchen) on an imaginative trip to space to work through his feelings of anger.
Upon returning to earth, Joseph discovers that solving his problem calmly through “W.I.L.L. Power” can grow his brain!
The best part? Parents and educators can download free resources and kids’ activities that go hand-in-hand with Mission: CONTROL! here.
The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein
The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes is an excellent tool for teaching a growth mindset to kids with perfectionist tendencies.
Kids will enjoy a bit of physical comedy when things finally come crashing down (literally) for Beatrice. Watch as she handles her big mistake with grace and humor.
The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes was always a crowd-pleaser in my third-grade classroom lessons!
Best growth mindset books for middle schoolers
You Are Awesome: Find Your Confidence and Dare to be Brilliant at (Almost) Anything by Matthew Syed
The You Are Awesome Journal is a must-read for middle schoolers and makes for an empowering 8th-grade graduation gift!
In this practical, yet inspiring guide, Matthew Syed shares his journey of how he overcame obstacles and became an Olympian, scholar, and author. He empowers adolescents towards resilience by affirming it’s okay to make mistakes…as long as you keep trying!
Mistakes That Worked: The World’s Familiar Inventions and How They Came to Be by Charlotte Foltz Jones
This 80-page chapter book is packed full of intriguing facts. It’s a big win for the middle school age group who can sometimes be tough to sway when it comes to growth mindset!
Did you know that chocolate chip cookies were a failed attempt at chocolate cookies? And the first seeing eye dog came about when a pup was inadvertently left alone with a blind man?
The best part about Mistakes That Worked is its detailed glossary. Whether your middle schooler is interested in the Olympic games, potato chips, or silly putty, they’re sure to find that special topic that floats their boat!
The Girls’ Guide to Growth Mindset: A Can-Do Approach to Building Confidence, Courage, and Grit by Kendra Coates
The Girls’ Guide to Growth Mindset is an excellent resource for parents who want to teach their daughters about how important it is to have an open mind when faced with challenges.
This book also provides many examples of how the growth mindset can be used in everyday life, applicable to young girls ages 8 to 12.
The last thing you need to know about the best growth mindset books for kids in 2023
With the best growth mindset books for kids in 2023, you’ll be ready to introduce your child to the concept of learning through mistakes. What an incredible gift!
Now let’s talk about how to grow that impact tenfold.
The impact of positive parenting on growth mindset
By adopting an authoritative, positive approach to discipline, we can show kids through our actions that mistakes are opportunities to grow and learn.
This requires swapping traditional, punitive forms of parenting for the true definition of parenting, meaning “to teach.”
Build a foundation in positive parenting for free
If you ever think “I want to parent differently than how I was raised,” but don’t know where to start, I made a free course just for you!
Developed through my training and experience as a certified positive parent educator and former professional school counselor, I’ve helped thousands of parents around the world go from power struggles to peaceful problem-solving.
One small action step each day will transform you into a calm, confident parent with a solid foundation in positive parenting. Feel proud as a parent who not only talks the talk but walks the walk when it comes to a growth mindset.
You’ve got this!
2 thoughts on “The Best Growth Mindset Books for Kids in 2023”
This post sparked a great family discussion! My second was born a perfectionist haha. But I was reminded of a Sesame Street music video/song called “The Power of Yet”. My perfectionist loves the song and this inspired me to use it to teach her about making mistakes and allowing her brain to grow.
Thanks so much for your kind comment, Abbey, I’m so glad to hear this! I love that Sesame Street song and showed it to all of my Kindergarten and 1st-grade classes when I used to teach lessons on growth mindset! 🙂