Growth mindset is an important topic to discuss all year long, but it is especially easy to implement at the start of the year. As teachers, it is our job to encourage and promote a growth mindset in our classrooms as much as possible. I love integrating picture books into these lessons. You could use the following books at the start of the year, one each month, or when your class needs a reminder of these skills.
Bubble Gum Brain
Introduce your students to Bubble Gum Brain and Brick Brain in this growth mindset picture book. Both of these kids have completely different mindsets. Bubble Gum Brain is adventurous and isn’t afraid of trying new things or making mistakes. Brick Brain is set in his ways. He will not try new things, especially if it means he might make a mistake. Use Bubble Gum Brain to demonstrate to your students what growth mindset looks like.
The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes
We all usually have at least one student who strives to be perfect all the time and is afraid to make a mistake. This story is perfect for that child! Students will learn that it is impossible to be perfect all of the time. Share this story with your class to remind them that mistakes help you grow! Get your copy of The Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes.
Your Fantastic Elastic Brain
Your Fantastic Elastic Brain teaches children about the brain’s functions and why it is important to help it grow. This engaging picture book covers growth mindset and encourages students to learn new things to help strengthen their brain. Students are encouraged to keep trying things that were hard at first, maybe they didn’t enjoy doing, or didn’t do very well. With practice and time, new skills become easier!
After the Fall
After the Fall is about the classic nursery rhyme, Humpty Dumpty, and explains how he gets back up after his fall. It’s one of my favorite picture books to use to teach growth mindset. Humpty Dumpty was put back together, but has found a new fear of heights. This is a wonderful read that will lead to discussions about perseverance and courage. You can discuss what it looks like to be courageous both outside of school and in school. “Life begins when you get back up,” is the underlying message from this adorable picture book. After discussing the story, wouldn’t it be fun to take it a step further and create a STEAM lesson? Have your students create a gadget to protect Humpty the next time he might fall!
Giraffe’s Can’t Dance
In this touching tale, Gerald the giraffe wants to dance, but the other animals are unkind to him and tease him about his dancing. Gerald receives encouraging words from a cricket, and soon is a beautiful dancer. Teachers can incorporate conversations about kindness, self-esteem, confidence, encouragement, and the power of YET, in Giraffes Can’t Dance.
This is the perfect book to teach the perseverance phrase of, “Am I there yet? Not yet. Will I get there? You bet!” The main character of Not Yet, Lorisa, models that you will make mistakes and that is okay! This book encourages students to dream big and think positive.
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
I love that a book from 1939 can have relevant lessons today. In this classic picture book, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel have promised to dig a cellar in one day. No one thinks they can accomplish this, but with determination and perseverance they do! Mike Mulligan has a growth mindset, and has not allowed a challenging task discourage him.
Mae Among the Stars
This book was inspired by the first African American woman in space, Mae Jamison. Mae always dreamed of being in space as a child and becoming an astronaut. Her parents encourage Mae and tell her that if she works hard, she can be anything that she wants to be. However, her teacher and classmates are not as encouraging and tell Mae that she can’t be an astronaut. This book teaches students to believe that no matter what people say, you should follow your dream and always work hard for it. Get a copy of Mae Among the Stars here!
Rosie Revere, Engineer
Rosie Revere, Engineer book teaches readers that the only true failure is giving up. Students will learn about a young girl, Rosie, who loves to build and create things and dreams of becoming an engineer. Students will learn how the reactions of others can quickly dishearten someone’s dreams. Such is the case when Rosie’s uncle laughs at her cheese hat invention. Soon, Rosie attempts to build a flying mechanism for her aunt, but it doesn’t work quit as she planned it to. Her aunt’s reaction to the invention is more inspiring. She explains to Rosie that her first flop was actually a success and a step in the right direction. Rosie learns that she can only fail if she quits. And with that, Rosie learns from her mistakes and tries again! This also makes for a great STEAM extension.
This book is about a penguin who wants to accomplish something new and unheard of. He wants to fly! He models determination and hard work in this adorable book. Penguin shows how perseverance and support from others, will help you achieve your dreams. Grab a copy of Flight School here!
Growth Mindset Activities
Another great way to build growth mindset is with these fun, interactive activities. This printable and digital resource will help your students understand how the brain works and show them that their brains literally grow! Your students will love these fun, interactive, growth mindset activities.
This resource has 5 days of lessons that will help students understand how their brain works as well as help them understand what it means to have a growth mindset. Simply print and present the printable pages.
The digital option is great for classroom with 1:1 devices. Each of the slides include audio, making differentiation a breeze. Students interact with the slides by manipulating digital tools, typing in responses, and reflecting on their learning.
- The Brain AKA “The Boss”
- Parts of the Brain
- Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset
- Mistakes and Famous Failures
- Developing Grit
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More Classroom Read-Alouds
Are you looking for other read-alouds to help build community and promote kindness in the classroom? Check out THIS post!
And you can find additional growth mindset activities here.
Have a Not So Wimpy Day,
Thank-you for sharing these lists. I have some of the books, but always like to add new ones to the mix.