A growth mindset is no longer just a theoretical buzzword. It has evolved to become a practical principle that’s helping turn around many lives, bringing hope to the hopeless and assisting people to get the most out of life.
A growth mindset is applicable in every aspect of life, whether individual, corporate, or even social settings. But as an educator, the growth mindset is even more significant to the education sector. Whether a parent, teacher, learner, or avid reader of parenting articles, a growth mindset can transform your perspective of life if given a chance.
The basic tenet of the concept is that people with a growth mindset believe that intelligence is adjustable. That means that malleability is its key feature, such that with some commitment, hard work, and perseverance, one can stretch their levels of intelligence and learn new things.
Carol Dweck is the one that first coined the term. Following an extensive search and practical projects on the topic, Dweck published Mindset, The New Psychology of Success.
According to the author, the opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed one. Carol Dweck says that people with a growth mentality live wholesome, fulfilling lives with tremendous success in their education, marriage, and careers.
Dweck says that people with a growth mindset tend to do well and achieve well and achieve a lot in life. Such people have a positive attitude towards life and view challenges as a ladder for growth. They believe that obstacles and other hard things have rewards that usher them into the next phase of success.
On the other hand, individuals with a fixed mindset believe that no hard work and sacrifice can change a person’s intelligence. To them, intelligence is something set at birth, so it’s unmalleable; your efforts and determination will not make any difference.
Common Themes in The Growth Mindset Books
A few things dictate how our children view themselves and the world at large.
First, our children’s perspective of their surroundings is determined by how we present it to them. That means the people who influence children must model their lives to emulate them to see that no situation is constant in life.
As a parent, change how you talk to your children if you desire to see a change in their perspective of life.
If you constantly hurl insults at them and use languages that depict them as failures, that’s what will they will believe they are. With time, they’ll not only think that they’re less intelligent, but the same will also start manifesting in their life.
Don’t be the sort of parent or educator that pushes the failures, shortcomings, and weaknesses of your children down their throats. You’ll reinforce and rubber-stamp the negative thoughts, which eventually become their identity if you do that.
Instead, be a parent that paints a picture of possibilities around your children. Kids often learn more by observing than by what you tell them. By implication, you have to work on yourself so that the same gospel you preach to the kids is the one you subscribe to.
Every time your children come to you and tell you that they want to be something or want to do something, quit using the language of “it’s impossible.”
In short, the success of your children and learners hinges on their determination combined with your emotional, psychological, and financial support, and that is a magnificent thing.
Most of the time, parents tend to focus on the material needs of their kids and forget the other aspects necessary for a holistic child.
Even when your child is experiencing challenges in one or several areas, you need to be the first source of motivation and inspiration. Mindset matters. Tell them it’s possible, and nothing is too hard to change.
For example, you could develop a culture of reading books that encourages them to see challenges as opportunities. Buy them books, games, and any other source of motivation that reinforce the same message of growth mentality.
Don’t buy your child toy guns and other fancy items that don’t add any value to your child’s mental, emotional, and psychological development.
Give them challenges that appear to be slightly above their age or grade, and watch how they respond towards them. If your child does get it right, take the time to encourage them and walk them through the challenge.
That said, below are the best books to instill a growth mindset in your young reader and help your child or student become a better person and accomplish their dreams.
1. “Salt in His Shoes”
This growth mindset book is about Michael, a child who loves basketball but his skills aren’t as good.
He has lost hope as he thinks the reason why he can’t be a star is that he’s short. The mother comes with a weird suggestion that Michael takes out of desperation.
The idea is that he should put salt in his shoes as that will help him grow on top of saying a prayer.
Sadly, after several months, Michael is frustrated when he realizes the idea isn’t working. It’s then that he has a conversation with the father. His father encourages him that basketball is not only for the tall. In the end, Michael Jordan succeeded because of perseverance.
Dr Seuss addresses life’s challenges in a humorous verse that uses funny illustrations. The author paints a picture of the high places and soaring heights that one can accomplish if determined.
At the same time, the writer illustrates the ugly and uncomfortable places you can find yourself if you resign to fate. The author’s message is simple: seek and explore your success using your challenges as the ladder.
Sophie is drowned in frustrations because she cannot solve even a single puzzle. Her teacher is full of wisdom and decides to walk her through solving the puzzles.
She’s come to conclude that she’s not intelligent and a failure in life.
In the end, Sophie learns that she can solve puzzles and any other challenge in life. The important thing is for her to persevere and believe that every problem has a solution.
Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein major in the pressures that children face. Whether at school, home, or even in their social circles, the struggle to keep up with the demands of society tends to be overwhelming.
The urge is always to paint a picture of perfectionism and flawlessness, which obviously can’t be the case. The objective is to illustrate that it’s okay to make mistakes.
If children know that it’s okay to make mistakes, it will take this considerable pressure off their backs. The author encourages children to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes in this book.
It’s a tale revolving around Beatrice Bottomwell, who’s built a web of perfectionism and fairytale kind of life around her. Despite her efforts to live a perfected life, Beatrice makes a mistake during a significant event.
The authors intend to encourage educators and parents to have big dreams in this book. However, such dreams shouldn’t come at the expense of painting a perfect picture. In other words, it’s normal for kids with flaws to end up making it in life through determination, hard work, and discipline. Again, mindset matters.
5. “After the Fall”
Humpty Dumpty has a fear of heights.
This discovery is crippling his life as he sees himself to be useless. However, he manages to put himself back together in an exciting turn of events.
The unique themes in the book by Dan Santat are resilience, anxiety, and bouncing back after falling.
6. “Making A Splash”
The book agrees with Carol Dweck’s submission that intelligence isn’t a fixed quotient. With deliberate efforts and investments, it can be developed and stretched.
The book revolves around two siblings, Johnny and Lisa.
These two have different perspectives on learning where one believes in becoming better while the other thinks their learning outcomes are already predetermined.
In this brilliant book by Kobi Yamada, a young boy hides from the hypothetical problem he’s facing. Although he behaves as if the problem doesn’t exist, the consequences are visible. Worry and anxiety start taking over him, and it’s only a matter of time before the situation explodes.
He later discovers that his predicament wasn’t as dire as he thought. In the end, he realizes that the problem has a disguised opportunity that will advantage him if he manages to solve the problem.
8. “I Can’t Do That, YET”
The book tells the importance of “yet” in line with mindset growth. It’s a classic example that can replace the dreadful grade “F” even in informal assessments.
For example, giving a child this kind of assessment feedback is more encouraging than “F.”
In the story, the protagonist visualizes herself in some situations in the future and then realizes that such can be a reality with hard work.
9. “Whistle for Willie”
Learning new things can sometimes be frustrating, especially if we do not see results right away. Kids are prone to giving up when they don’t know something fast enough.
In this story, we see the world through Peter’s eyes as he tries to learn how to whistle for his dog, Willie. Peter’s determination to learn how to whistle grows when another boy who knows how to whistle gets Willie’s attention.
In this beautifully illustrated classic children’s book by Ezra Jack Keats, kids learn the value of persistence.
The story is about a girl and her dog. The dog is her best friend, and the two spend a lot of time together.
However, things happen, and things don’t turn out as she had anticipated. Out of frustration, she quits and says she’ll never do the same thing again.
It takes the intervention of her dog to go for a walk, albeit reluctantly, as she was disappointed with the outcomes.
During the walk, she gets a clear head and revisits the project. With enthusiasm, she goes ahead to try the project.
The story uses an impressive choice of words and illustrations that capture STEM concepts, thus making the story rich and engaging.
11. “What Do You Do With an Idea?”
This story from Kobi Yamada features a boy who has an idea and thinks it’s a great one. However, he’s worried about what others will think of it, and so eventually, he doesn’t implement it.
The idea keeps gnawing at his mind, so he decides to share it with a couple of friends. The people think it’s not an impressive mistake and can materialize from it.
But no matter what he tries, the idea sticks with him. Standing, he concludes that the people around him might be wrong and decides to actualize his vision.
The result speaks of the reward one gets when standing up for truth and ideas that even those closest to you think are crazy.
12. “Mistakes That Worked”
“Mistake that Worked” is yet another book that kids can help reinforce the assertion that there’s nothing wrong with making mistakes. Something meaningful and beautiful that can come out of a mistake.
The book comprises everyday items, many of which were discovered because of errors.
For instance, there’s a customer that kept sending his fried potatoes back to the kitchen because they weren’t thin enough; yet. After several attempts to impress the client, the chef became frustrated and sliced the potatoes very thin.
Whereas he didn’t expect anything good from it, the recipe became a hit, and the chef’s life transformed.
Hana Hashimoto has signed up for the local talent show despite taking three violin lessons. Her family thinks she’s insane to think that she can win a competition just after three classes.
Hana will hear none of her brothers’ taunting remarks, and she insists she’s going forward with the competition. She takes the advice of her late grandpa, who was also a violinist.
She does an impressive job and disapproves of everybody who doubted her.
14. “What Do You Do with a Chance?”
A kid gets the chance of a lifetime, but the opportunity vanishes with uncertainties of what to do with it. Later, he gets another chance; he grabs it, tries his best but gets it all wrong.
He’s embarrassed, and fear grips him. Consequently, he let go of multiple opportunities that came his way.
However, he decides that letting opportunities slide isn’t doing him any bit of justice. When he starts taking risks, he realizes that life is interesting when you make up your mind to take chances. This is another excellent book from Kobi Yamada.
A young one is trying so hard to learn how to ride a bicycle. Besides the frustrations, the girl is determined to get it right. In the end, it works out for her, and the joy of pulling off such a feat is simply exhilarating.
16. “What Should Danny Do?”
Danny is at the center of the action in this story. He wants to become a superhero, and so he’s faced with critical decisions that he must get right for him to actualize his dream.
The story gives the reader the privilege of deciding the decisions that Danny has to make.
Through these choices, kids learn that every decision in life has a consequence; it will either steer them in the part of their destiny or drag them far off.
17. “Drum Dream Girl”
The story is about a young girl and her love for music. The girl lives in Cuba, and she has an insatiable desire to play drums. The girl’s determination and her unstoppable attitude eventually see her turn every “you can’t” into “yes, I can.”
“The 7 Habits of Happy Kids” is a story about friends who are always up to something. They could either be out for soccer with Jumper Rabbit or singing along with the Pokey Porcupine’s harmonica.
The friends in the Seven Oaks community soon learn to take charge of their lives by practicing seven habits consistently. They find that every day comes with many adventures that make life more meaningful.
19. “Flight School”
The book by Lita Judge is a tale about a penguin who desires to fly and soar through the sky with seagulls.
Of course, its body isn’t naturally cut out for such things. But Penguin is determined, persistent, and creative.
Coupled with its ingenuity, Penguin finally achieves his dream. This book is excellent, especially if you want to teach your child to develop the capacity to think outside the box.
Many children try so hard to live a perfect kind of lifestyle. This book by Corinna Luyken encourages children to view mistakes as part of the learning process. And with that kind of attitude, it’s possible to transform an “oh no” to an “oh wow!”
A growth mindset is necessary for successful and holistic living.
Teaching your kids about and encouraging them to have a positive attitude will help them navigate life’s challenges and obstacles.
Investing in the above books for your young reader is a good way of motivating your kids to benefit from the visual tools that illustrate the application of growth mindset tools in various settings.
If you found several titles that impress you, go ahead and get them for your kid.
Use my simple and easy guide on How To Teach Growth Mindset To Kids (The 4-Week Guide)
Teaching growth mindset to children is more fun with songs, check out my list of 80 Motivational Songs That Inspire A Growth Mindset
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