Since children are impressionable, it is important to consider the messages that they may be receiving via books and movies. In a couple of our previous posts, we have noted some concerning examples of body shaming in children’s books.
As we discussed last time, we wanted to poll parents for recommendations of children’s books that encourage a healthy, body positive mindset. Many of the recommendations we received are listed below. However, we’d like to offer a disclaimer: we haven’t read each of these word-by-word, so keep in mind that you may want to review them yourself before purchasing them and/or reading them with your children. Also, these are not endorsements or affiliate links – the titles listed here are the results from our informal poll. Lastly, this is likely not a complete list.
- Your Body is Awesome – this book is recommended for kids ages 4 and up, and seeks to encourage “respect for body diversity” by celebrating all the things that a healthy body can do and the fact that bodies come in all different shapes and sizes.
- What I Like about Me – this book praises the many ways that children’s bodies can be unique and special, and includes illustrations of children with braces, glasses, and the like. Additionally, it features children of color, who are drastically underrepresented as characters in children’s books.1 Overall, it seeks to help children celebrate the uniqueness in their physical appearance.
- All of Me: A Book of Thanks – This book teaches children to be grateful for their bodies in ways that emphasize what their body does for them, rather than what it looks like: “Look at my fine feet! Thank you, feet, for holding me up when I stand, and when I walk, and when I jump!” We love the emphasis on celebrating our bodies for what they allow us to do.
- I Like Myself – The author’s dedication inside this book reads “Wishing every child the magic of self-acceptance and love.” The book itself is a singsong celebration of self-love “I like myself! I’m glad I’m me. There’s no one else I’d rather be.”
We are encouraged that there are a few books available for children that promote body positivity and body diversity! We acknowledge that there are probably other titles, but those topped the list on our poll. Did we miss any of your favorites? If so, let us know in the comments!
- 2014 Statistics published by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/books/pcstats.asp