Recently I wrote a post on the Slow to Warm Up child. I looked for some books that might help them to feel seen and also feel inspired to try new things.
Lots of books and videos are about the bold, brave extroverts. But, there are some great stories about slow to warm up kids who overcome their caution and go on big adventures or take on challenges that scare them. Look for stories where a shy or quiet or cautious or worried child tries something new or finds their voice but doesn’t have to change who they are. These stories can help these kids know they’re not alone and give them more confidence about trying new things.
When No One is Watching by Spinelli. (Read-Aloud.) The narrator talks about all the bold, brave, fun things she does when no one is watching. But then she hides all that when any one is looking at her. Until she finds a special friend who she feels comfortable with, and can do everything with.
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Lovell, illus Catrow. (Read-Aloud.) Molly Lou is short, and has buck teeth, and an unusual voice – all things that might make people judge her but her grandmother teaches her to love all the unique things about herself. When she starts at a new school, she stands up for herself and finds her place.
Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster by Nelson-Schmidt. (Read-aloud.) Jonathan is scared to try lots of things as he imagines “what if” a whole list of bad things happens. Then he turns it around and imagines “what it” good things happened. That gives him the courage to try. Other good books for worriers are: Ruby Finds a Worry (Read-Aloud) and The Worrysaurus. (Read-Aloud.)
Too Shy for Show-and-Tell by Bracken, illus Bell. (Read-aloud) Sam is a quiet boy who feels like no one knows anything about him. But he’s afraid to do show and tell. In the end, he does and makes friends. I would not read this to a child who wasn’t scared of doing show and tell (we don’t want to create a fear!) but it would be great for one who was.
The Invisible Boy by Ludwig, illus Barton. (Read-aloud.) This tells about a boy who feels invisible until a new friend notices his drawing skills. Good for an elementary school child who is feeling left out.
Willow’s Whispers by Button, illus Howell. (Read-aloud.) Willow’s voice always comes out in whispers – her teacher can’t hear when she asks for apple juice and gives her orange; a student can’t hear when she says “I’m playing with that” and takes the toy. Willow’s dad supports her, and she finds her voice. Good for 4 – 7 year olds who can’t find their voice.
Mary Wrightly, So Politely by Bridges, illus Monescillo. (read-aloud.) Mary is always polite. But she’s also so very quiet that many people don’t hear her. She learns to speak up loudly (but still politely) when she needs to in order to get a special present for her brother. For 4 – 7 year olds who need to learn to speak up.
What do you recommend?
These books are specifically written for kids who are challenged by their shyness, their worries, or their tendency to make themselves small. There are also quiet kids who like to observe before jumping in – not because they’re shy or worried, just because that’s how they like to do things… I’d love recommendations for books about those kinds of kids – please add comments!
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