Do you have a child who is a perfectionist?
(Or maybe you’re one yourself!).
Perfectionism can be really challenging, making day to day life difficult when you’re so focused on avoiding failure at all costs.
These picture books are the perfect way to talk about perfectionism with your child and help them understand that making mistakes is part of the human experience.
books about perfectionism
The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken
This clever book shows how an accidental drop of ink or a smudge or a misplaced line can make an original idea more imaginative and wonderful than you could have ever dreamed.
I Like Me by Nancy Carlson
This uplifting story is a celebration of self-esteem. A peppy pig has great feelings about herself, and even when she makes mistakes, she is not afraid to get back up and try again.
The Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes by Gary Rubinstein
Beatrice embodies the true definition of a perfectionist. She has NEVER made a mistake. Not even once! But what will happen when Beatrice makes a huge mistake in front of everyone?
The Good Egg by Jory John
Good Egg is surrounded by a carton of badly behaved eggs. He is starting to crack under the pressure of trying to stay perfect. Is it time for him to make a change?
Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg
This book offers such a great example of turning a mistake into something beautiful. Torn, crinkled, and smudged bits of paper can be transformed into something new and great.
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
Sometimes you get very excited about an idea. And then, when things don’t go as planned, you get very mad. But that doesn’t have to be the end of the story.
It Is Not Perfect by Anna Kang
What happens when two little creatures build a sandcastle, and each think their new additions are better than the others? Their sandcastle gets big, REALLY BIG! But will it be the perfect sandcastle?
Perfect by Max Amato
Eraser loves a perfectly clean page. Pencil loves scribbling all over. But when they get together, Eraser realizes that they could actually have some fun together.
Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
I’ve never met a child who doesn’t just love Amelia Bedelia and her crazy antics as she misunderstands virtually every direction ever given her. With, of course, hilarious results. She is no stranger to making mistakes and she does it in such a carefree way!
I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont
A confident little girl is full of pure joy about her uniqueness. She appreciates everything about herself on the inside and the outside. This is a great one about self-acceptance.
Even Superheroes Make Mistakes by Shelly Becker
You’d probably think superheroes are perfect, but they have slip ups too. They have to overcome adversity so they can get on with the day and keep saving the day.
Ish by Peter H. Reynolds
Ramon is an artist at heart. He draws ALL THE TIME. But when his brother makes a comment about his art, his joy changes to angst. Just when he needed it most, his little sister shows him that things don’t have to be just “right”.
A Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon
On the first day of school, Camilla becomes so worried about what everyone else will think of her. She discovers that she is covered from head to toe in stripes, then polka-dots, and many other patterns. With a little help, she learns the secret of accepting her true self, in spite of her peculiar ailment.
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
I’m pretty sure this book (and the others in the series) are the #1 books on any list that talks about persevering through our mistakes. And for good reason – every family should read these!
All the Ways to Be Smart by Davina Bell
Another great book about self-esteem and celebrating all the ways that make us unique and wonderful, just the way we are. Plus, these illustrations are so fun!
The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
Vashti doesn’t know what to create in art class, so her teacher tells her to just make a mark. When she angrily marks a dot on her paper, her teacher makes that dot feel like the greatest piece of art she has ever created. A great story about just getting started and making a mark.
Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes
Chester does things his own way. And his best friend Wilson is just like him. But when Lilly moves into the neighborhood, she wants to do things HER way. Is there any way for the three of them to be friends?
Bubble Gum Brain by Julia Cook
Bubble Gum Brain likes adventure and learning new things from his mistakes. Brick Brain likes things just the way they are. Will Bubble Gum Brain be able to show Brick Brain how fun things can be when you let loose?
I’m Not Just a Scribble by Diane Alber
Scribble is left out because he doesn’t look the same as the rest of the art. With Scribbles help and inclusion, they create beautiful masterpieces after they learn to accept each other for who they are.
The Box Turtle by Vanessa Roeder
Terrance doesn’t think he is different with his cardboard shell. It does all the things a shell is supposed to do. But when another turtle makes him feel weird for having such a different shell, he embarks on a journey to find the perfect shell. Will Terrance learn that it’s okay to just be yourself?
Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by JoAnn Deak
Dive into the wonderful world of the human brain! This book is full of brain anatomy and functions, but one of the most important parts of the brain is it’s ability to learn and grow through making mistakes.
Arlo Draws an Octopus by Lori Mortensen
While Arlo is drawing an octopus, he realizes it looks more like a “disaster-piece” than a masterpiece. As he vows to never draw an octopus again, he makes a discovery that changes his perspective about not only his drawing…but so much more.
Jabari Tries by Gaia Cornwall
Jabari tries to build a flying machine in this new adventure, after conquering his fear of jumping off the diving board in Jabari Jumps. When things don’t quite go his way, he learns that you don’t have to know how to do everything perfectly…you just have to try.
You Are Special by Max Lucado
Punchinello, a little wooden man, spends his day trying to earn gold stars. These are reserved for those that are smart and beautiful. When mistakes are made, he earns gray dots. When Punchinello begins to get covered in gray dots, will he learn that he is worth more than his mistakes?
A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell
Louie becomes very angry when the story, in which he appears, is ruined by messes from jelly, peanut butter, and other things that do not belong in books.
The OK Book by Amy Krause Rosenthal
A really fun book that uses the letters “OK” to create the illustrations that show us that it really is okay, to be okay at things. And in learning that you are okay at things, you might just find out what you are great at.
It’s Okay to Make Mistakes by Todd Parr
Todd Parr’s fun and vibrant illustrations show us that taking chances and trying new things can lead to some pretty amazing results, even if there are mistakes along the way.
Penelope Perfect by Shannon Anderson
Penelope is perfect. She always has been. But will Penelope survive her first “imperfect” day after oversleeping? There is information for adults at the back of the book to spark a conversation with children about coping with perfectionism.
Edward Gets Messy by Rita Meade
Wearing his perfectly clean suit and living in his perfectly tidy room, Edward the pig avoids getting messy until a big tub of paint falls on his head.
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
It can be so easy to feel different. But if you reach out to someone else, you might find someone willing to accept you for exactly who you are.
After the Fall by Dan Santat
I LOVE this book so much about Humpty Dumpty and what happens after he takes that famous tumble off a wall. Because the fall shouldn’t be the only part of the story.
A Whale of a Mistake by Ioana Hobai
Sometimes one mistake can feel as big as a whale, and it can be an emotional rollercoaster. A young girl realizes that the mistakes in the world are countless and maybe she is ready to handle hers.
A Boy Like You by Frank Murphy
The world is full of stereotypes about boys, but boys don’t have to just like trucks and be tough. This book encourages boys to embrace who they are, and break free from the standard mold they are put in.
Badgers Perfect Garden by Marsha Diane Arnold
Badger spends countless hours creating the perfect garden with all of his friends. As he begins to imagine the garden blooming and growing, a giant storm blows through. Is his perfect garden ruined forever?
Princesses Are Not Perfect by Kate Lum
Three princess sisters all have specific skills – one at gardening, one at baking, and one at building. But after a while it becomes tiresome doing the same thing all the time and they decide to swap roles. But it turns out that maybe princesses aren’t good at everything after all.
You’re Always Enough by Emily Ley
I love Emily Ley’s mantra of “grace, not perfection”. I think every child and adult needs to remember that. This sweet book reminds us to remove the expectations of trying to be perfect and that we are loved just the way we are.
Pretty Perfect Kitty-Corn by Shannon Hale
My girls love Kitty-Corn, and this one is all about embracing imperfections. Unicorn is so focused on being perfect, will he learn to embrace himself flaws and all?
And if you’d like a printable copy of this book list about overcoming perfectionism that you can take to your library or screenshot on your phone for easy access, just pop in your email address below and it’ll come right to your inbox!
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