4 Picture Books about Embracing Your Quirks

For the most part, kids are pretty confident about who they are and the things they like – that is, until they enter elementary school where certain things are now deemed “cool” and others are “weird” or “lame”. Then your kiddo’s soul starts to get crushed because they don’t fit a certain mold and really, really can’t get with that awful Watch Me Nae Nae song that everyone seems to be crazy about.

Whether they have special needs, a few unique quirks, or simply feel abnormal because of gifts and talents, your goal should be to help your children realize how wonderful and valuable they truly are, not just in spite of their uniqueness, but also because of it.

Many wonderful children’s books feature unusual characters that struggle with fitting in and learn to rise above and embrace who they are. We have handpicked a small selection of picture books that many kids will find relatable and uplifting:


by Peter Brown

Chowder is a bulldog whose owners think he’s quirky. Other dogs though, just think he is just odd.

The only place Chowder feels comfortable is at home. One afternoon, while peering through the telescope on the balcony, Chowder sees a sign announcing a new petting zoo next to the grocery store. Chowder can’t wait to check it out. Maybe he can make a friend there?!

Once there, Chowder sees his chance. The petting zoo animals are playing kickball and they accidentally kick the ball outside of the zoo. Wanting them to like him, Chowder tries to kick the ball back to them. Instead, he shoots it high into the branches of a tree, where it gets stuck.

Thinking he’s blown his only chance to make new friends, Chowder becomes very sad, but with a little ingenuity and courage, he discovers some friends will like you even if there are some things you’re not great at.

Flight of the Dodo

by Peter Brown

Sometimes, when you are different from those around you, it feels as though others are dumping on you. This could not be more accurate for Penguin. As he’s waddling along, a goose flying overhead POOPS on him!

Tired of being stuck on the ground while other birds fly above and treat him in an undignified manner, Penguin decides to take action. He rounds up some other “waddlers,” including Ostrich, Kiwi, and Cassowary to brainstorm a way that they can fly, as well.

Although their initial attempts are less than successful (inflating themselves with air and standing on an oscillating fan do not allow them to soar), the flightless birds refuse to give up. Then, it happens. They craft a hot air balloon, which they christen “The Dodo”, and the waddlers take off into the bright, blue yonder.

With vivid paintings, humorous encounters, and a heartwarming storyline, this book will appeal to kids from preschool age to second grade. In addition to the idea that you can do anything you set your mind to, the book encourages children to reach out to others with whom they have something in common.

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

by Peter Brown

On the surface, it would appear that Mr. Tiger fits in with his community nicely. He dresses in proper attire. He tips his hat when he meets acquaintances and carefully follows all the rules of proper etiquette, just as the other animals around him do.

Yes, Mr. Tiger seems to fit in. However, on the inside, Mr. Tiger feels different. He does not want to wear fancy coats and top hats. He doesn’t want to walk upright on his hind legs. Mr. Tiger wants to be wild. One day, he decides to stop living by the rules that others have set for him. He strips off the uncomfortable clothing, leaves his civilized community, and heads to the wilderness where he can run freely, play, and have fun.

Eventually, Mr. Tiger returns. Does he find that he is an unwelcome outcast, or will he instead discover that he has inspired others who also felt restricted by society’s rules and expectations?

Not only will children learn that it takes bravery to stop worrying about what others think, but they will also find that perhaps they are not the only ones who feel the way they do.

The Pout-Pout Fish

by Deborah Diesen

The pout-pout fish has a constant pout on his face. He believes he has no choice but to spread the dreary-wearies wherever he goes. Many friendly sea creatures try to encourage the fish to turn his frown upside down, but he simply doesn’t believe it is possible to do. His destiny is to be glum; or so he thinks.

Finally, a beautiful silver fish swims up to him and, without a word, plants a kiss on his pouty face. The pout-pout fish has an epiphany! His pouty lips are not for spreading dreary-wearies; they are for smooching! With a renewed outlook, the fish swims through the sea giving kisses and spreading cheer to everyone he meets.

This fun, rhyming story shows kids that perhaps the only thing they need to change is their perspective.

Sharing books with the message that it’s okay to be different, and that perhaps they are not as different as they think, can help kids comprehend how special and irreplaceable they are.

What are some books about embracing differences do you love reading with the kids?

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Tags : books   picture books   

Shirin Behnia
Also love Giraffes Can't Dance, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, and of course...Elmer.