14 Fantastic Books to Encourage Children to Be Unique

These books to encourage children to be unique.

We have rounded up some books to encourage children to be unique. I have always loved the humor and joy that movies bring and I love a happy ending. However, now that I have a daughter of my own, I started looking at some of the classic Disney films a little more critically.  Why didn’t Cinderella ever stand up for herself? How could Ariel find the love of her life and get married at 16?

I want to make sure that my daughter has role models with a little more substance than some of the princesses from 50 years ago. This task left me on a search for books that would show another side of princesses. I wanted my daughter (and my sons) to see you can be strong, independent, smart, and themselves. We’ve rounded up 14 books about being unique.

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Books to Encourage Uniqueness

free to be

Free to Be You and Me by Marlo Thomas and Friends

The first book I ever remember with this message is the story of Atalanta. I love this book about being yourself. It is a book that is still relevant (35 + years after its original publication) and definitely ahead of its time.

The story of Atalanta is no different.  She refuses to marry just because her father wants her to and is determined to live her own life. This is an amazing children’s book about being different!

princess boy

My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis

This is one of the wonderful books to encourage uniqueness. It is a story of love and acceptance.  This nonfiction book is the story of a 4-year-old boy who happily expresses himself by dressing up in dresses and sparkly clothing.  

He does not conform to gender norms. This book is a great way to open the dialogue about accepting people for who they are and embracing differences.


The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

We absolutely love this children’s book about being different. Ferdinand is a bull who is supposed to fight but he is content to sit and smell the flowers. We love the message of this sweet and wonderful book.

giraffes cant dance

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae

Gerald is a giraffe who wants to dance but things that is can’t. Thanks to a friend who encourages him, Gerald finds a way to embrace his differences.

Why I Love It: I absolutely love this book about following your heart and being true to yourself. The bonus of rhyming makes this book that much more special. This is one of the children’s books about being different that I was happy to read over and over.
Appropriate For Ages: 2-4
Find This Book In: Animal Books / Books for a 4-Year-Old / Rhyming Books

Children’s Books About Being Different: Princesses

the paper bag princess by robert n munsch

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

This children’s book about being different is a hilarious story about the princess who outwits a dragon, rescues the prince, and realizes she doesn’t need him to be happy!!!

It is a classic, wonderful story. Like most of Robert Munch’s books, it is funny and silly and the perfect read-aloud.

part time princess

Part-time Princess by Deborah Underwood

This is one of the great books to encourage uniqueness and was actually recommended to me by an employee of Barnes and Noble when I wanted to grab a baby gift.

The story features an average girl by day who becomes a princess at night. But she is no ordinary princess. She fights trolls and puts out fires and is home in time for tea with her mom. I love books that allow girls to explore the idea of non-conventional roles.

not all princesses dress in pink by jane yolen and more Children's books about being different

Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen

We love books to encourage uniqueness and this one fits the bill perfectly. It questions some of the stereotypes that all princesses dress in pink. Some princesses use power tools and wear overalls.  

Some princesses wear red dresses and stinky socks. It’s not the clothes that determine if you are a princess at heart. The heart of this story is for children to look into their importance and unlimited potential.

Do Princesses wear hiking boots and more books for 2 year olds

Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? by Carmela LaVigna

This children’s book about being different was one of my favorite books to read with my daughter when she was young. It gives the important message that every child can be a princess if they want by looking inside themselves.  

I love that in this book, princesses cry and fuss, wear hiking boots, and have bad days like everybody else.

“Mommy do princesses seem at all like me? Look inside yourself and you’ll see.”

Carmela LaVigna, Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots?
princess smarty pants

Princess Smarty Pants by Babette Cole

This children’s book about being different is a hilarious tale in which Princess Smarty Pants does not want to get married.  

She finds some unique solutions to her situations and ensures that she can continue to be the princess that she wants to be – single and happy! I am so happy to see some independent princesses in these books.

princess and the pony

The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton 

This is one of the books to encourage uniqueness that is too cute- literally. Princess Pinecone wants a big strong horse fit for a warrior.  However, she gets a pony that does not fit that description.  

What she learns is that even big strong warriors have a soft side as well.  We love this book!

princess best

Princess Bess Gets Dressed by Margery Cuyler

This children’s book about being different is an adorable story about Princess Bess.  She has so many outfits to change into for all her royal duties.  

However, at the end of the day, her favorite thing to wear is…..well, you have to read to find out.  But, deep down, a princess is just like everybody else.

More Books to Encourage Children to Be Unique

Leo the Late Bloomer

Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus

This is one of the classic books to encourage uniqueness. Leo’s father is worried that he is not speaking, reading, writing, or drawing. But his mother is not worried. She knows that her son will do all the things he is meant to do in his own time.

Julian is a mermaid

Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

Julian wants to be a mermaid but, how will his grandmother react? This book is a wonderful story about unconditional love and acceptance. This is a wonderful children’s book about being different

pink is for boys

Pink is for Boys by Robb Pearlman

This book addresses the stereotype that pink is for girls.  The book encourages boys and girls to do what they love.

Are you sharing any gender-bending, stereotype-breaking books with your littles? Let us know if we missed any on our list!

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Best Books for a 4-Year-Old to Develop Pre-Reading Skills

If you want more books for your 4-year-old, check out these great books.

Best Books for a 5-Year-Old Getting Ready to Read

If you love these and are looking for more, check out this list!

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