8 picture books to encourage a growth mindset

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I’ve been learning about a growth versus a fixed mindset, and it’s revolutionizing the way I think about myself and my children.

In a nutshell, a growth mindset means you believe you can change and improve.

A fixed mindset means you believe you are either good at something or you’re notthat your inabilities hold you back from being able to do or be something.

When it comes to parenting, I think it’s important to teach our children to believe their success doesn’t come from innate intelligence or talent, but effort. That will help them bounce back from failures and criticism in a positive way. It’ll help them be less afraid to try new things. It’ll help them overcome the comparison and inferiority traps. It will help them be more confident, resilient individuals.

Of course, one of the best ways we can teach our children to have a growth mindset is to learn to have one ourselves. Since learning about this way of thinking, I’ve tried to adjust my thoughts and reactions to make more room for growth and picking myself back up after messing up. That includes when I mess up on the motherhood arena, which is every day.

This article is a good resource for parenting and teaching with a growth mindset.

I asked my friend, Amber, a second-grade teacher, to share her favorite books that encourage a growth mindset in children. I read them all and love the messages of big dreaming and persistence. On to the books:

On good days and bad days

Today feels heavy.

Funny, because just yesterday, I felt like I was on top of the world.

Not actually funny, because my female roller-coaster emotions are sometimes annoying and exhausting.

Yesterday, I was thinking about how I am happier in life than I ever remember being.

I feel like I’ve crawled out of the trenches that life as a mom of three young kids can drag you down into.

Finally, the last lingering traces of the funk that hit me after my 2-year-old was born are history.

And I have felt like me again.

The me that dreams big.

That doesn’t let the perceived perceptions of others affect or direct me.

The me that is excited at the beginning of a day.

The me that finds immense joy and rejuvenation in the things I love: Writing, nature, family, adventure.

The me that just feels good. 

Our 11-year-old marriage has felt better than ever. Better than the “honeymoon phase.” (A phrase I actually hate, as I hate any generality that tells you how you should feel at a certain point in marriage or parenthood.)

We’ve just been in sync. Physically, emotionally, mentally. Even our life goals feel more in line than ever. And we’re ready to tackle them together with gusto.

Which is why it’s so disheartening that those goals are not coming to fruition.

I think that’s what sparked today’s heaviness.


Yesterday felt light, happy. Everything was as it should be.

Today is different.

Where that pocket of contentedness dwelt in my heart, guilt has decided to worm its way in.

Guilt over taking time away from my kids to write.

Guilt over my patience, which I’d had a handle on for the past few weeks, taking a dip.

Feelings of inadequacy over not being the friend or neighbor or church member I think others expect me to be.


But that’s OK.

There will be more happy tomorrows. The heavy ones make way for lighter ones.

I know that, but I don’t have to believe it all the time.

It’s OK to let the bad days be. Let the down feelings sink in a little bit.

So when they go, they take all of their belongings with them—bored of nagging at my mind and heart and ready to move on to the next person.

So, I’ll let them stay for now.

But not for long.

Books for busy little boys

Sometimes it can be hard to get a busybody boy to sit still long enough to enjoy a book. These are some tried and tested favorites around here. My little guy asks for these ones again and again. Bonus: Most of these are around five bucks.

Little Blue Truck Leads the Way by Alice Shertle and Jill McElmurry

Let’s Play! and

Press Here by Herve Tullet

Don’t Push the Button! By Bill Cotter

The Pigeon Needs a Bath! and

Should I Share my Ice Cream? by Mo Willems

Number one Sam by Dan Pizzoli

Boy and Bot by Ame Dyckman and Dan Yaccarino

Doug Unplugged by Dan Yaccarino

Kingdom of You by Wonderbly

Through the Town by Katie Haworth and Craig Shuttlewood

On the Go by Roger Priddy

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi and Ronald Barrett

It Came in the Mail by Ben Clanton

Top 10 book recommendations for moms

One of my favorite questions my mom-friends ask me is “What should I read?”

We all know how challenging and sometimes isolating motherhood can be. Reading a great book can be such an uplift and needed escape amidst the diaper changes, tantrums and other non-glamorous parts of young motherhood.

Here are some favorite books (both fiction and non-fiction) I find myself telling fellow mamas they have to read:

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Why you should put Australia at the top of your travel bucket list

See my segment about Australia on Fox 13’s “The Place” here.
It’s true: Of the 10 most poisonous snakes in the world, all are Australian. The most toxic animal in the world, the box jellyfish, lives in Australian waters. There are poisonous (and huge) spiders, deadly rip currents, and sharks. Australia’s east coast is home to the 15 hottest places on earth. The flight to get there is pretty much an all-day affair, and you end up losing an entire day of existence on the way there thanks to the International Dateline.

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