Looking for children’s books about making mistakes for your elementary classroom? This is the list for you! Books are the best gateway for opening up discussions in the learning environment. Whether you are a teacher, counselor, or parent, using books to help illustrate a topic is a great way for kids to learn. As you are reading, ask questions and engage the reader.
Learning to accept and cope with making mistakes is an important part of everyone’s life. This is why it is so important to teach to kids. I often cover making mistakes in my lessons, I use this Executive Functioning Passport activity that covers self-awareness and this Social Emotional Learning Curriculum: self-awareness that includes activities on self-confidence and recognizing strengths. Here is a list of some of the awesome children’s books about making mistakes that I use to help teach this topic to students.
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Title of Book and Author: The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires.
A short summary of the book: One day, a young girl decides that she is going to make the most magnificent thing with the help of her assistant and “best friend in the entire world”, her adorable dog. She knows exactly what the most magnificent thing will look like and what it will do. As she begins to make her most magnificent thing, the process proves to be more difficult than she anticipated. In fact, she decides that everything is wrong. She tries to make it better, but ultimately gets frustrated and decides to quit.
Her assistant suggests taking a walk to clear her head and calm down. When she comes back, she realizes that there are parts of her creation that are wonderful. In the end, she creates something that isn’t perfect, but is just what she wanted.
Why I like the book: Spires’ whimsical illustrations and kid-friendly language are sure to make this book a class favorite. This is an excellent story for Back to School and character education lessons. The best part of this book is that everyone can relate to having a great idea – and getting frustrated when it doesn’t go your way. Your students will see that turning an idea into reality takes many trials and failures before it’s just right.
The morale of the story: The Most Magnificent Thing assures children that there is value in making mistakes. When you make a mistake, you can turn it into a success story by reviewing what went wrong, rethinking, taking a break, and trying again.
Topics covered: Overcoming Mistakes; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM); Determination; Perseverance
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): The Most Magnificent Thing on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein.
A short summary of the book: Most people in town don’t know Beatrice Bottomwell’s name; they just know her as “The Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes.” As she prepares for her perfect juggling act in the talent show, she accidentally makes an “almost mistake” on the school cooking team. That little “almost mistake” throws off her entire routine later that night. Beatrice and the crowd respond to the mistake in an unexpected way: by laughing. Making a mistake, after all, isn’t so bad.
Why I like the book: The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes is a heartwarming book with a message that every elementary student needs to hear. Beatrice strives for perfection in everything she does (even her peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!), but like all of us, she is bound to make mistakes. Students will see that it’s okay to make mistakes and how we respond is what matters.
The morale of the story: Nobody is perfect. We will make mistakes – whether big or small – throughout our lives. Instead of letting mistakes ruin our attitudes, we can laugh and learn from them.
Topics covered: Perfectionism; Overcoming Mistakes
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): The Girl who never made mistakes on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg
A short summary of the book: This book opens with a phrase we’re all familiar with: “Oops!” Salzberg crafts a short but engaging narrative about how mistakes are something to celebrate. “A smudge and a smear,” for example, “can make magic appear!” Beautiful Oops! is perfect for early readers, but the timeless messages can be shared with all ages.
Why I like the book: Saltzberg uses creative examples that little learners can relate to – like a spill or a tear in a piece of paper – to teach that mistakes are nothing to fear. I love that this book is interactive. Many pages fold down to reveal part of the story for a surprise around every corner.
The morale of the story: Mistakes are something to celebrate. When we make mistakes, our perspective matters. We can see a mistake as terrible or as something wonderful.
Topics covered: Overcoming Mistakes; Perspective; Creativity
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): Beautiful Oops! on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada.
A short summary of the book: The book’s main character is exasperated by his problem, which remains unnamed throughout the book. He can’t figure out why he has this problem and how to make it go away. The problem literally and figuratively hangs over the main character’s head. The more he worries, the bigger the problem becomes. When he confronts his problem, he realizes that the problem holds an opportunity to grow and learn.
Why I like the book: As educators, we are always trying to understand the problems our students face. What Do You Do With a Problem? Is a great read aloud to begin discussing how to overcome and grow from problems. The book’s clear, concise message is easy to understand and very relatable.
The morale of the story: Sometimes, even if you are afraid or don’t want to face a problem, it’s important to confront your problem to make it better. Confronting a problem can be a great learning and growth experience. Every problem has an opportunity.
Topics covered: Courage; Problems; Growth
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): What do you do with a problem? on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) by Dan Santat
A short summary of the book: Have you ever wondered what happened to Humpty Dumpty after his fall? Dan Santat’s heartwarming book picks up where the timeless classic left off. After his famous fall, Humpty Dumpty is afraid of heights, which prevents him from doing some of his favorite things. One day, he has a brilliant idea: to create an airplane so he can enjoy being in the sky again. When his hard work doesn’t go as planned, he decides to face his fears and climb the wall again.
Why I like the book: This book will bring a smile to both you and your students’ faces. With beautiful illustrations and humor sprinkled throughout the story, this inspiring story has a timeless message about overcoming adversity. You will be rooting for Humpty Dumpty throughout the book.
The morale of the story: “Life begins when you get back up,” Santat describes. Don’t let one accident or mistake define you; you can always try again and face your fears
Topics covered: Facing Fears; Overcoming Adversity; Courage
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): After the Fall on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: A Whale of a Mistake by Ioana Hobai.
A short summary of the book: When a young girl makes a mistake, the mistake follows her everywhere! The mistake consumes her thoughts, making it difficult to stop thinking about her mistake. When she changes her perspective, she is surprised to find that her mistake isn’t the only one out there. As she changes her perspective, her mistake diminishes in her mind.
Why I like the book: Hobai’s beautifully illustrated book presents a short but sweet message about overcoming mistakes by changing your mindset. You can use this book to introduce calming strategies to your students, too.
The morale of the story: Mistakes can weigh us down and overwhelm us, but our perspective can change how we deal with mistakes.
Topics covered: Courage; Perspective; Overcoming Mistakes
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): A Whale of a Mistake on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken
A short summary of the book: “It started with one mistake,” the book begins. As an artist draws a picture of a girl, she makes a few mistakes. She also sees the beauty in the mistakes each time, switching between making mistakes and adjusting her drawing to include them. In the end, the artist celebrates how the mistakes shaped who the young girl in the drawing became.
Why I like the book: This relatable story would be an excellent book to read before an art lesson, when many students get frustrated with mistakes. The book emphasizes the importance of keeping a positive perspective and turning mistakes into greatness.
The morale of the story: Lean into mistakes and see them as something beautiful instead of something to get frustrated with.
Topics covered: Perspective; Overcoming Mistakes; Growth.
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): The book of Mistakes on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: Regina’s Big Mistake by Marissa Moss
A short summary of the book: As her peers begin their masterpieces, Regina is stuck – she doesn’t know what to draw. She crumples up her first paper after making a mistake. She looks around at how beautiful everyone else’s drawings are. When she tries to copy her classmates’ drawings, she makes another mistake…and another. Her mindset changes when she realizes that she can turn the mistakes into something beautiful.
Why I like the book: This timeless story is captivating and relatable for young students and adults alike. We can all relate to being “stuck” and comparing ourselves to other people. With diverse characters and a feel good message, this book will become a go-to in your classroom.
The morale of the story: We can change our perspective and make the most of mistakes.
Topics covered: Creativity; Overcoming Mistakes; Determination
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): Regina’s big mistake on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: Brontorina by James Howe
A short summary of the book: Brontorina is a dinosaur who dreams of becoming a ballerina. When she is accepted into Madame Lucille’s dance studio, she doesn’t quite fit in with the other boys and girls. For example, she doesn’t have the right shoes and she is too big for the studio. When Madame Lucille and the other dancers rally together to support Brontorina, the outcome is tremendous.
Why I like the book: This loveable dinosaur with a big heart will surely become a favorite in your classroom this year. This feel good story is not only about having courage, but also about being inclusive. I love how the dance studio works together to make Brontorina feel welcomed and accepted.
The morale of the story: With determination, courage, and kindness, you can overcome any problem.
Topics covered: Courage; Determination; Inclusion
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): Brontorina on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: It’s Okay to Make Mistakes by Todd Parr
A short summary of the book: Whether you color outside the lines, fall down, or don’t know the answer, it’s okay! Parr offers a positive perspective for each “uh-oh” moment in the book, demonstrating that it’s how we approach mistakes that matters.
Why I like the book: I love that this book has an easy to follow pattern that is perfect for early readers. With fun illustrations and effective messages, this book is sure to leave an impression on your students.
The morale of the story: Everyone has “uh-oh” moments that we can learn from.
Topics covered: Overcoming Mistakes; Perspective
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): It’s okay to make Mistakes on Amazon