Body shaming and self-acceptance have become hot education topics; so, there are many body acceptance kids books available these days. Some of the books focus on self-esteem, some celebrate all shapes and sizes and some add messages of treating others with kindness. So, the more body acceptance books kids are exposed to, the greater the chance they will start to accept and celebrate their body and the bodies of those around them.
Great Body Acceptance Kids Books
For Ages 1-8
For younger children, look for a book that tells its story using kid-friendly content with colorful images and fun themes. The goal is to find a story line that is so engaging that the child will want to reread the book over and over.
Our GrandStyle editors recommend the following body acceptance books for kids under eight. These books are fun and well-written and, as a result, have proven to be very popular with younger readers and listeners:
- It’s Okay To Be Different Bright colors, witty characters & content and bright-colored silly images…just downright great fun! 4-7 years.
- Dancing in the Wings Written by choregrapher Debbie Allen. Sassy wants to be a ballerina but she is worried that her feet are too big and her legs are too long. A famous director comes to her class and Sassy does her best to get his attention and win him over. 4-8 years.
- Your Body is Awesome: Body Respect for Children This book is beautifully written, wonderfully illustrated, easy to read and delivers a very important message in an enchanting manner regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. 4-7 years.
- Shapesville is a picture book about five friends who are all different shapes, sizes, and colors, each with a unique talent. The characters encourage the reader to be proud of their body. 3-8 years.
- I am Tooki: A Book About Being You Tooki is a friendly owl who teaches children to love themselves unconditionally, recognize their own uniqueness, and treat others with kindness. 1-8 years.
For Ages 8-Preteen
Older children and preteens are more engaged with a book that tells a powerful story. Therefore, fun, colorful images are not as important as the book’s theme and content.
Here are some of the most popular body acceptance and self-esteem books for the older child and preteens:
- Smile This is the story of a sixth grade girl who falls and injures her two front teeth. Over the next years she suffers through surgery, false teeth, orthodontia and the body blues of a maturing body. The story is well-told and takes the reader through all the challenges faced by a middle school girl. 8-12 years.
- 45 Pounds (More Or Less) Ann, a sixteen year old girl, is asked to be a bridesmaid by her aunt who is getting married in two months. Ann decides she needs to lose 45 pounds before the wedding. The book has a realistic storyline, believable characters and a story of courage and triumph.
Due to their self-esteeming content, body acceptance kids books can be great presents for kids and teens. And, they also make great contributions for schools, libraries and medical offices.
Stop body shaming plus size kids and stop making weight an issue for all kids…
Body shaming of anyone is cruel. It can cause them to create a negative feeling about themselves and rip apart their self-esteem. Sometimes body shaming is intentional, such as a kid being bullied at school about their weight or an adult being critical of someone’s appearance during a holiday meal. Body shaming can also be unintentional, such as an adult saying “I gained 5 pounds. I’m so fat!” Or, a pediatrician saying “You’ll be happier if your tummy is smaller.”
Body shaming can, and frequently is, unintentional such as making comments about bodies, appearance and weight that can start an upsetting, confusing thought process for someone else.
Need tips on avoiding body shaming? Check out 6 Ways to Combat Body Shaming of Plus Size Kids. For books on explaining body acceptance to kids check out Helpful Recommendations for Popular Body Acceptance Kids Books
Body shaming of plus size kids is hurtful. Whether the shaming comes from name calling, social media, television commercials or insensitive adults, fat shaming can cause depression and keep them from growing up confident in their bodies.
Body Shaming of Plus Size Kids Is More Than Name Calling
Body shaming is more than just calling someone “fat” or “chubby.” It is anything that tries to make someone feel bad about their body. It can be said directly to the child or the child could overhear it being said about someone else. For example:
- Linking beauty to body size – Uncle Larry telling his niece at a family dinner that she would be “prettier if she went on a diet.”
- Linking body size to failure – Parents reading stories or showing videos to children showing a character being treated negatively because of their weight.
- Setting weight expectations – Mothers discussing weight loss in front of their children e.g. “I need to lose 25 pounds.” or “I’m getting fat.”
- Linking beauty to body shape – Dads talking about how the football cheerleaders are beautiful because of their shapely legs (or other body parts!)
Kids should hear messages of positive body acceptance, regardless of how a child looks or how much they weigh.
Tips on How to Fight Body Shaming of Plus Size Kids
- Avoid diet talk around your children. Kids should not be told what’s “fattening” or “bad foods.” Instead, talk about food in a non-judgmental way.
- Show your children how to love their bodies. Hearing you say “I love the way this dress looks on me” or “You are beautiful” will help them create a positive body image.
- Be sure your pediatrician is size-friendly. Your doctor should talk health…not diet.
- Share size-positive stories with your kids. There are a lot of great size acceptance books available for kids to read, or for adults to read to them. One of our favorites is Your Body is Awesome. Check out Plus Size Kids: Body Acceptance Books for Kids for more ideas.
- Treat all your children the same, regardless of their weight. Be consistent. If one child is having dessert, all your children should be able to have dessert. If you shut off the television and push one kid off the couch to go out and play, then you should encourage all your children to play (and, you should go out and join them!)
- Don’t discuss weight gain or loss or judge other people’s bodies in front of your kids. Telling your friend “Wow, you’ve lost a lot of weight. You look terrific” just tells you kids that you didn’t like their previous body as much as you like their current body.
- Treat weight as a personal characteristic like hair color or height. Encourage your children to understand that everyone has different personal characteristics.
What you say and do can cause body shaming of plus size kids. Instead of focusing on weight as a negative body characteristic, you should focus on have a major impact on their body acceptance.