My Self-Esteem Shield

I always find it interesting when parents tell me that their child needs some self-esteem; I have to stop myself from facetiously asking if they’d like the small bag or the large.  Let me be clear  I can NOT give a child his or her self-esteem.  And while self-esteem can’t come from me, per se, there certainly are strategies that I can use to help a child excavate the things that make him or her shine. Her spark. His passion. The things that make him or her special and unique.

I discovered the book I Believe In You by Marianne Richmond last fall and received it as a gift from my Mother-in-Law this past Christmas. I can’t count how many times I’ve used it already and I’ll tell you that there’s power in letting students talk about what they’re afraid of, what they’re proud of, what they’re worried about, what they’re good at, and who believes in them. Use this gem as a springboard for a healthy discussion with your students about who they are. I start with the front cover:  What do you notice about the child and his caregiver? What’s she teaching? What’s he learning? How do they feel? Trust me on this one; you’ll come back to it on the last page and they’ll be excited to make an observation and a connection. How are the pictures different? Why?

This book makes my job so much easier 'cause it addresses a little bit of everything - attitude and actions, feelings and friendships, choices and character.  I love the page where the girl makes a mistake and is hiding behind the couch. Did she know what she did was wrong?  How can you tell? Such delicious food for thought!  

We like this one, too, by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. It's called Incredible You!  10 ways to let your GREATNESS shine through. Since it has more words, you might find it more suitable for your older elementary-aged students.

When you've finished reading either one (or both) of these books aloud and discussing the different pages, let your students create a shield that shows what makes them special.

Here's my Special Shield

What are some of the books and activities you use to help promote healthy self-esteem?


  1. Ohhhhh... I love that clip.
    (I have never seen that before!)
    On Mondays we do poems and lyrics, and I am going to squeeze that in someday soon.
    And I am going to use it in September next year!
    After yesterday's budget news, this was a definite pick-me-up!
    I should be planning for my day today... but I'd rather be chatting with YOU!

    Thanks, Barbara. You're such a blessing in my life!

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  2. I have never heard of either of these books, but will add them to my list of books I MUST have. You are such an inspiration to me....thank you!!!

    Quench Your First

  3. Both books looks fantastic! I love the shield activity it is great!!

    ❤ Mor Zrihen from...
    A Teacher's Treasure
    Teaching Treasures Shop

  4. Agreed, we can't give them their self esteem. They have to develop it. But I think a small percentage can be inspired to respect themselves and in the long run create and maintain healthy self esteem.

  5. Hi Barbara, I linked this post on my blog. I know my mama and teacher readers will really get something out of this. I like the book "I'm Gonna Like Me" by Jamie Lee Curtis for teaching self-esteem in children.

  6. I love the book ideas! I'm always looking for fresh ideas! I make shields for self-esteem too! I talk to students about how Knights would use shields to protect their bodies, and we use our shields to protect our feelings. We talk about the impact that others can have on our self esteem IF we let them! I tell them that even if they don't have their shield with them, they can remember all of the things they put on it and it will be an invisible shield.


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!