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13 Best Growth Mindset Books for Tweens

Being a tween isn’t easy! Your friendships, your outlook and your body are all starting to change in new, and maybe unexpected ways. That’s why having a growth mindset in your tween or pre-teen years (approximately 8-12 years old) is so important for building resilience for the often turbulent teenage years (13+ years).

A growth mindset can help your child to better understand their strong emotions and support them through dealing with conflict. It can also assist children with their problem solving skills and guide them towards appropriate behaviour.

Girl Smiling With Flowers In Her Hair

A great way to start teaching and developing a growth mindset is through books. There are many wonderful stories that speak to tweens and pre-teens about resilience, a positive outlook and learning from your mistakes. Here are some of my favourites.

If you’re after books for younger children check out my list of growth mindset books for kids under 5 years old and the best growth mindset books for kids in primary school.

Growth Mindset Books for Tweens: Age 8 – 12 years

1. Strong Is the New Prettyir?t=joycewatts 22&l=ur2&o=36

This book is largely comprised of photographs with a small amount of text.  It profiles and celebrates different types of strength in real girls, whether it be physical, academic or emotional. Any imperfections the girls in these colour and black & white photographs are accepted rather than hidden or ignored.

Buy Strong Is the New Pretty from Amazonir?t=joycewatts 22&l=ur2&o=36 | QBD Books

Strong Is The New Pretty By Kate Parker
Strong Is the New Pretty by Kate Parker

2. The Key To Extraordinaryir?t=joycewatts 22&l=ur2&o=36

Emma is from a family whose women have a destiny that comes to them in a dream.  While she is waiting for her destiny, Emma begins to receive messages from the Morning Glory, hinting at a family secret.  She has to solve the mystery in time! The book is a wonderful, positive image of a brave, adventurous girl.

Buy The Key to Extraordinary from Amazonir?t=joycewatts 22&l=ur2&o=36

The Key To Extraordinary By Natalie Lloyd
The Key To Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd

3. Marvelous Mattieir?t=joycewatts 22&l=ur2&o=36

With a sketchbook of inventions and her father’s toolbox, Mattie can make just about anything, and she does! Mattie invented a machine to make square bottomed paper bags, but someone claimed the invention was theirs.  Mattie, or Margaret E. Knight, one of the most prolific female inventors, proved him wrong in court.

Marvelous Mattie is a 2007 Bank Street – Best Children’s Book of the Year.

Buy Marvelous Mattie from Amazonir?t=joycewatts 22&l=ur2&o=36

Marvelous Mattie By Emily Arnold Mccully
Marvelous Mattie by Emily Arnold Mccully

4. Ronia, the Robber’s Daughterir?t=joycewatts 22&l=ur2&o=36

Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter, is written by Astrid Lindgren of Pippi Lockstocking fame. Ronia is the daughter of Matt the robber.  She learns to dance with the robbers, but feels at home alone in the forest. She makes friends with Birk, the son of Matt’s enemy, and they end up stuck in the middle of a quarrel between the bands of robbers.

Ronja the Robber’s Daughter is also the subject of Studio Ghibli’s first TV show available on Amazon Prime (US only at this stage)

Buy Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter from Amazonir?t=joycewatts 22&l=ur2&o=36

Ronia, The Robber's Daughter By Astrid Lindgren
Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter by Astrid Lindgren

5. Anne Of Green Gablesir?t=joycewatts 22&l=ur2&o=36

The classic story of Anne, an 11-year-old orphan, is over 100 years old. Anne Shirley leaves an orphanage and gets sent to live with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert on Prince Edward Island. Matthew and Marilla, middle aged siblings, were wanting to adopt a boy who would be able to help on their farm – but fall in love with Anne’s positive spirit, resilience and focus on hard work.

Learn through Anne’s adventures, mishaps and the life she forges on Prince Edward Island.

Buy Anne Of Green Gables from Amazonir?t=joycewatts 22&l=ur2&o=36 | QBD Books

Anne Of Green Gables By Lm Montgomery
Anne Of Green Gables by LM Montgomery

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6. Wonder

Auggie Pullman is an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face. This story is told in Auggie’s voice, then the voices of his classmates, sister and others. Auggie’s inability to blend in ultimately inspires kindness, empathy and acceptance. Wonder was also adapted into a movie in 2017.

Buy Wonder from Amazonir?t=joycewatts 22&l=ur2&o=36 | QBD Books

Wonder By R J Palacio
Wonder by R J Palacio

7. Malala: My Story of Standing Up for Girls’ Rights

This illustrated adaptation of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai’s bestselling memoir, I Am Malala, introduces readers of 7+ to the remarkable story of a teenage girl who risked her life for the right to go to school.

Today Malala is a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest ever person awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Her story of bravery and determination in the face of extremism is more timely now than ever.

Buy Malala: My Story of Standing Up for Girls’ Rights from Amazonir?t=joycewatts 22&l=ur2&o=36 | QBD Books

8. The Confidence Code for Girls

As the title says, The Confidence Code for Girls is aimed at tween and teen girls – but that’s not to say boys won’t be positively influenced by it too! It teaches confidence, lets girls know that it’s OK to be different. There is no need to be ‘perfect’ and girls should turn risks and failures into opportunities for growth.

The book is interactive with quizzes, pictures, anecdotes, lists and challenges. It’s the younger version of ‘The Confidence Code‘ for adult women and a Confidence Code for Girls Journal that you complete regularly.

Buy The Confidence Code for Girls from Amazonir?t=joycewatts 22&l=ur2&o=36 | QBD Books

9. The Benefits of Being an Octopus

The multi-award-winning debut novel The Benefits of Being an Octopus follows 12-year-old Zoey as she struggles at home and in the classroom. Zoey has her hands full as she takes care of her much younger siblings after school every day while her mom works her shift at the pizza parlor. 

At school, Zoey tries to stay under the radar. Her only friend Fuchsia has her own issues, and since they’re in an entirely different world than the rich kids, it’s best if no one notices them.

Nothing seems to help her fit in until she joins the debating club that changes her mindset and helps her grow and become the best version of herself.

Buy The Benefits of Being an Octopus from Amazonir?t=joycewatts 22&l=ur2&o=36 | QBD Books

10. Honeybees and Frenemies

Flor is the 12-year-old girl in Honeybees and Frenemies who’s dealing with family and friend issues. Over the summer Flor is stuck at home and working at her family’s mattress store, while her best friend goes off to band camp. It becomes even worse when she’s asked to compete in the local honey pageant and she has to work with her former friend.

‘Flor’s struggles with the complexities of friendship and family are realistic and relatable in this engaging coming-of-age journey’ – Publishers Weekly

Buy Honeybees and Frenemies from Amazonir?t=joycewatts 22&l=ur2&o=36 | QBD Books

11. Big Life Journal Growth Mindset Journal (2nd edition)

The Big Life Journal is the brand’s flagship product and it is filled with activities to inspire social-emotional learning and developing a growth mindset.

The Big Life Journal includes stories, quotes and writing prompts, all based on research on positive psychology, brain science and youth development.

While it is sold as a product suitable for kids 7-10 years I think the amount of writing required for the journal to be effective means that it’s better suited to kids 8+ years, who are generally at the stage of becoming independent writers. 

You can read my full review of the Big Life Journal products.

Buy the Big Life Journal 2nd Edition for $38.90 AUD or the Journals for Kids Bundle for $69.90 (10% off)

12. Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different

100 stories, from all over the world, of famous and not-so-famous men, including  Frank Ocean, Salvador Dali, Rimbaud, Beethoven, Barack Obama, Stormzy, Ai Weiwei and Jesse Owens. The stories offered in Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different are an alternative narrative to typical male stereotypes portrayed in many stories.

Buy Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different from Amazon | QBD Books

13. Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different 2

This sequel to the bestselling book has more stories about men who have defied expectations and contributed to the world in a non-traditional way. Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different 2 Includes stories of Ed Sheeran, Satoshi Tajiri (Pokemon creator), Socrates and many more.

Buy Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different 2 from Amazon | QBD Books


Growth Mindset Books for Kids under 5 years

Growth Mindset Books for Kids

Best Growth Mindset Products by Big Life Journal

Use a Mindfulness & Meditation App for Kids


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About Joyce Watts

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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