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Lessons I Learned from My Toddler: Book Review Edition (holiday gifts or library checkouts!)

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

While reading to our children allows our littles to be exposed to different words and promotes language development, we also can choose to prioritize reading particular content to our kids to broaden their understanding of different ideas and skills.  This can start to offset the diet culture content that they, unfortunately, are not immune to even at their young ages. Studies show that kids as young as 3 years old are developing body image issues.  The following article will share more tips to help promote healthy body image in kids.

And while “we can’t protect our kids from ever encountering diet culture and anti-fat bias, we can teach them to ask questions and think critically about the messages they get about bodies from the media, school and peers.” as Virginia Sole Smith states in the article below about her (highly recommended!) book Fat Talk: Parenting in the Age of Diet Culture.


Below are my current top ten favorite toddler books that help promote healthy coping skills, emotional resilience and body appreciation. They could make great holiday gifts for the littles in your life and/or great books to borrow from your local library over winter break!


Elmo is Mindful by Joe Mathieu

Elmo is Mindful by Joe Mathieu. While Sesame Street certainly has problematic content in its episodes in regards to promoting food hierarchies, this book is a good one.  In this book a handful of characters from the Sesame Street gang experience different emotions and offer up some ideas to their pals on how to cope with those emotions.  There is a whole page dedicated to coping skills appropriate for a toddler to understand and another page devoted to the caregiver that offers appropriate mindful techniques to teach to kiddos to help them manage different emotions in a healthy way.

The Color Monster by Anna Llenas

The Color Monster by Anna Llenas.  This book is a cute little tale of a friendly monster that is overwhelmed with his emotions and needs help from a friend to understand what each emotion is felt like in his body.  It offers a wonderful little introduction to how emotions such as anger, calm and happy may be experienced in our little ones’ bodies in a color-coordinated way.

Bodies are Cool by Tyler Feder

Bodies are Cool by Tyler Feder.  This book is filled with content that I certainly was not ever exposed to as a child brought up in the 90s.  This book discusses all different body variations from size to skin color to hair and facial feature differences. It refreshingly normalizes stretch marks, disabilities, and the ever-changing growing bodies we all have.

I am Enough by Grace Byers

I am Enough by Grace Byers.  This book celebrates aspirations and encourages perseverance while highlighting our differences that make each of us unique and worthy.  And it’s fittingly named after one of my favorite affirmations for all.

Just Ask by Sonia Sotomayor

Just Ask by Sonia Sotomayor.  This was intentionally gifted to my food-allergy son by a dear friend so it will always hold a special place in my heart.  With the tagline on its cover “Be Different, Be Brave, Be You” this book is a celebration of kids with different medical diagnoses and how they can each work to better understand their differences and explore them together. 

Some Bodies by Sophie Kennen

Some Bodies by Sophie Kennen.  This sweet story celebrates how our bodies come in different shapes, sizes and colors.  Each page allows kids to both notice and value differences in each of our unique bodies.  This book also features several scripts to help to invite caregivers engage in conversations about bodies with their little ones.

The Boy with Big, Big Feelings by Britney Winn Lee

The Boy with Big, Big Feelings by Britney Winn Lee.  This delightful story is all about how a little boy experiences big feelings in his body.  And while he is tempted to hide them from others, he learns that we all have them and how our feelings can actually bring us together.

Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang

Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang.  This book is about a monkey who tries so hard to pretend he is happy.  All the animals he comes across try to get him to not be grumpy anymore until one very special friend validates his feelings and he starts to feel better.

His Body Can / Her Body Can by Katie Crenshaw and Ady Meschke

His Body Can/Her Body Can by Katie Crenshaw and Ady Meschke.  This book is a tale about all of the wonderful things our bodies can do.  It is a great reminder to all that how bodies look is only a fraction of the picture and it’s time to celebrate all they can do for us.

Every Body by Megan Madison, Jessica Ralli and Tequila Andrews

Every Body by Megan Madison, Jessica Ralli and Tequila Andrews.  While this book starts off similar to those other body books listed above with validating how each of our bodies is different and unique, it really furthers the conversation.  It has question prompts throughout the book to get your child (and you the reader!) thinking more about how we each experience having a body and start to question society’s stereotypes for ongoing learning.



When we start to include more diversity and inclusivity in what we read to our kids, we can introduce them to tools that promote healthy emotional resilience in addition to tools that help resist body image pressures.  It’s never too early to start!

If you're interested in more "Things I Learned From My Toddler" blogs - check them out here:


Thanks for reading!

Niki Pilliterri, RD, LDN at Beyond Therapy and Nutrition Center in Newtown, Bucks County PA. Health at Every Size practice offering weight inclusive eating disorder therapy and nutrition services.

Registered Dietitian

If you want to learn more about services at Beyond, please visit us here!

Beyond Therapy and Nutrition Center offers weight insluvie eating disorder therapy and nutrition services in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. HAES Health at every size providers. eating disorder treatment.

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