The 8 Best Books for Shy Kids of 2022

"What to Do When You Feel Too Shy" helps children tackle social anxiety

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Sometimes, being shy is a difficult emotion for a child, teen, and even adult, to express. A good way to encourage a shy child is with a book about shyness. Books can help shy kids understand what shyness is, that they are not alone, and even some practical ways to overcome shyness.

Reviewed & Approved

"What to Do When You Feel Too Shy: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Social Anxiety" deals with the social phobias and anxiety that often present as shyness. For young kids, we recommend "Willow’s Whispers."

You’ll want to make sure that not only is the book's message a positive one, but that it is age-appropriate as well. We carefully considered material, age recommendations, book format, value, and message when reviewing products.

Here are the best books for shy kids.

In This Article

Best Overall: What to Do When You Feel Too Shy: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Social Anxiety

What to Do When You Feel Too Shy

 Courtesy of Amazon

What do buyers say? 89% of 150+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

"What to Do When You Feel Too Shy: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Social Anxiety" earned a top spot on our list because it's a great resource for parents and kids alike. The book is written by Claire A. B. Freeland and Jacqueline B. Toner, two licensed psychologists who have worked with children and their families for years.

It’s targeted toward ages 6 to 12 and focuses on dealing with the social phobias and anxiety that often present as shyness. With a special introduction for parents and caregivers, the book uses cognitive behavioral principles to walk kids through activities and techniques to help them feel more comfortable in various situations.

Best for Girls: When No One Is Watching

When No One Is Watching

Courtesy of Amazon

In this adorably illustrated book, written by Eileen Spinelli, the usually spunky and full-of-life narrator shuts down when others are around—except around her best friend, Loretta. Loretta is also shy, but when the two of them are together, they’re able to come out of their shells and live out loud. They also like to share quiet time together and recognize how good that can be, too.

The book highlights the power of friendship and how kids can find their voice in a variety of ways. Parents say the cadence of this book is catchy, and the illustrations are charming.

Best for Boys: The Invisible Boy

The Invisible Boy

Courtesy of Amazon

Brian is one of those kids that seems to get overlooked because he’s so quiet. That means he’s left out of games and doesn’t get invited to birthday parties. Then a new boy joins his class, and the two of them become friends—giving Brian newfound confidence and sense of self.

Not only does "The Invisible Boy" impart an important message for those who are shy, but it also teaches all kids about how much including others can matter.

The book is recommended for ages six to nine and includes a discussion guide for teachers and parents to help spur deeper conversations about the issues. Parents say the lessons are powerful for children no matter what type of personality they have, and the illustrations are engaging.

Best for Young Kids: Willow’s Whispers

Willow’s Whispers

Amazon

"Willow's Whispers" is a great way to jumpstart the conversation with young children about speaking up and finding your voice. Recommended for ages three to seven, the book tells the story of how shy little Willow only speaks in a whisper, so no one hears her. Then one day she gets the idea to make a magic megaphone that projects her voice into one that is strong and confident. Once she sees just how different life can be when you speak out loud and clear, she realizes she doesn’t even need the magic anymore.

Parents and teachers say this book sends a great message to children as young as preschool about why it’s important to be heard. They say it also sends a message to more outgoing kids about how to help shy kids feel more comfortable.

Best for Grade School Kids: The Shy Creatures

The Shy Creatures

Amazon

Sometimes when you're shy, it can feel like you’re the only one. As this book so cleverly illustrates, however, there are plenty of other shy people around you—even those who may seem scary to approach. The shy little girl who stars in this story wants to be a doctor and care for a crazy array of seemingly scary creatures (Bigfoot has a stubbed toe!). What she realizes is that everyone has insecurities.

The zany creatures are brought to life with quirky, colorful illustrations, and there’s a feel to the pictures and rhyming text that may remind you of Dr. Seuss. While it’s recommended for ages six to 10, parents say kids of all ages enjoy it.

Best for Teens: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Courtesy of Amazon

This coming-of-age story by Stephen Chbosky hit such a powerful note with teens that it's been made into a major motion picture. It tells the story of how a shy teen, Charlie, navigates all the perils of high school and how he manages his emotions throughout it. It’s raw and real, and parents and kids alike can’t put it down.

Readers say the characters are relatable, and that anyone who has ever felt shy or like an outsider will relate.

The book tackles some tough subjects, like suicide, abortion, and abusive relationships, so make sure your child is mature enough to handle the subject matter.

Best Historical: Big George: How a Shy Boy Became President Washington

Big George: How a Shy Boy Became President Washington

Amazon

Did you know that George Washington was shy? Many people don’t, but "Big George: How a Shy Boy Became President Washington" goes beyond what kids learn about our nation’s first president in school and shows that shyness isn’t something new or only something they are experiencing alone. The book sends a message that you can teach yourself to overcome things that may be holding you back, and that no dream is too big to realize.

Customers say it’s a well-written story that kids enjoy and that the picture book also packs in a lot of important historical information—making it ideal for the home or the classroom.

Best Nonfiction: Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts

Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts

Courtesy of Amazon

Following the success of her book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking," Susan Cain wrote another version that focuses specifically on children. This award-winning book provides real-life examples of introverts making their own special mark in the world. For kids, it can be easy to feel like they’re the only one who feels the way they do, and this book shows them they are far from alone. There are also tips at the end of each chapter that can be helpful for both kids and adults.

Customers rave about this book, saying it’s a must-read for introverted children. Written on a fifth or sixth-grade reading level, reviewers say it’s great for children of all ages and their parents.

What to Look for in Books for Shy Kids

Message

The most important takeaway from any book is the message. Ideally, a book for shy kids will help them understand shyness, as well as give them confidence in their place in the world. Shy kids want to know that they’re not alone and that they can find their voice.

Some books can also come with some very concrete activities to help overcome shyness, such as those found in "What to Do When You Feel Too Shy: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Social Anxiety.” The overall messaging should be positive.

Age-Appropriateness

You’ll want to make sure that not only is the book's message a positive one, but that it is age-appropriate as well. Check the book jacket for the recommended ages for whichever book you are considering. Some character depictions or language might not be appropriate for certain age ranges. You want the book to be at the right reading level for your child as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the difference between being shy and introverted?

    While being shy and being introverted might seem closely related, there are a lot of subtle differences. Being introverted means spending a lot of time with others is overwhelming and/or emotionally draining. Introverts prefer to be in smaller groups, or alone. Being shy means being afraid to interact with others, not necessarily that you want to be alone. Introversion is a personality type, whereas shyness is a personality characteristic.

  • How can I help my kid with their shyness?

    A book that shows how a character overcomes shyness (or learns to make it work for them) can be an effective tool in helping your child understand that they too can find their voice. Some books are more demonstrative than others; find an author and book style that fits in with your child’s learning style.

  • What causes shyness in a child?

    Shyness in children is defined as being afraid to interact with others. A shy child is one who lacks confidence in social situations. Shyness can be overcome, though. You can help a shy child by role-playing, asking why they feel shy, preparing them for social situations ahead of time, and simply letting them find their voice on their own. Many children outgrow it, but books can be a helpful tool for both you and your child when it comes to shyness.