12 Books That Teach Kids How To Be Gracious Losers

Losing well isn't an innate skill children are born with. It's something they're supposed to learn from adults.

Losing is hard. And losing graciously isn’t necessarily an innate skill children are born with; it’s something they learn from adults.

Alas, as current events have made painfully clear, kids aren’t always surrounded by the best models of how to lose — and win — graciously.

Kids certainly seem to be learning the message that what matters most in life is coming out on top. In one 2014 survey, more than 80% of kids said their parents care more about how they perform and achieve at something than how caring they are — even though their parents said they didn’t actually feel that way.

The good news? Children really do take their cues about how to handle loss and disappointment from what they see and hear from the adults in their lives. So parents can have a huge impact on how they cope with losing and adversity more both now and beyond.

Here are 12 books that help teach young kiddos about losing with kindness and compassion — for others and themselves.

"Kevin The Unicorn: It's Not All Rainbows"
Dial Books
To teach kids to cope with adversity, it's critical to normalize how darn hard it can feel. This book makes space for young children to sit with disappointment — and reassures them that there's nothing wrong with feeling down. (Available here.)
"Cheetah Can't Lose"
Balzer + Bray
Have a hyper-competitive kiddo at home? This book helps teach them that one, you can't (and won't!) always win, and two, even when you do, it's important to be a compassionate champ. (Available here.)
"The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes"
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
This book helps young perfectionists learn that mistakes happen, and that's OK. We all lose, we all fail — and that can actually be part of the fun of making your way through life. (Available here.)
"The Grumpy Monkey"
Penguin Random House
Again, getting comfortable with unpleasant feelings is an essential part of learning to cope with losing. This beloved book reassures kids it's OK to be in a bad mood, and reminds them that feelings are meant to be felt — the good, bad and ugly. (Available here.)
"The OK Book"
This self-esteem-booster teaches kids (and maybe reminds parents?!) that it's completely OK to just be at OK at stuff. Winning isn't always the end game! (Available here.)
"Olympig! The Triumphant Story Of An Underdog"
Dial Books
The message in this bright book about Boomer the pig's Olympic ambitions could not be simpler: no one can win 'em all. (Available here.)
"The Way I Act"
Parenting Press
This book encourages kids to consider not just how they feel, but how they act upon those feelings. (Available here.)
"After The Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again"
Roaring Brook
Using the classic story of Humpty Dumpty, this book reminds children that everyone fails, and offers an inspiring vision of what it looks like to keep going after. (Available here.)
"Sally Sore Loser: A Story About Winning And Losing"
Magination Press
Sally is — you guessed it! — a sore loser. But with the help of trusted adults in her life, she learns how to cope with the anger and frustration that comes with not always being No. 1. (Available here.)
"The Golden Acorn"
Capstone Editions
This book helps kiddos understand the importance of teamwork and cooperation — even if sometimes it means not coming in first place. (Available here.)
"The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His Grrrrr!"
Fred is used to winning best bear in the woods, but in this book he learns there are more important things than coming out on top. (Available here.)
"You Can't Win Them All, Rainbow Fish."
NorthSouth Books
Because truly — you can't! (Available here.)
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