8 Children’s Books With Introverted Characters That Every Family Should Read

Parents read a book about introversion to their child

Books about introversion have the power to help introverted kids feel accepted and seen.

Growing up as an introvert isn’t always easy. From struggling to fit in and make friends to feeling overwhelmed and out of place in a school system designed for extroverts, I still remember how awkward and alone I often felt as an introverted child.

But I also remember how much comfort I found in books. Stories were my escape from the noisy world around me — they gave me a chance to recharge, space to daydream, and inspiration to explore my own creativity. Best of all, when I found characters I could relate to, they made me feel less alone.

I firmly believe that stories are how we learn to navigate the world. When quiet kids see themselves reflected in the books they read, it sends a powerful message: Nothing is wrong with you, and there is a way for you to exist in our loud, extroverted world… just the way you are.

It’s vital that quiet kids hear these messages early and often. So here are eight children’s books with introverted characters that I highly recommend every family introduce to their bookshelf.

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8 Children’s Books about Introversion Every Family Should Read

1. I Am Quiet by Andie Powers

From the outside, the main character in I Am Quiet, Emile, seems like a shy, timid kid. He never raises his hand in class (even though he knows the answers). While the other kids run and play at recess, he prefers to spend his time examining cracks in the sidewalk, imagining what kind of creatures might make their homes there.

This book gives us a peek inside Emile’s vast imagination, where he is actually a bold and daring explorer, always dreaming up new adventures. He is also a great listener and keen observer, a talented artist, and a voracious reader. Best of all, Emile is a confident kid who knows exactly who he is. He isn’t afraid to tell you, “I am not shy — I am quiet.”

This is the perfect book for introducing the idea of introversion to kids. It beautifully captures what it means to be an introvert and all of the strengths that go along with introversion. I love that it encourages confidence in quiet kids: It refutes the idea that being quiet necessarily means you are shy, and it tackles some of the common phrases introverted kids are bound to hear from the adults in their lives, like “Don’t be shy” and “Someday, you’ll come out of your shell.”

I Am Quiet shows us that attributes like strength, intelligence, and friendship can be quiet. I truly believe this book can make a difference in introverted kids’ lives, and it’s one I wish I’d had on my shelf growing up!

Buy it here.

2. Gustavo the Shy Ghost by Flavia Z. Drago

One of my favorite books on this list is Gustavo the Shy Ghost. This adorable children’s book follows Gustavo, a shy ghost who excels at walking through walls, making objects fly, glowing in the dark, and even playing the violin. He longs for a friend, but he and his talents go unseen by the other monsters in his town.

As Day of the Dead approaches, Gustavo has an idea to get the other monsters to notice him. It takes tremendous courage, but he puts himself out there — and finds that the other monsters accept him just the way he is. Even though he doesn’t talk much, they recognize that he is a great friend.

While introversion and shyness are not the same thing, many introverts are also shy, especially as they grow up. This story will especially resonate with those kids who might struggle to make friends.

Buy it here.

3. Why Are You So Quiet? by Jaclyn Desforges

Why are you so quiet? Ah, every introvert’s least favorite question! Myra Louise hears it from everyone — her classmates, her teachers, even her mom — and she never knows how to answer. 

One day, she gets an idea: She decides to invent a listening machine and ask the other quiet things in her life — the raindrops, the crickets, and the dryers at the laundromat — why they’re so quiet. Maybe, she thinks, if she can just find the answer, she can make everyone understand.

But the more she listens, the less she cares about finding the answer. Instead, she just wants someone to listen with her.

This story is a great reminder that there is value in being a listener rather than a talker — and in being quiet, observing, and noticing the world around us. One of the few picture books I could find featuring a quiet heroine, I think many kids will see themselves reflected in this book.

Buy it here.

4. The Sound of Silence by Katrina Goldsaito

This beautifully written book, The Sound of Silence, follows Yoshio, a boy growing up in the noisy city of Tokyo, Japan. One day, he encounters a musician and asks her what her favorite sound is. She replies, “The most beautiful sound is the sound of ma, of silence.” Yoshio tries to listen for silence… but realizes how rare it is in the hustle and bustle of the city.

This meditative story is about learning to notice and appreciate silence — something introverts are naturally good at. It also encourages mindfulness, which can be incredibly powerful for introverts, and serves the underlying message that introverts should be appreciated for their quietness, too.

Buy it here.

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5. Shy Ones by Simona Ciraolo

Shy Ones is about a shy octopus who is new to school. “He’s not the type who stands out in class,” or in the playground, the narrator of the book says as the little octopus hides in the corner of the illustrations. 

The book challenges readers who might think his shyness means the little octopus is boring, saying, “If only you had the chance to catch a glimpse of him when he thinks no one is looking… you’d be amazed to discover the things he gets up to.”

How does the narrator know all of this? It’s revealed later in the story that they’re a shy one, too.

Again, not all introverts are shy — as many not-shy introverts are quick to point out. But many introverts are also shy, and it’s nice to see a book that seems to have the message that that’s okay. After all, shy introverts are awesome, too!

Buy it here.

6. Maude: The Not-So-Noticeable Shrimpton by Lauren Child

Maude: The Not-So-Noticeable Shrimpton might not be for everyone, as it is based in somewhat dark humor (spoiler alert: the Shrimpton family gets eaten by a tiger). But it’s a fun, quirky, and surprising story that sends the message that sometimes it’s better not to stand out.

Our unlikely heroine, Maude, is an introvert in a family of extroverts — the eccentric, larger-than-life Shrimpton family. Everyone in the family stands out for a different reason: Mrs. Shrimpton wears flashy hats, Mr. Shrimpton has a statement-making mustache, and all of Maude’s siblings have a different quality that makes them exceptional. You can’t help but notice the Shrimptons. And they all love being noticed.

All of them, that is, except for Maude, who would rather blend in than stand out. But when Maude gets a bold and fearsome tiger for her birthday (instead of the quiet, “boring” goldfish she’d requested), her talent for going unnoticed might come in handy.

Buy it here.

7. Captain Starfish by Davina Bell

In Captain Starfish, Alfie is a socially anxious introvert whose anxiety has already caused him to miss out on some fun events, like his friend Antoinette’s birthday party and the running race at school. He plans to dress up as Captain Starfish to lead his school’s underwater costume parade. But on the morning of the event, he gets “that feeling” again, and his mom takes him to the aquarium instead.

There, he sees a beautiful, bold starfish that reminds him of his costume. He looks down at his shoes and gets a heavy, sinking feeling. But then he meets another creature — a shy clownfish who swims up and smiles at him momentarily before retreating again. Alfie realizes that maybe he is more of a clownfish than a starfish, and that makes the costume parade seem a little less scary.

This sweet, quiet book is a good one for introverted kids who might be struggling with stage fright, going to school, or dealing with other social events that might cause them anxiety. It offers gentle encouragement for kids who might be “slow to warm up” or who need a little extra time to get comfortable, sending the message that it’s okay to be true to yourself.

Buy it here.

8. The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

Just like the book’s title, The Invisible Boy, suggests, Brian feels invisible. Even his teacher doesn’t seem to notice him — she’s too busy dealing with his louder classmates, Nathan and Sophie. He doesn’t get picked for the kickball team at recess, and he doesn’t get invited to the birthday party like the rest of the kids in his class. A talented artist, he spends most of his time alone, drawing pictures from his imagination.

But when a new boy, Justin, joins the class and is bullied for being different, Brian is the first to notice him and make him feel welcome. As Justin starts including Brian in the group, Brian doesn’t feel so invisible, after all.

Brian’s story demonstrates how easy it is for quiet kids to be overlooked — and also shows that it just takes one friend to make a difference. This is a great story not only to help introverted kids feel seen, but also to help teach kids of all personality types about being kind and taking notice of quiet kids who aren’t being included. The back of the book even includes resources for further reading and discussion questions to help guide conversation.

Buy it here.

Introverted Kids Deserve to See Themselves in the Books They Read

Quiet, introverted kids deserve to see themselves in the books they read. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, librarian, child care worker, or anyone else who has an opportunity to share the joy of reading with a child, I hope you’ll check out some of the books on this list for your next story time. 

I genuinely believe they have the power to help introverted children feel less alone, see their immense value, and make the world a kinder, quieter place for us all.

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