With back-to-school season upon us, though it may look different than ever before, many of us are reading all the school stories with our children and students. We’re reading stories about the first day of school and navigating relationships with other children at school, but how about navigating children’s relationships with themselves? Today, I bring you The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein, illustrated by Pett. Whether you’ve got a true perfectionist in your life or not, I encourage you to get your hands on this important book and share it with the children in your life!
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Meet Beatrice Bottomwell, otherwise known in her town as “the Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes.” For as long as anyone can remember, Beatrice has done everything perfectly, from getting dressed to doing her homework to eating neatly and more. But then, one day, Beatrice has a close encounter, an “Almost Mistake.” And that Almost Mistake plants a seed of doubt and worry in her head. From that point on, rather than moving confidently through her day, Beatrice dwells on what might go wrong. And at the school talent show that night, a talent show she’s won for three years in a row, she does indeed make a mistake. A really big mistake…
The talking points with children abound! When I read this with my students or read it with my daughters, we spend lots of time talking about the idea that everyone makes mistakes. No one is really as perfect as Beatrice. Mistakes are okay and give us opportunities to grow! We also talk about how Beatrice responds to both her Almost Mistake and her really big actual mistake. I won’t give away the ending, but Beatrice blossoms into a wonderful model of resilience, growth mindset, flexibility, self-love, and so much more!
And as adults? There’s an important takeaway here for you, too. The adults in Beatrice’s life unintentionally put a lot of pressure on Beatrice to strive for perfection at all times. “That’s her! That’s the Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes!” “We know she’ll be perfect!” “Worry? You don’t make mistakes!” If the people in my life always said things like that about me, I’d be an uptight nervous wreck all the time!
As we embark on a new school year, let’s remember to both help children respond with resilience when they do make a mistake, while also recognizing how we sometimes unintentionally push children towards unreasonable perfectionism.
If you liked this book, be sure to check out the rest of the books on our list of picture books to promote resilience!
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