Personal Growth Books That Will Motivate Teens

As adults, we’re very familiar with personal growth books, but we don’t always think about them for our kids. But they’re trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in too. And that’s why it’s one of the reasons I have this genre on my list of best books for middle school.

It’s important that we constantly inspire and encourage older kids during their journey. The teen years are full of self-discovery and change, so it makes sense that we give them all the tools they need to navigate this time in their lives and help them look toward adulthood.

5 Personal Growth Books Appropriate for Tweens & Teens To start off the 2016 Reading Adventure, I've decided to start off with personal growth. As adults, we’re very familiar with the personal growth/personal improvement genre, but we don’t always think about it for our kids. But they’re trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in too. It’s important that we constantly inspire and encourage our middle school kids during their journey.

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Now’s the time for us to show them how to train their thoughts toward a growth mindset, teach them how to navigate challenging situations and feelings, and give them the confidence to be themselves. The books listed below will help them reach those goals.

Personal Growth Books for Teens

It’s never too early to encourage kids to think of the person they want to be and the life they want to live. These titles will personally challenge your teen and they’ll also enjoy reading. 

Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters
The Last Lecture


Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters by Laurie Ann Thompson

Encourage your kids to be real change-makers in their community and possibly the world. The real-life examples, step-by-step activities, and tips found in this book make it an inspirational read as well as a practical one. 

Kids are shown how to turn their passions into causes, personal and social media connections into influence, and ways they can affect actual change right now.

This book will motivate teens to look beyond themselves to champion a cause they believe in.

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

You’ll find few people as inspirational and uplifting as the late Randy Pausch. His Last Lecture will encourage your middle schooler to overcome any obstacles in their path and make the most of every opportunity (and day) they’re given while keeping in mind what’s most important in life.

This funny, yet incredibly poignant book will have kids asking the questions, “what kind of person do you want to be and what kind of life do you want to live?”

One Word That Will Change Your Life, Expanded Edition
The Teen's Guide to World Domination


One Word That Will Change Your Life by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, & Jimmy Page

Identifying one word to keep your focus for the year can be very powerful regardless of your age.

While reading this book, your tween/teen will be persuaded to set some goals this year for themselves and to assign one word to them. Then they’ll be able to compare all of their choices and actions against their chosen word, making it more likely that they’ll their goals.

This book includes quite a few stories of how others have used this technique successfully as well as an action plan to help teens implement what they learn.

The Teen’s Guide to World Domination by Josh Shipp

Josh has been giving “advice with an attitude” to teens for years and he’s put it all together in this inspirational survival guide for them. He tackles everything that is freaking teens out with straight-forward, practical advice.

His goal is to help older kids break out their inner hero and overcome the seven “villains” that are trying to distract them from their goals. Villains like ghosts (the painful memories and mistakes that cause self-doubt), vampires (negative influences that try to zap your identity), and puppies (things and people who seem good on the surface, but actually have hidden agendas).

Teens will feel more confident in making good choices and tackling challenging situations after reading this helpful book.

Who Moved My Cheese? for Teens
You Have a Brain: A Teen's Guide to T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G.


Who Moved My Cheese? for Teens by Spencer Johnson

One thing is guaranteed in this world – change. Don’t assume that teens are comfortable with adjustments and transitions.

Just like us, they’re constantly faced with change, so the sooner they learn how to deal with it, and figure out how to embrace it, the better. They need to know how to continuously move forward, no matter what obstacles land in their path.

Spencer Johnson adapted his bestseller by adding in references that are more relevant to teens.

You Have a Brain: A Teen’s Guide to T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G. by Ben Carson M.D., Gregg Lewis, & Deborah Shaw Lewis

Our teens are growing up in a society where the bar continues to be set lower and lower, which saddens me. It’s up to us to encourage our kids to think BIG!

Mr. Carson suggests that teens think for themselves, do what’s right, and embrace every chance they have to learn and grow.

Teens will appreciate the real-life examples inside showing how this philosophy works as well as practical advice that will help them rise above societal stereotypes.

These books that focus on personal growth are wonderful tools that older kids can use to help them build their best life. Hopefully, you’ve found a title or two that will positively impact your teen. 

Additional Books for Middle School

If your older kids are excited about reading these personal growth books, encourage them to check these out.

Encourage Your Teen to Read by Using Technology

Do you love the idea of expanding your child’s reading list, but getting her to sit down with a book ends up being a hassle? Consider switching over to audiobooks. They’re a lifesaver for some families, including those who love “reading” together. Kids can listen on their devices or you can play books in the car as you travel together.

If your tween isn’t using a Kindle, it might be time to consider it, especially if your older kids are big readers. You can find some free books online and tweens can borrow books from the public library onto their device.

Whatever format you choose, keep encouraging your teen to read a wide variety of genres, including books like the ones shared above.

What is your favorite personal growth book for teens and tweens?

Megan Zechman
I love homeschooling! Learning is a way of life for our family. Most days you will find us exploring our Central Florida community, having fun while learning. I am constantly looking for new and interactive ways to engage my older children.
Megan Zechman
Megan Zechman
Megan Zechman

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  1. I have not seen any of these before! I was looking for something like them for my newly-turned 13yo for Christmas. I had to settle for something else then, but I’ll pin this to use for the next occasion. Good stuff! 🙂

    1. Sorry we missed your shopping window Ann! I’m so glad I was able to share some new titles with you. I hope your teen likes them as much as mine does!

  2. Thanks for this list! I pinned now, for later. I have a teen and a pre-teen, will certainly be checking these out. Awesome job, and thanks for sharing!

    1. You’re welcome Jen! This has been so much fun to put together. I can’t wait for the rest of the months. I’m so glad you’re joining us on our reading adventure.

  3. I’m having trouble signing up for the book club. Every time I input my email address, it says something went wrong! I’m very excited about this. I hope my tween enjoys it!

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