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A humorous story about learning from mistakes and coping with feeling embarrassed.

Zach Makes Mistakes

illustrated by Darren McKee

For Zach, a class field trip to the museum is about more than cool exhibits—it’s about learning from mistakes and dealing with feeling embarrassed. First he forgets to wear his field trip shirt, then he forgets the rule about not touching displays. His teacher helps him see that everyone makes mistakes—and how to use them to grow and develop a growth mindset. Using an easy-to-remember tool, the Key to Mistakes, she shows Zach and readers a simple three-step process:
  1. Detect (find the reason for the mistake) 
  2. Correct (fix the mistake if you can)
  3. Reflect (think back about your mistake to find what you can learn from it)
A short note is included to help teachers, parents, counselors, and other adults reinforce the book’s messages and practice the Key to Mistakes when kids are feeling embarrassed.

Download a printable copy of the key to mistakes at

Part of Self-Help for Kids®
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Hardcover $12.99 81104 Hardcover 81104 $12.99

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ISBN: 978-1-63198-110-4
Reading Level: Grade 3
Interest Level: Ages 5–8
Guided Reading Level: N
Lexile Measure: 580L
Illustrated: color illust.
Trim Size: 8.25" x 8.25"
Page Count: 32
Praise for Zach Makes Mistakes

“Finally, a book that gives people a creative yet concrete strategy for learning from mistakes. Readers of all ages will get something out of this story!”—Julia Cook, M.S., international award-winning children’s author and parenting expert

“I read this aloud with my kids and we laughed at the various pickles Zach finds himself in. I love how this book provides a step-by-step process for dealing with the frustration of making mistakes. As a master of making mistakes, I’m going to use it myself!”—Mark Pett, author and illustrator of The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes

“For young Zach, a class field trip to the museum is about more than cool exhibits—it is also about learning from mistakes and dealing with embarrassment. His teacher helps him see that everyone makes mistakes—and how to use them to grow using an easy-to-remember tool, the Key to Mistakes. The latest addition to author William Mulcahy’s outstanding Zach Rules series for boys and girls, Zach Makes Mistakes, is appropriate and highly recommended for elementary school and community library collections for young readers.”—Midwest Book Review

Download the teacher’s guide and a worksheet from the book.

  • ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success

    MS.1, MS.2, MS.3, MS.5, MS.6
    BS.SMS.1, BS.SMS.2, BS.SMS.7
    BS.SS.1, BS.SS.2, BS.SS.3, BS.SS.8, BS.SS.9

Related Resources

A Growth Mindset Alphabet
Practical advice to help kids of all abilities achieve their goals and build a growth mindset
How to Take the ACHE Out of Mistakes
A Teacher's Guide to the Zach Rules Series
Breath By Breath
Gentle Hands
Feeling Worried
Zach learns a strategy for dealing with frustration when things aren’t going his way.
Learn how Casey finds a way to make being bored in class a thing of the past.
Zach Rules Series Logo

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