The past year has been full of unexpected challenges and adversity! Whether it’s the global pandemic or personal and family challenges, having resilience can make the unbearable easier to handle during tough times. The good news is that resiliency can be learned! Engaging stories that show characters learning from their challenges and growing because of them can help instill resilience in children. From inspirational true stories to characters showing determination, adaptability and perseverance, the following 15 children’s books are great for raising resilient kids.
The Blue House
By Phoebe Wahl
This is a moving story about father and son who have to move when their old house must be torn down. They are angry, frustrated, and sad about having to say goodbye to their home. However, this story demonstrates the hope they find in moving on and finding a way make their new house feel like home.
The Bug Girl
By Sophia Spencer and Margaret McNamara
This is an uplifting tale of a girl learning to stay true to herself. After a bullying incident, seven-year-old Sophia gives up her favorite hobby of studying insects. Her mother seeks help from the local entomological society, and Sophia receives an outpouring of love. Bolstered by the encouragement, Sophia becomes something of a celebrity, encouraging other children to embrace their uniqueness and chase their dreams.
Fauja Singh Keeps Going
By Simran Jeet Singh
“You know yourself, Fauja, and you know what you’re capable of. Today is a chance to do your best.” Fauja Singh took his mother’s inspiring words to heart. Through dedication and willpower, he overcame a childhood disability and set many world records in running. Children will be amazed at Fauja’s accomplishments—especially completing a marathon at the age of 100!
How to Solve a Problem
By Ashima Shiraishi
For rock climbers, a boulder is like a problem that you need to solve. Ashima Shiraishi is one of the youngest and most skilled rock climbers in the world and she uses her experiences in rock climbing to challenge young readers to tackle their problems.
I am Darn Tough
By Licia Morelli
How do you keep going even when something is difficult? The determined narrator of this story refuses to quit, overcoming weariness, skinned knees, and self-doubt to cross the finish line a cross-country race. In the process she realizes that she is stronger than she thought, both inside and out!
I Am Every Good Thing
By Derrick Barnes
A confident young boy proudly shares his impressive character traits in this uplifting book. His positivity radiates off the pages, and though he acknowledges that he falls sometimes (as we all do!), he always gets back up again.
I Am the Storm
By Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple
Although this story focuses on extreme weather, it is the lesson of courage during uncertain times that is universal and powerful. The book gives in readers a sense of strength and comfort. The stunning artwork captures several types of storms, while the text reassures children that they are a source of great strength, just like the powerful forces of nature.
Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor
By Patricia Valdez
Joan Procter always preferred reptiles over dolls. She invited them to tea parties and even brought a crocodile to school! Her passion for scaly creatures big and small and her determination to learn all about them led her to become the Curator of Reptiles at the British Museum.
The Little Engine That Could: 90th Anniversary Edition
By Watty Piper, illustrated by Dan Santat
Caldecott Award-winning artist Dan Santat breathes new life into the classic story about a Little Engine that valiantly crosses a mountain to deliver toys to children. For ninety years, readers have relished the Little Engine’s kindness, determination, and grit. With contemporary, lively artwork, a new generation of children will fall in love with this endearing character who teaches readers to believe in themselves.
The Paper Kingdom
By Helena Ku Rhee
A seemingly boring evening transforms into a memorable night in this enchanting tale! When a young boy accompanies his parents to their jobs as night janitors, they use their imaginations to transform the deserted building into a magnificent paper kingdom where he might one day rule. This picture book will keep children entertained, intrigued, and encouraged to find everyday magic of their own.
Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist
By Julie Leung
This inspiring picture book biography shares the story of Tyrus Wong, who immigrated to the United States with big dreams of becoming an artist. Through hard work and determination, he earned a position working for Disney Studios and created the beautiful watercolor backgrounds for the film Bambi, which changed the world of animation.
She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World
By Chelsea Clinton
Chelsea Clinton introduces thirteen remarkable female trailblazers in this empowering compilation. Whether they fought for the rights of others, persevered through discrimination, or overcame adversity and hardships, these unwavering women persisted! In doing so, they each changed the world and paved the way for future generations. Children will enjoy learning about these noteworthy groundbreakers and start dreaming of what they can accomplish themselves.
Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave
By Jessica Hische
Beautiful hand-lettered words encourage children to be their best selves in this thoughtful book. While it encourages readers to be adventurous and confident, it also reassures them that it’s okay to be scared and make mistakes. Children will be comforted with the knowledge that tomorrow is a new day filled with endless possibilities.
Whale in a Fishbowl
By Troy Howell, illustrated by Richard Jones
Wednesday the whale lives in a fishbowl in the middle of a city. She longs for that tranquil bit of blue in the distance that she can see if she just jumps high enough. One day a little girl tells her, “You belong in the sea,” which makes Wednesday start to wonder. Finally she takes a leap higher than ever before, which sets off a chain of events that eventually brings her home.
Whistle for Willie
By Ezra Jack Keats
“Oh, how Peter wished he could whistle.” For over 50 years, the beloved boy named Peter has captured the hearts of readers. In this book Peter hides in a cardboard box and imagines what it would be like to whistle for his dog who is named Willie. He practices and practices, but nothing happens until later when he realizes that his persistence has finally paid off. A childhood rite of passage comes to life through this story of Peter’s undaunted resilience.
Written by Deborah, Children’s Flexible Library Assistant