10 Children’s Books that Inspire Resilience

Mar 23, 2020 / By Nancy Yue

Many kids (and parents) are learning in a whole new way, and all this change can understandably be a struggle. Teaching resilience will help your kids overcome the challenges they’re facing today and build confidence to take on obstacles in the future. Here are some of our favorite books that can help kick start a conversation about resiliency with your kids!

Ages 0-5

How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers

To get the things we want in life, we have to be passionate and work hard towards achieving our goals — and in this sweet story about a little boy who keeps trying and trying to catch the thing he loves the most (stars!), sometimes the things that we want aren’t always where or what we expect them to be. How to Catch a Star shows readers the value of trying and seeing different solutions to a problem that at first seems impossible to solve.  

Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats

One day, Peter watched a dog run to a little boy after the little boy had whistled for it. Peter wishes that he could whistle for his dog too, so he keeps whistling and whistling but he just can’t seem to do it. Finally after a lot of blowing (and other creative attempts), a whistle happens and his dog Willie comes to him. After reading about how hard Peter tries to whistle for his dog, young readers will understand the meaning of, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.” 

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss

This classic story about a little boy who plants a carrot seed isn’t just a simple tale about how to care for plants, it also provides a valuable lesson on patience and persistence. Even when the little boy’s mother, father, and older brother show doubt that his carrot seed will grow, the little boy just knows that one day — after all the watering, weed pulling, and waiting — a carrot will pop up!

Ages 6-8

Juna’s Jar by Jane Bahk

Losing a friend or not being able to see a friend for a long time can be very hard. In Juna’s Jar, Juna is very sad when she learns that her best friend, Hector, unexpectedly moves away. She is left wondering who will play and go on adventures with her, and who will collect things with her to put in her empty kimchi jars. This book with its diverse cast of characters can help provide young readers comfort and a lesson about how new adventures and new friends can be found in the most unexpected places. 

After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat

Everyone knows that when Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. But what happened after? Now terrified of heights, Humpty can longer do many of the things he loves most. Will he summon the courage to face his fear? After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) is a masterful picture book that will remind readers of all ages that, “Life begins when you get back up.”

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty & David Roberts

Why? What? How? When? WHY? Ada Twist is always full of questions. She goes on fact-finding sprees and conducts elaborate scientific experiments in search of answers but sometimes, she just ends up with more questions. By the end of the story, Ada learns about the value of problem-solving and never giving up  — an important lesson for all endlessly curious kids to learn too! 

A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell

Not everything in life can be perfect — and sometimes, it’s the imperfections and the mess ups that make it interesting. In this funny and engaging story, Little Louie just wants to skip and sing merrily through this book but he keeps getting interrupted by messes. From jelly stains to fingerprints, Little Louie’s story is not going the way he had hoped. By the end though, he learns to embrace the mess and realizes that it’s okay that things didn’t go as planned. His almost perfect story ended up being a good one anyway.

Ages 9-12

You Are Awesome: Find Your Confidence and Dare to be Brilliant at (Almost) Anything
by Matthew Syed

Looking for a book to help kids build resilience, embrace their mistakes, and empower them to grow into successful, happy adults? If you want your child to excel at anything they can put their mind to, encourage them to develop a growth mindset and dare them to read this book. With practical tips and advice, and stories about successful people from Mozart to Serena Williams, children will learn that success really is earned rather than given, and that talent can be acquired.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

When a plane crashes, 13-year-old Brian Robeson finds himself stranded and alone, needing to figure out how to survive in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but his clothes and a hatchet. This intense and exciting tale of survival is a classic book that touches upon the themes of resilience and problem-solving. Grownups are encouraged to read this story with their kids and engage in discussions together about Brian’s failures and triumphs and how they impact his attitude and viewpoint.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Another timeless classic, the entire Harry Potter series is a study in resilience. Children and their grownups will easily get sucked into all the magical adventures, exciting wizardry, and eccentric cast of characters. As readers dive into each book in the series, the main theme remains the same — Harry and his friends fighting for what they believe in, even when the odds are greatly stacked against them.

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