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Learning to Adapt with Courage and Resilience: Picture Books about Change
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Learning to Adapt with Courage and Resilience: Picture Books about Change

Change is an inevitable part of life and can be difficult for children to navigate. However, by reading stories about change, your students can learn about resilience, empathy, and critical thinking. In this post, we will explore why it's important to incorporate picture books about change into your classroom and recommend some of our favourite titles.

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Helping Children Develop Skills to Cope with Change

As the world around us changes, our students must have the skills and mindset to adapt and find resilience in moments of challenge. One effective way to do this is through stories about change.

Picture books about change provide relatable examples of characters coping with difficult situations and adapting to new circumstances.

Why Read Picture Books about Change and Resilience?

As a teacher, you will know how important it is to help your students develop the ability to adapt to new circumstances. 

Picture books about change and resilience provide examples of relatable characters facing challenges head-on and finding ways to keep going.

Children can learn more about themselves and their capabilities by reading about these characters’ journeys. They also provide comfort and inspiration for those struggling with change.

a family thinking about moving to a new home

Benefits of Reading Picture Books about Change

In these stories about change, characters deal with various changes and challenges, from moving to a new house to starting a new school. The books provide examples of perseverance, overcoming obstacles, and accepting new landscapes. They convey positive messages that children need to be resilient in ever-changing circumstances.

Develops Resilience: Picture books about change show how characters cope with difficult situations and find ways to keep going. By reading about these characters’ journeys, students can learn more about themselves and their capabilities, developing resilience in the face of challenges.

Teaches Empathy: Picture books about change help your students learn to empathise with others who are going through a difficult time. By reading stories about characters facing changes, they can understand and relate to the experiences of others, developing empathy and understanding.

Encourages Critical Thinking: Picture books about change often require children to think critically about the characters’ situations and develop creative solutions. This develops problem-solving skills and teaches your students to approach challenges with a flexible and adaptable mindset.

Supports Social and Emotional Learning: Stories about change support social and emotional classroom learning. They provide a way for students to explore and express their emotions, learn about different perspectives, and practice important skills such as communication, teamwork, and self-awareness.

Picture Books about Change and Adaptability

Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood

Ada Río dreams of playing the violin, but her financial circumstances prevent her from pursuing this aspiration. This changes with the arrival of an innovative music teacher who creates instruments from discarded rubbish. 

Paraguay’s inspiring world-renowned Recycled Orchestra highlights the power of music, ingenuity, and the human spirit.

After the Fall by Dan Santat

A fresh retelling of the classic Humpty Dumpty story told from the egg’s perspective. Humpty Dumpty bravely faces his fear of heights, teaching us about courage, overcoming adversity, and the importance of self-esteem. His perseverance and resilience paint an inspiring picture of the triumph of determination over fear.

After the Fall promotes discussions around character traits, perspectives, and a growth mindset. It encourages students to understand and embrace their fears, foster adaptability, and celebrate resilience.

The Bad Seed by Jory John

A sunflower seed believes he’s bad due to the negative comments he overhears about himself. He decides to change his ways and make an effort to become better. He doesn’t change overnight but commits to taking it one day at a time. 

The Bad Seed introduces discussions on a growth mindset, self-management, self-awareness, and social awareness, emphasising that effort and determination make change possible.

Big Wolf and Little Wolf by Nadine Brun-Cosme

Big Wolf lives alone under a tree at the top of a hill. One day, Little Wolf comes to the hill, and although initially, Big Wolf is unsure about the newcomer, they slowly start to form a friendship. Despite his initial wariness, Big Wolf opens his heart to Little Wolf, forming a bond that enriches his life.

Big Wolf and Little Wolf sparkes discussions about being open to new friendships, adaptability, and open-mindedness.

The Can Caravan by Richard O'Neill

Janie is on a mission to help her neighbour, Mrs. Tolen, find a new home when she breaks her hip. With the support of a Traveller community, they transform Mrs. Tolen’s old caravan into a safe and secure dwelling. This story highlights resilience, adaptability, loyalty, independence, and the importance of recycling and teamwork.

The Dam by David Almond

Kielder, in Northumberland, was abandoned to make way for a new reservoir. Before the water fills the valley, a father and daughter return. The girl plays her fiddle in each of the empty homes to honour the music that once filled the village. Based on a true story, the villagers chose to sing and dance in memory of their home that would end up beneath the water.

Read The Dam to promote discussions on change, music and musicians, loss and memories.

The Day War Came by Nicola Davie

This is the first of two picture books about change by Nicola Davies. A resilient girl navigates a world torn apart by conflict. After being rejected from a school, she finds hope in the empathetic gesture of a young boy – offering her a chair, a place to learn and belong. 

The Day War Came illustrates the harsh realities faced by children impacted by war, highlighting the struggles of immigration, the strength in perseverance, and the courage that stems from resilience.

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

Dreamers mirrors the author’s experience of migrating from Mexico to America with her young son. Amidst the challenges of adapting to a new culture, language, and customs, Morales finds solace, knowledge, and inspiration in her local library, ultimately leading her to a new career. 

Dreamers promotes determination, resilience, courage, and hope, cultivating empathy and an appreciation for diverse experiences.

The Earth Shook: A Persian Tale by Donna Jo Napoli

Parisa, living in Iran, is awakened by a destructive earthquake. Alone and scared, she encounters wary animals affected by human harm. She dances, laughs, cooks, and waters plants to combat her loneliness. These activities draw the animals, who see her goodwill and join her. 

The Earth Shook fosters dialogues on resilience, loneliness, courage, compassion, reconciliation, and the power of kindness to conquer fear and distrust.

Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away by Meg Medina

Two best friends, Evelyn and Daniela, must part ways as Evelyn’s family moves to a new home. Their last day together, full of play and laughter in their favourite places, is a poignant reminder that distance doesn’t spell the end for true friendships.

Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away promotes discussions on cherishing and creating memories, building resilience amidst change, adapting to new environments and circumstances, moving and transitioning to a new home.

Flood by Alvaro F. Villa

When the storm worsens, a family find themselves fleeing for safety. Upon their return, they discover their home is in ruins. Despite the destruction, the family chooses hope over despair and decides to rebuild their home. 

This wordless picture book explores resilience during a devastating natural disaster. It promotes discussion on survival, family strength, and the enduring human spirit in the face of adversity.

Florette by Anna Walker

Mae adores gardening at her home in the countryside. When her family moves to an apartment in Paris, she feels lonely and yearns for her lush garden back home. Determined to bring some of the countryside to her new home, Mae demonstrates resilience, adaptability, and patience by creating her own green oasis amidst the city’s concrete landscape. 

Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Lynn Williams

Living in a Peshawar refugee camp, Lina and Feroza each find one yellow sandal from relief workers, forming a perfect pair. They alternate wearing them. When Lina and her mother emigrate to America, Lina offers her sandal to Feroza, but she insists they’ll share the sandals again one day.

Four Feet, Two Sandals encourages discussion about belonging, compassion, friendship, the power of hope, and social awareness. It offers a glimpse into the realities faced by refugee children, promoting empathy and understanding.

Friends Are Friends, Forever by Dane Liu

Dandan navigates her last night in China before moving to America. On Chinese New Year’s Eve, Dandan and her best friend, Yueyue, share the tradition of making red snowflakes. With a spool of red thread and red paper gifted by Yueyue, Dandan finds solace and continuity in her new home.

Friends Are Friends, Forever explores themes of immigration, adaptability, and the value of friendships and the traditions of the Lunar New Year.