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Children’s Books about Perseverance & Determination
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Children’s Books about Perseverance and Determination

These children’s books about perseverance show examples of how grit and determination can push through challenges and give things another go in the face of setbacks.

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Why Read Children’s Books about Perseverance?

Grit, determination and perseverance are the ability to push through challenges. The key to perseverance is motivation, positivity and the courage to see things through to completion no matter the setbacks.

Reading children’s books about perseverance in the classroom can have several benefits, both for students and for teachers:

Development of Resilience: Children face daily challenges in and out of the classroom. Books about perseverance help students understand that it’s okay to face obstacles and to fail as long as they continue trying and don’t give up, building resilience.

Inspiration and Motivation: Children’s books about perseverance inspire and motivate students. By reading about characters who overcome difficulties through determination and persistence, children might be encouraged to apply the same principles in their own lives.

Teaching Empathy: Perseverance often involves facing and overcoming adversity. Children can develop empathy and understanding for others who might be going through tough times by reading about characters who deal with challenges.

Encouraging Growth Mindset: Children’s books about perseverance often promote a growth mindset — the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed with effort and practice.

Providing Teaching Material: Teachers can use children’s books about perseverance as a basis for lesson plans and classroom discussions. They can help students connect the themes of perseverance and resilience to their own lives, history, current events, or other books they’re reading.

Enhanced Classroom Environment: Reading children’s books about perseverance can create a more supportive and persistent classroom environment where students feel encouraged to take on challenges and learn from their mistakes.

Questions to Pair With Children’s Books about Perseverance

  • When have you shown perseverance?
  • Why can it be difficult to persevere? What are the obstacles?
  • What characteristics did [character] have that made them able to persevere?
  • Why was it important that [character] persevere? 
  • Do you think [character] could accomplish their task by themselves?
  • How can positive relationships with others help us preserve in difficult situations/tasks?
  • What does it mean to show perseverance or to be committed?
  • How does being determined make a difference to your work or achieving your goals?
  • When you try something new, how does perseverance help?

Children’s Books about Perseverance and Determination

These children’s books about perseverance illustrate how hard work and persistence can overcome setbacks. Characters show perseverance and determination and are an example to your students that they can reach their own goals and overcome challenges. The characters overcome various challenges and find different ways of achieving goals.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

A severe drought in Malawi caused 14-year-old Kamkwamba to drop out of school to save his family money. He researched how to bring electricity to his village and built a working windmill from scraps. Promotes responsible decision-making, perseverance, a growth mindset and social awareness.

Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 by Helaine Becker

Katherine Johnson broke racial and gender barriers to play an instrumental role in NASA’s space missions. Her mathematical skills and quick thinking were critical to the astronauts’ safe return aboard the troubled Apollo 13 spacecraft.

Counting on Katherine inspires discussions on perseverance, problem-solving skills, gender roles in the STEM field, and the fight against racial discrimination. It emphasises how providing equal opportunities, regardless of gender or race, can result in extraordinary achievements.

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

Liam, a young explorer, stumbles upon a wilting garden on an abandoned train track. With time, care, and patience, Liam nurtures the garden back to life. His hard work pays off when his blossoming oasis spreads throughout the city, illustrating the impact one person can have on their environment.

The Curious Garden engages your class in discussions on sustainability, adaptability, perseverance, cooperation, and making connections.

A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream by Kristy Dempsey

Set against the backdrop of Harlem, a young girl is profoundly inspired by Janet Collins – the first African American prima ballerina. She is determined, overcomes adversity, and achieves her dreams against all odds.

A Dance Like Starlight promotes resilience and fosters empathy, courage, and dream-chasing in your students.

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

The Dot follows Vashti, a young girl who discovers her artistic voice with her art teacher’s encouragement and just a single dot. Witness as Vashti’s journey unfolds, from making her first mark to creating a collection of dot paintings and even inspiring another child to express himself through art.

The Dot teaches us that we can become great risk-takers and creators with determination, a growth mindset, and a little encouragement.

Drummer Girl by Hiba Masood

Najma lives in a Turkish village and dreams of becoming a musaharati, a drummer who wakes families for the pre-dawn meal during Ramadan. Traditionally taken on by men, Najma is determined to show her community she can take on this important role.

Drummer Girl inspires discussions about overcoming barriers, challenging gender stereotypes, courage, determination, self-belief, and pursuing dreams.

Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson

Born with a deformed leg, Emmanuel finds unwavering support in his mother. He cycled 400 miles across Ghana using only one leg, defying societal expectations and spreading a powerful message: disability does not equate to inability.

Emmanuel’s Dream encourages discussions on perseverance, resilience, and the power of believing in oneself, challenging societal norms and stereotypes about disability.

Fauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run a Marathon by Simran Singh Jeet

Fauja Singh was born with determination and confidence. He overcame a disability in his legs to become a farmer. In his 80s he ran his first marathon, and he was still running them after he turned 100!

Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams

Kondi’s determination helps him make a galimoto (toy vehicle made of wires) despite others laughing at his idea. Set in Malawi, this book reinforces the themes of determination, perseverance, recycling and creative thinking.

Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae

Follow Gerald’s journey of courage, self-belief, and resilience as he longs to participate in the annual Jungle Dance, despite the taunting of other animals. 

Giraffes Can’t Dance teaches students the power of perseverance, determination, and a growth mindset. It also inspires discussions on self-awareness, self-esteem, enthusiasm, confidence, and overcoming bullying and self-doubt.

Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart by Dion Leonard

Running a 177-mile race in the Gobi Desert, Dion discovers a little dog running with him. Through trials and tribulations, they finish the race together. Dion names the dog Gobi and takes him home to Scotland. This true story promotes determination, perseverance, and strength.

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chiere Uegaki

After three violin lessons, Hana Hashimoto signs up for a local talent show. When she gets on stage, her nerves take over, but Hana finds her own form of success. Use this book to discuss determination and a growth mindset.