Resilience can be learned like any other skill. It takes practice and patience. We cannot shield our kids from all of life's disappointments and challenges.
One of the most effective ways is to surround them with books and stories that promote resilience and whose characters have grit. When we read stories, whether true or fictional, that show others facing their problems and overcoming obstacles, we are helping to develop the same mindset in our children.
Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our FREE When I Feel Worried Poster. Use this popular printable to make a plan with your child for when their worry shows up. Your child will have a list of their own coping strategies to calm their worry and anxiety.
Ages 1 - 4
Otis by Loren Long
New York Times bestselling author/artist Loren Long creates an unforgettable children's classic. Otis is a special tractor. He loves his farmer and he loves to work. And he loves the little calf in the next stall, whom he purrs to sleep with his soft motor. In fact, the two become great friends: they play in the fields, leap hay bales, and play ring-around-the-rosy by Mud Pond.
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
A charming picture book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. The girl has a wonderful idea. "She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing!" But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly.
Pete the Cat Books by E. Litwin
Pete the Cat goes walking down the street wearing his brand-new white shoes, along the way, he steps in piles of big messes! But no matter what color his shoes are, Pete keeps movin' and groovin' and singing his song...because it's all good.
Gossie: A Gosling on the Go! by Olivier Dunrea
Meet Gossie, a small yellow gosling who loves to wear bright red boots—every day. One morning Gossie can’t find her beloved boots. She looks everywhere for them: under the bed, over the wall, even in the barn.
Ages 4 - 8
Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington by Jabari Asim & Bryan Collier
Born into slavery, young Booker T. Washington could only dream of learning to read and write. After emancipation, Booker began a five-hundred-mile journey, mostly on foot, to Hampton Institute, taking his first of many steps towards a college degree. When he arrived, he had just fifty cents in his pocket and a dream about to come true. The young slave who once waited outside of the schoolhouse would one day become a legendary educator of freedmen.
The Girl Who Lost Her Smile by Karim Alrawi
In the wondrous city of Baghdad lives a young girl called Jehan. One morning, Jehan wakes and sees that her smile is lost. She looks everywhere. Jugglers and fire-eaters come to help her find it. Artists paint murals on the walls of her room. They all try their hardest to entertain Jehan, but still, she cannot find her smile. Derived from a collection of Islamic stories, The Girl Who Lost Her Smile is a simple folktale about uncovering life's hidden beauty.
Sad, the Dog by Sandy Fussell & Tull Suwannakit
A clever little dog christens himself “Sad” when his humans fail to give him a name. Although they feed him and wash him, they don’t appreciate his many gifts, like his love of singing (“stop that yapping!”). Although Sad is initially frightened, it soon becomes clear that the boy is just the right person to make a dog’s life complete with playtime, treats, and a brand-new name: Lucky.
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty & David Roberts
The beloved New York Times bestselling picture book about pursuing one’s passion with persistence and learning to celebrate each failure on the road to achieving one’s dreams.
She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton & Alexandra Boiger
The book is for everyone who has ever wanted to speak up but has been told to quiet down, for everyone who has ever tried to reach for the stars but was told to sit down, and for everyone who has ever been made to feel unworthy or unimportant or small.
She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History by Chelsea Clinton & Alexandra Boiger
Women around the world have long dreamed big, even when they've been told their dreams didn't matter. They've spoken out, risen up, and fought for what's right, even when they've been told to be quiet. They haven't let anyone get in their way and have helped us better understand our world and what's possible.
Ada Twist by Andrea Beaty & David Roberts
Touching on themes of never giving up and problem-solving, Ada comes to learn that her questions might not always lead to answers, but rather to more questions. Ada has always been endlessly curious. Even when her fact-finding missions and elaborate scientific experiments don’t go as planned, Ada learns the value of thinking her way through problems and continuing to stay curious.
A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell
Little Louie's story keeps getting messed up, and he's not happy about it! What's the point of telling his tale if he can't tell it perfectly? But when he stops and takes a deep breath, he realizes that everything is actually just fine, and his story is a good one--imperfections and all.
The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
Her teacher smiled. "Just make a mark and see where it takes you." Art class is over, but Vashti is sitting glued to her chair in front of a blank piece of paper. The words of her teacher are a gentle invitation to express herself. But Vashti can’t draw - she’s no artist. To prove her point, Vashti jabs at a blank sheet of paper to make an unremarkable and angry mark. "There!" she says.
Ish (Creatrilogy) by Peter H. Reynolds
A creative spirit learns that thinking “ish-ly” is far more wonderful than “getting it right” in this gentle new fable from the creator of the award-winning picture book The Dot.
Sometimes I'm Bombaloo (Scholastic Bookshelf) by Rachel Vail & Yumi Heo
Sometimes, Katie loses her temper. Sometimes she uses her feet and her fists instead of words. When Katie is this mad, she's just not herself. Sometimes, she's BOMBALOO. Being BOMBALOO is scary. But a little time-out and a lot of love calm BOMBALOO down and help Katie feel like Katie again!
These 20 thoroughly modern retellings of ancient Buddhist tales give parents a fun, low-pressure way to impart wisdom and moral guidance without preaching. Each story highlights a moral or ethical dilemma that echoes those that children face in their own lives, providing insight and enlightenment that they can use to defuse trying situations.
Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen
Violet is a science-loving girl inventor with a flair for the air! The kids at school tease her, but they have no idea what she's capable of. Maybe she could earn their respect by winning the blue ribbon in the upcoming Air Show. Or maybe something even better will happen—something involving her best-ever invention, a Boy Scout troop in peril, and even the mayor himself!
Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain by Cheryl Bardoe & Barbara McClintock
The true story of eighteenth-century mathematician Sophie Germain, who solved the unsolvable to achieve her dream.
Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson & Sean Qualls
Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, he was dismissed by most people—but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams.
Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate
Kek comes from Africa where he lived with his mother, father, and brother. But only he and his mother have survived. Now she's missing, and Kek has been sent to a new home. In America, he sees snow for the first time and feels its sting. As he waits for word of his mother's fate, Kek weathers the tough Minnesota winter by finding warmth in his new friendships, strength in his memories, and belief in his new country.
Ages 9 - 12
If you believe you can't do something, the chances are you won't try. But what if you really could get better at maths, or sport or exams? In fact, what if you could excel at anything you put your mind to?
Harry Potter Paperback Box Set by J. K. Rowling & Mary GrandPré
Now for the first time ever, J.K. Rowling’s seven bestselling Harry Potter books are available in a stunning paperback boxed set! The Harry Potter series has been hailed as “one for the ages” by Stephen King and “a spellbinding saga’ by USA Today. And most recently, The New York Times called Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the “fastest selling book in history.” This is the ultimate Harry Potter collection for Harry Potter fans of all ages!
A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park & Ginger Knowlton
The New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
When a terrible drought struck William Kamkwamba's tiny village in Malawi, his family lost all of the season's crops, leaving them with nothing to eat and nothing to sell. William began to explore science books in his village library, looking for a solution. There, he came up with the idea that would change his family's life forever: he could build a windmill. Made out of scrap metal and old bicycle parts, William's windmill brought electricity to his home and helped his family pump the water they needed to farm the land.
El Deafo by Cece Bell
A 2015 Newbery Honor Book Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid.
Ages 12 +
Hope in a Ballet Shoe: Orphaned by war, saved by ballet: an extraordinary true story by Michaela DePrince & Elaine DePrince
Hope in a Ballet Shoe tells the story of Michaela DePrince. Growing up in war-torn Sierra Leone, she witnesses atrocities that no child ever should. Her father is killed by rebels and her mother dies of famine. Sent to an orphanage, Michaela is mistreated and she sees the brutal murder of her favorite teacher.
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
This award-winning contemporary classic is the survival story with which all others are compared—and a page-turning, heart-stopping adventure, recipient of the Newbery Honor.
Fast Talk on a Slow Track by Rita Williams-Garcia
Denzel Watson is a fast talker with a system, and it's made him valedictorian. But when he goes to a summer program at Princeton, he takes a fall. How can he tell his proud family that he won't be able to cut it in the Ivy League? Instead, he spends the rest of the summer selling candy, up against "Top Man" Mello, a drop-out with a police record. For the first time, Denzel is forced to take a hard look at himself -- and how much further he could fall.
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
Over 1.5 million people have read the #1 New York Times bestseller Out of My Mind and discovered the brilliant mind of Melody Brooks.
Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea by Sungju Lee & Susan Elizabeth McClelland
Every Falling Star, the first book to portray contemporary North Korea to a young audience, is the intense memoir of a North Korean boy named Sungju who is forced at age twelve to live on the streets and fend for himself.
Our popular Big Life Journal - 2nd Edition (ages 7-10) helps children develop strong Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and growth mindset skills through inspiring stories, colorful illustrations, and engaging guided activities. In this beautifully illustrated journal, children learn how to believe in themselves, face challenges with confidence, and use mistakes as opportunities to grow!
Do you have a preteen or teen? Check out the Big Life Journal - Teen Edition (ages 11+). Our popular journal offers plenty of ideas and activities for teens to explore their interests and passions. From assessments to designing their own apps to encouraging advice, it’s a great tool for dreaming big!