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Perseverance: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about perseverance?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to perseverance. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about perseverance.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about perseverance, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Real Boat to popular sellers like Ella Enchanted to some of our favorite hidden gems like The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles.

We hope this list of kids books about perseverance can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

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Top 10 Books About Perseverance

#1
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She Persisted Around the World
Written by Chelsea Clinton & illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“Introduces readers to a group of thirteen incredible women who have shaped history all across the globe”—Front jacket flap.

#2
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Rosie Revere, Engineer
Written by Andrea Beaty & illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal—to fly—Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. But when her contraption doesn’t fly but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose insists that Rosie’s contraption was a raging success: you can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit. From the powerhouse author-illustrator team of Iggy Peck, Architect comes Rosie Revere, Engineer, another charming, witty picture book about believing in yourself and pursuing your passion. Ada Twist, Scientist, the companion picture book featuring the next kid from Iggy Peck’s class, is available in September 2016.

#3
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Manjhi Moves a Mountain
Written by Nancy Churnin & illustrated by Danny Popovici
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Dashrath Manjhi used a hammer and chisel, grit, determination, and twenty years to carve a path through the mountain separating his poor village from the nearby village with schools, markets, and a hospital. Manjhi Moves a Mountain shows how everyone can make a difference if your heart is big enough.

#4
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Pokko and the Drum
Written & illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From E.B. White Read Aloud honor artist Matthew Forsythe comes a picture book about a magical drum, an emerald forest, and the little frog who dares to make her own music.

The biggest mistake Pokko’s parents ever made was giving her the drum. When Pokko takes the drum deep into the forest it is so quiet, so very quiet that Pokko decides to play. And before she knows it she is joined by a band of animals —first the raccoon, then the rabbit, then the wolf—and soon the entire forest is following her. Will Pokko hear her father’s voice when he calls her home?

Pokko and the Drum is a story about art, persistence, and a family of frogs living in a mushroom.

#5
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The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The Whangdoodle was once the wisest, the kindest, and the most extraordinary creature in the world. Then he disappeared and created a wonderful land for himself and all the other remarkable animals — the ten-legged Sidewinders, the little furry Flukes, the friendly Whiffle Bird, and the treacherous, “oily” Prock. It was an almost perfect place where the last of the really great Whangdoodles could rule his kingdom with “peace, love and a sense of fun”— apart from and forgotten by people. But not completely forgotten. Professor Savant believed in the Whangdoodle. And when he told the three Potter children of his search for the spectacular creature, Lindy, Tom, and Ben were eager to reach Whangdoodleland. With the Professor’s help, they discovered the secret way. But waiting for them was the scheming Prock, who would use almost any means to keep them away from his beloved king. Only by skill and determination were the four travelers able to discover the last of the really great Whangdoodles and grant him his heart’s desire. Julie Andrews Edwards, star of stage and screen, has written a unique and beloved story that has become a modern classic. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles is sure to continue to delight readers everywhere. This edition includes a new foreword by the author.

#6
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Ella Enchanted
Written by Gail Carson Levine
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In this novel based on the story of Cinderella, Ella struggles against the childhood curse that forces her to obey any order given to her. At birth, Ella of Frell was given the gift of obedience by a fairy. Ella soon realizes that this gift is little better than a curse, for how can she truly be herself if at any time anyone can order her to hop on one foot, or cut off her hand, or betray her kingdom—and she’ll have to obey? Ella’s quest to break the curse and discover who she really is, is both funny and poignant.

#7
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The Little Engine That Could: 90th Anniversary Edition
Written by Watty Piper & illustrated by Dan Santat
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Celebrate the 90th anniversary of The Little Engine That Could with this all-time classic reillustrated by Caldecott Award-winning artist Dan Santat!

The kindness and determination of the Little Blue Engine have inspired millions of children around the world since the story was first published in 1930. Cherished by readers for ninety years, The Little Engine That Could is a classic tale of a little engine that, despite her size, triumphantly pulls a train full of wonderful things to the children waiting on the other side of a mountain.

This anniversary edition features the original text, all-new reimagined artwork and an introduction from Caldecott Medal-winner Dan Santat, and a special letter from Dolly Parton, award-winning singer-songwriter and founder of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

#8
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She Persisted
Written by Chelsea Clinton & illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Chelsea Clinton introduces tiny feminists, mini activists and little kids who are ready to take on the world to thirteen inspirational women who never took no for an answer, and who always, inevitably and without fail, persisted.

Throughout American history, there have always been women who have spoken out for what’s right, even when they have to fight to be heard. In early 2017, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s refusal to be silenced in the Senate inspired a spontaneous celebration of women who persevered in the face of adversity. In this book, Chelsea Clinton celebrates thirteen American women who helped shape our country through their tenacity, sometimes through speaking out, sometimes by staying seated, sometimes by captivating an audience. They all certainly persisted.

She Persisted 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.

With vivid, compelling art by Alexandra Boiger, this book shows readers that no matter what obstacles may be in their paths, they shouldn’t give up on their dreams. Persistence is power.

This book features: Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Virginia Apgar, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor—and one special cameo.

#9
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Dream Big
Written by Deloris Jordan & illustrated by Barry Root
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Olympic dreams come true in this inspiring picture book from Michael Jordan’s mother, author of the New York Times bestselling Salt in His Shoes. Long before he became a professional All-Star basketball player, Michael Jordan had dreams of winning an Olympic gold medal—and with dedication and perseverance, that’s exactly what he did. This heartwarming picture book, written by Michael’s mother and illustrated by Barry Root, gives a rare glimpse into a sports hero’s childhood and emphasizes the role that good values play in success. An ideal companion to the New York Times bestselling Salt in His Shoes and releasing in time for the 2012 Olympics, Dream Big is an inspiration to all.

#10
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Ada Twist, Scientist
Written by Andrea Beaty & illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Ada Twist’s head is full of questions. Like her classmates Iggy and Rosie—stars of their own New York Times bestselling picture books Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer—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.

Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Perseverance and...

Books About Perseverance and History

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She Persisted Around the World
Written by Chelsea Clinton & illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“Introduces readers to a group of thirteen incredible women who have shaped history all across the globe”—Front jacket flap.

Add to list
She Persisted
Written by Chelsea Clinton & illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Chelsea Clinton introduces tiny feminists, mini activists and little kids who are ready to take on the world to thirteen inspirational women who never took no for an answer, and who always, inevitably and without fail, persisted.

Throughout American history, there have always been women who have spoken out for what’s right, even when they have to fight to be heard. In early 2017, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s refusal to be silenced in the Senate inspired a spontaneous celebration of women who persevered in the face of adversity. In this book, Chelsea Clinton celebrates thirteen American women who helped shape our country through their tenacity, sometimes through speaking out, sometimes by staying seated, sometimes by captivating an audience. They all certainly persisted.

She Persisted 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.

With vivid, compelling art by Alexandra Boiger, this book shows readers that no matter what obstacles may be in their paths, they shouldn’t give up on their dreams. Persistence is power.

This book features: Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Virginia Apgar, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor—and one special cameo.

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A Dance Like Starlight
Written by Kristy Dempsey & illustrated by Floyd Cooper
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Little ballerinas have big dreams. Dreams of pirouettes and grande jetes, dreams of attending the best ballet schools and of dancing starring roles on stage. But in Harlem in the 1950s, dreams don’t always come true—they take a lot of work and a lot of hope. And sometimes hope is hard to come by.

But the first African-American prima ballerina, Janet Collins, did make her dreams come true. And those dreams inspired ballerinas everywhere, showing them that the color of their skin couldn’t stop them from becoming a star.

In a lyrical tale as beautiful as a dance en pointe, Kristy Dempsey and Floyd Cooper tell the story of one little ballerina who was inspired by Janet Collins to make her own dreams come true.

Honorable Mentions
Charlie Takes His Shot book
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Irving Berlin book
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Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing book
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Gandhi book
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  1. Charlie Takes His Shot - Charlie Sifford loved golf, but in the 1930’s only white people were allowed to play in the Professional Golf Association. Sifford had won plenty of black tournaments, but he was determined to break the color barrier in the PGA. In 1960 he did, only to face discrimination from hotels that wouldn’t rent him rooms and clubs that wouldn’t let him use the same locker as the white players. But Sifford kept playing, becoming the first black golfer to win a PGA tournament and eventually ranking among the greats in golf.

  2. Irving Berlin - Irving Berlin came to the United States as a refugee from Tsarist Russia, escaping a pogrom that destroyed his village. Growing up on the streets of the lower East Side, the rhythms of jazz and blues inspired his own song-writing career. Starting with his first big hit, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Berlin created the soundtrack for American life with his catchy tunes and irresistible lyrics. With “God Bless America,” he sang his thanks to the country which had given him a home and a chance to express his creative vision.

  3. Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing - Iconic pop artist Keith Haring comes to life for young readers in this picture book biography lovingly written by his sister This one-of-a-kind book explores the life and art of Keith Haring from his childhood through his meteoric rise to fame. It sheds light on this important artist’s great humanity, his concern for children, and his disregard for the establishment art world. Reproductions of Keith’s signature artwork appear in scenes boldly rendered by Robert Neubecker. This is a story to inspire, and a book for Keith Haring fans of all ages to treasure.

  4. Gandhi - Mohandas Gandhi’s 24-day March to the Sea, from March 12 to April 5, 1930, was a pivotal moment in India’s quest to become an independent country no longer ruled by Great Britain. With over 70 marchers, Gandhi walked from his hometown near Ahmedabab to the sea coast by the village of Dandi. The march was a non-violent means to protest the taxes that Great Britain had imposed on salt — not the salt that the Indians could get from the sea, but the salt that Great Britain forced them to buy. Gandhi believed that peaceful protests were an effective way to challenge British law, and his peaceful but ultimately successful movement became known as Satyagraha.

Want to see books about history?

Books About Perseverance and Technology

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Rosie Revere, Engineer
Written by Andrea Beaty & illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal—to fly—Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. But when her contraption doesn’t fly but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose insists that Rosie’s contraption was a raging success: you can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit. From the powerhouse author-illustrator team of Iggy Peck, Architect comes Rosie Revere, Engineer, another charming, witty picture book about believing in yourself and pursuing your passion. Ada Twist, Scientist, the companion picture book featuring the next kid from Iggy Peck’s class, is available in September 2016.

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Ada Twist, Scientist
Written by Andrea Beaty & illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Ada Twist’s head is full of questions. Like her classmates Iggy and Rosie—stars of their own New York Times bestselling picture books Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer—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.

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Just Like Rube Goldberg
Written by Sarah Aronson & illustrated by Robert Neubecker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Discover how Rube Goldberg followed his dreams to become an award-winning cartoonist, inventor, and even an adjective in the dictionary in this inspiring and funny biographical picture book.

Want to become an award-winning cartoonist and inventor? Follow your dreams, just like Rube Goldberg! From a young age, Rube Goldberg had a talent for art. But his father, a German immigrant, wanted Rube to have a secure job. So, Rube went to college and became an engineer.

But Rube didn’t want to spend his life mapping sewer pipes. He wanted to follow his passion, so Rube got a low-level job at a newspaper, and from there, he worked his way up, creating cartoons that made people laugh and tickled the imagination. He became known for his fantastic Rube Goldberg machines—complicated contraptions with many parts that performed a simple task in an elaborate and farfetched way. Eventually, his cartoons earned him a Pulitzer Prize and his own adjective in the dictionary. This moving biography is sure to encourage young artists and inventors to pursue their passions.

Honorable Mentions
Zelda's Big Adventure book
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Izzy Gizmo book
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Izzy Gizmo and the Invention Convention book
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Inventors Who Changed the World book
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  1. Zelda's Big Adventure - Zelda has big plans—she wants to be the first chicken in space. She leaves nothing to chance as she builds her spaceship, plans her experiments, and packs for the journey. All she needs now is a little help from her friends, and if they won’t step up, Zelda will just have to manage on her own! Eye-popping art and a story of perseverance and ingenuity prove that for a plucky hen, the sky is never the limit. This modern twist on the traditional The Little Red Hen story features an endearing and resourceful chicken determined to fulfill her dream

  2. Izzy Gizmo - Izzy Gizmo loves to invent but gets frustrated when her inventions fail to work properly, so when she finds a crow with a broken wing her grandfather urges her to persist until she finds a way to help.

  3. Izzy Gizmo and the Invention Convention - In this companion to the award-winning Izzy Gizmo, Izzy Gizmo returns (together with Grandpa and Fixer) in a charming and eccentric tale of ambition, perseverance, and finding your inner strength. Izzy Gizmo has been invited to Technoff Isle’s annual convention where the inventor of the best machine will win coveted admittance to the Genius Guild. Great inventors produce gadgets that can be put to good use, so Izzy Gizmo decides to build a recycling machine that mends broken tools. But with fearsome foe Abi von Lavish getting the best of her at every turn, can Izzy Gizmo and Fixer create the winning invention? Featuring the creative and much-loved heroine of color, this wonderfully exuberant story has serious points to make about the importance of make do and mend.

  4. Inventors Who Changed the World - From the ranging curiosity of Leonardo da Vinci to the dedication and sacrifice of Marie Curie, Little Heroes: Inventors Who Changed the World is a young child’s first introduction to the brilliant people who taught us the meaning of perseverance and innovation. Simple text and adorable illustrations tell the contributions of nine renowned inventors from around the world: Cai Lun, Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Grace Hopper, Mary Sherman Morgan, and Nikola Tesla. Inspire your own little inventor with the words of these inventive heroes who changed the world.

Want to see books about technology?

Books About Perseverance and Animals

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The Almost Impossible Thing
Written & illustrated by Basak Agaoglu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Nothing is so impossible that it shouldn’t be tried. Even if you’re a bunny hoping to fly. A tribute to teamwork, big dreams, perseverance, and those who don’t listen when others say their goals are unreachable. The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.—Chinese Proverb Most of us want to fly—even if we know we’re rooted to the ground. Especially if we know we’re rooted to the ground! So when a rabbit spots a bird soaring in beautiful, colorful loop-de-loops, a dream is born. Though her friends tell her “You can’t do that!” our rabbit is undeterred. Through comical ski jumps, trampoline bounces, swings on the trapeze, and experiments with kites . . . somehow, some way, there must be a way to fly. And there is! Teamwork. Debut author/illustrator Basak Agaoglu delivers a story of faith, persistence, and humor—along with some of the most adorable, child-friendly art ever seen. For fans of Extremely Cute Animals Operating Heavy Machinery.

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The Dreamer
Written & illustrated by Il Sung Na
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Once, there was a pig who admired birds. But he could never join them. Or could he? Thus begins the journey of a pig with big dreams, and the perseverance to make them come true. He develops flight plans, builds experimental contraptions, and has far-flung adventures, but at the end of the day, his favorite thing to do is still to sit and watch for those he loves best: the birds. Il Sung Na creates a world at once whimsical and aspirational, where anything is possible and, yes, even pigs can learn to fly.

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Max and Marla
Written & illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Two fearless Olympians sled to victory in this delightful new picture book

Max and Marla are best friends. And aspiring Olympians! With their eyes on the prize, they know exactly what it’ll take to reach sledding success: preparation, practice and perseverance. So when rusty blades, strong winds and difficult slopes get in their way, Max and Marla realize true joy lies not in winning but in friendship. Obstacles turn into victories!

With delightful illustrations and charming text, Alexandra Boiger brings to life the story of two unstoppable pals—true Olympians who never give up!

Honorable Mentions
Argyle Fox book
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Ruby's Sword book
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The Donkey Egg book
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Ayobami and the Names of the Animals book
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  1. Argyle Fox - Argyle Fox, with his signature style, wants to play outside on a springtime day, but the wind is wreaking havoc with his fun and games. As soon as he builds a card tower, climbs into a giant spider web, or takes up his pirate sword, here comes the wind: Woosh! Mama Fox tells grumpy Argyle that if he thinks long enough, he will come up with something to do. Following his mother’s suggestion and inspired by her knitting, he works all the pieces of his day together and creates the perfect solution. The story of Argyle teaches that failure is often a path to success and celebrates perseverance, creative thinking, and an old-fashioned springtime activity.

  2. Ruby's Sword - Ruby is always racing after her big brothers. But no matter how hard she tries, she can never catch up. Then one day, she discovers some sticks in the grass. Not just any sticks—swords! And suddenly the world is her kingdom. Readers will cheer on Ruby’s perseverance and creativity as they delight in the antics of the adorable animals that join her along the way. Anyone who has ever imagined themselves the star of their own swashbuckling adventure will find this sweet book irresistible.

  3. The Donkey Egg - Featuring Bear and Hare from their Caldecott-Honor winning Tops & Bottoms, the Stevens sisters celebrate perseverance and teamwork in this laugh-out-loud story of triumph over trickery. Bear would rather sleep all day than work on his farm, and Fox knows just the kind of help he needs—a donkey! When Fox tricks Bear into buying a donkey egg, Bear can’t wait for it to hatch so he can meet his new friend. But donkeys don’t come from eggs! And when the “egg” finally opens, Bear gets a fruity surprise. Luckily, Bear doesn’t have to face disappointment alone . . . Hare is there to help!

  4. Ayobami and the Names of the Animals - Winner at The 2018 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Ayobami is an African girl who dreams of going to school. After war comes to an end, she can finally return to the schoolhouse. But in order to do so, she has to take a dangerous path through the jungle. Armed only with a piece of paper and a worn-out pencil, she embarks on a hazardous journey to fulfil her unweaving desire to learn and write. This is a tale about the importance of education, the difficulties that many children have to overcome to go to school, and the perseverance and enthusiasm of those who want to learn.

Want to see books about animals?

Books About Perseverance and Performing Arts

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Pokko and the Drum
Written & illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From E.B. White Read Aloud honor artist Matthew Forsythe comes a picture book about a magical drum, an emerald forest, and the little frog who dares to make her own music.

The biggest mistake Pokko’s parents ever made was giving her the drum. When Pokko takes the drum deep into the forest it is so quiet, so very quiet that Pokko decides to play. And before she knows it she is joined by a band of animals —first the raccoon, then the rabbit, then the wolf—and soon the entire forest is following her. Will Pokko hear her father’s voice when he calls her home?

Pokko and the Drum is a story about art, persistence, and a family of frogs living in a mushroom.

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Firebird
Written by Misty Copeland & illustrated by Christopher Myers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

In her debut picture book, Misty Copeland tells the story of a young girl–an every girl–whose confidence is fragile and who is questioning her own ability to reach the heights that Misty has reached. Misty encourages this young girl’s faith in herself and shows her exactly how, through hard work and dedication, she too can become Firebird.

Lyrical and affecting text paired with bold, striking illustrations that are some of Caldecott Honoree Christopher Myers’s best work, makes Firebird perfect for aspiring ballerinas everywhere.

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Out of Step
Written & illustrated by Jake Maddox
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Last season Mercy Anderson was one of the best dancers on her school’s dance team when they almost made it to the state championship, but a sudden growth spurt has made her awkward and unsure of her moves—a personal coach would help bring her back to competition level, but can she earn enough money dog walking to pay for the training?

Honorable Mentions
Musical Mac book
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Tallulah's Tap Shoes book
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Lord of the Mountain book
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Mr. Mergler, Beethoven, and Me book
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  1. Musical Mac - Mac the millipede loves to make music. He dreams of playing in a talent show with a band, but wherever he auditions, everyone says NO. No one wants him . . . until Mac comes up with an ingenious one-millipede solution to his problem! Brendan Kearney’s funny picture book will inspire kids who like to march to the beat of their own drum.

  2. Tallulah's Tap Shoes - It’s summer, and Tallulah is excited about going to dance camp. She’ll get to take plenty of ballet classes. She’ll have to take tap, too, and she’s NOT excited about that. She’s never taken tap before, so she’ll be a beginning beginner. And she’s right—tap class is not much fun. Plus there’s a girl her same age who’s maddeningly good at tap dancing. But that same girl isn’t very good at ballet . . . could it be that she and Tallulah have something in common?

  3. Lord of the Mountain - Nate’s family has a secret, and it’s wrapped up in a song. The problem is, his preacher father hates music, and when he catches Nate hanging around downtown Bristol with musicians like Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, he comes down hard on him. So Nate sets out in search of himself and the song he thinks will heal his family. Set during the “big bang” of country music in the late 1920s, Nate’s journey of self-discovery parallels that of a region finding its voice for the first time.

  4. Mr. Mergler, Beethoven, and Me - Not long after arriving in North America from China, a young girl and her father bump into a kind old man at their local park. They have no idea that he has been teaching young people music for over fifty years. Mr. Mergler can hear music in a way that most of us can’t, and he knows this little girl has a talent that, with encouragement, will grow into something magical. He gives her a gift that will tie them together forever

Books About Perseverance and Science And Nature

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The Second Sky
Written by Patrick Guest & illustrated by Jonathan Bentley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An inspiring story about finding your true element

Ever since he first hatched, Gilbert has wanted to fly. But with his big, clumsy feet and small, fluffy wings, learning to fly is a bigger challenge than Gilbert anticipated. His fellow penguins tell him to give up, but Gilbert is sure that if he keeps trying, he’ll be able to soar…

Young readers will fall in love with this sweet, motivating story about overcoming obstacles and discovering your hidden talents.

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The Little Gardener
Written & illustrated by Emily Hughes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

There was once a little gardener and his garden meant everything to him. He worked hard, very hard, but he was just too little (or at least he felt he was). In this beautifully gentle tale, Emily Hughes, the celebrated author of Wild, once again transports us to a world not unlike our own, but still brimming with fantasy and wonder.

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Stella Diaz Never Gives Up
Written & illustrated by Angela Dominguez
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

From award-winning author Angela Dominguez, comes the novel Stella Diaz Never Gives Up, a novel about a shy Mexican-American girl who becomes an environmental activist and makes a difference in her community. Stella gets a big surprise when her mom plans a trip to visit their family in Mexico! Stella loves marine animals, and she can’t wait to see the ocean for the first time . . . until she arrives and learns that the sea and its life forms are in danger due to pollution. Stella wants to save the ocean, but she knows she can’t do it alone. It’s going to take a lot of work and help from old and new friends to make a difference, but Stella Díaz never gives up! This is the second middle-grade novel from award-winning picture book author and illustrator Angela Dominguez. Based on the author’s experiences growing up Mexican-American, this infectiously charming character comes to life through relatable story-telling including simple Spanish vocabulary and adorable black-and-white art throughout.

Honorable Mentions
Sea Bear book
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I'm Done! book
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A Chip Off the Old Block book
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  1. Sea Bear - Lindsay Moore’s remarkable and beautifully illustrated picture book follows a lone polar bear as she makes her way across sea ice in the Arctic. Sea Bear is a deeply moving and informative story about perseverance, family, nature, and climate change that will resonate with readers of all ages. A solitary polar bear travels across the sea ice in pursuit of food. As the ice melts and food becomes scarce, she is forced to swim for days. Finally, storm-tossed and exhausted, she finds shelter on land, where she gives birth to cubs and waits for the sea to freeze again. Informed by the author’s background in marine science, Sea Bear is a vivid and moving page-turner with a vital message about our changing planet. This is a gorgeously illustrated book, with the perfect marriage of scientific fact and poetry, that shows the reality of climate change and how it poses a threat to animals of the Arctic. Perfect for family and classroom sharing. Includes extensive backmatter about Arctic animals, climate change, and sea ice.

  2. I'm Done! - Little Beaver would rather play with friends than build a proper dam, but finally he is ready to get it done.

  3. A Chip Off the Old Block - A plucky pebble shows true grit as he travels the country trying to find out if he fits in with any of his famous rock-formation relatives. Rocky comes from a long line of rock stars! Uncle Gibraltar, Aunt Etna, and Great-Grandma Half Dome are just some of the legendary rock formations he calls family. It’s no wonder he wants to matter in a big way too—but it’s not easy trying to get a foothold. Rocky gets tossed by The Wave and driven away at Devil’s Tower—but he’s determined not to allow these pitfalls to chip away at his confidence. Rather than feeling crushed, he keeps on rolling, hoping to become the rock-star he knows he’s meant to be.

Books About Perseverance and Feelings And Emotions

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Let's Go to Taekwondo!: A Story about Persistence, Bravery, and Breaking Boards
Written & illustrated by Aram Kim
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Yoomi wants a yellow belt. But she’s afraid to break the board. Grandma to the rescue!

Yoomi and her friends are ready to take on the test for their yellow belts in taekwondo. But Yoomi is afraid to break a board. Meanwhile, Grandma is struggling to learn something new, too.

But Yoomi and Grandma encourage and inspire each other. Yoomi discovers how, with persistence, focus, deep breathing, and above all, a loving Grandma, even the toughest challenges can be overcome.

This companion to No Kimchi for Me emphasizes self-confidence, determination, and the value of family. Backmatter about taekwondo, including some Korean vocabulary, is included.

A Junior Library Guild Selection

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The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya
Written by Jane Kelley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A desperately ill girl and an orphaned African gray parrot find friendship, security and healing when they are inadvertently joined by fate. By the author of The Girl Behind the Glass.

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Be You!
Written & illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Creative visionary of The Word Collector, Happy Dreamer, and The Dot, #1 New York Times bestseller Peter H. Reynolds creates a joyful celebration of individuality—and staying true to Y-O-U!
Be curious…
Be adventurous…
Be brave…
BE YOU!

Discover a joyful reminder of the ways that every child is unique and special, from the beloved creator of The Dot, Happy Dreamer, and New York Times bestseller, The Word Collector. Here, Reynolds reminds readers to “be your own work of art.” To be patient, persistent, and true. Because there is one, and only one, YOU.

In the tradition of books like Oh, the Places You’ll Go! and I Wish You More comes a wholly original, inspirational celebration of individuality as only Peter H. Reynolds can create!

Honorable Mentions
Happiness Doesn't Come from Headstands book
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Gritty Kitty book
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Pigs in a Pickle book
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Twinkle book
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  1. Happiness Doesn't Come from Headstands - Trying—and failing—can be a path to happiness too. Leela loves to do yoga. She could do all sorts of poses, but there was one pose she couldn’t do. Every time Leela tried to do a headstand…KERPLUNK! This book explores the themes of acceptance, resilience, and self-compassion and offers the message that just because we may experience a failure does not mean that we are a failure. Written as a counterpoint to the message of The Little Engine that Could, Happiness Doesn’t Come from Headstands is a story about a girl who tries her best, but still falls down. Through the process she learns that happiness is not determined by external achievement. Even in the face of failure, peace can be found if we accept that we cannot do everything and focus on our experience.

  2. Gritty Kitty - “Gritty Kitty, stumble and fall, stand back up—no problem at all!” Young readers will see themselves in Gritty Kitty when Gritty takes a tumble on the playground, struggles to wait patiently for a turn with a favorite toy, and experiences other everyday hurdles. But through grit and resilience, Gritty Kitty learns to get right back up again. With gentle humor, this book encourages young readers to find their own inner strength.

  3. Pigs in a Pickle - The three little pigs from Pigs in a Blanket are back for more fun in this silly interactive board book with a positive message! These three little pigs are ready for anything—especially having fun. But, whoops! Sometimes the pigs’ day doesn’t go as planned. That’s OK! No matter what the oopsie, the pigs keep going, always staying positive and landing on their teensy feet! • A positive message about perseverance told in clever rhyming, easy-to-follow text • Fun and interactive book for family story time • Hans Wilhelm has written and illustrated over 200 books for children and adults including the popular Guess Which Hand and Pigs in a Blanket. For children who love barnyard animals, Peppa Pig, Perfect Piggies!, and Tickle the Pig, Pigs in a Pickle will warm hearts and inspire confidence. A fun and simple book about overcoming challenges for preschoolers and toddlers. • Books for kids ages 0–3 • Interactive and fun • Read-aloud bedtime book

  4. Twinkle - From the acclaimed author of the beloved Angelina Ballerina series comes a delightful picture book about a feisty fairy named Twinkle! Twinkle is just starting to learn her spells in fairy school, and she can’t seem to understand that what comes naturally for all the other fairies-in-training is a bit of a struggle for her. With spells going sideways and frustration running high, this sweet, triumphant story about persistence is perfect for parents to share with their little ones who are learning new skills.

Books About Perseverance and Social Themes

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Sometimes You Fly
Written by Katherine Applegate & illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

This gorgeous gift book, equally perfect for preschool graduations or college commencements, baby showers or birthdays, is an inspirational tribute to the universal struggles and achievements of childhood. Beginning with a first birthday, the scenes travel through childhood triumphs and milestones, coming full circle to graduation. A magical blend of succinct text and beautiful watercolors renders each moment with tenderness and humor and encourages readers to “remember then, with every try, sometimes you fail . . . sometimes you fly.”

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Even Superheroes Make Mistakes
Written by Shelly Becker & illustrated by Eda Kaban
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-9

Even superheroes slip up and err. When that happens, do they complain or give up in despair? NO! Whether they’ve nabbed the wrong guy by mistake or bashed into a planet while zooming through space, all superheroes ‘fess up their mess-up and keep on saving the world in the most super way! This follow-up to Even Superheroes Have Bad Days teaches kids another humorous lesson in overcoming adversity.

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Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug
Written by Jonathan Stutzman & illustrated by Jay Fleck
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Tiny T. Rex has a HUGE problem. His friend Pointy needs cheering up and only a hug will do. But with his short stature and teeny T. Rex arms, is a hug impossible? Not if Tiny has anything to say about it! Join this plucky little dinosaur in his very first adventure—a warm and funny tale that proves the best hugs come from the biggest hearts. Introducing an unforgettable character on the picture book scene, Tiny T. Rex will stomp into the hearts of readers in this winning new series.

Honorable Mentions
Flight School book
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Tiny and the Big Dig book
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Crossing Over book
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The Little Fish That Got Away book
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  1. Flight School - A persevering penguin is determined to fly in this adorably inspiring picture book from the creator of Red Hat and Red Sled. Although little Penguin has the soul of an eagle, his body wasn’t built to soar. But Penguin has an irrepressible spirit, and he adamantly follows his dreams to flip, flap, fly! Even if he needs a little help with the technical parts, this penguin is ready to live on the wind.

  2. Tiny and the Big Dig - Sniff! Sniff-sniff! I smell a bone. A bone that’s BIG. I’ll get it out, I’ll dig and dig. A big, BIG bone! I know it’s there! It will take work, but I don’t care! Tiny may be a small dog, but don’t let that fool you. He’s a pooch with power who knows what he wants. And he’s going for it. But oh, those pesky pessimists — they’re trying to rain on Tiny’s dig-parade! Thank goodness for one special boy who believes in Tiny, because in the end, this dog’s grit proves that he’s the little pup who could… dig up some giant surprises!

  3. Crossing Over - A hilarious and heartfelt series about the particular magic of summer camp—a place where reinvention is possible and friends are like family—from a sparkling debut talent. There’s only one thing Melman loves more than soccer: her summers at Camp Rolling Hills. So she’s pumped to be back—until she realizes her bunkmates have gone totally boy-crazy over the school year and plastered their cabin in pink. Pink posters, pink t-shirts…it seems that the only not-pink thing in the cabin is Melman herself. That is, until she’s given a dare in front of the entire camp: wear a pink princess dress. For Three. Whole. Days. Steinberg’s summer gets off to a rough start, too, when his robot (usually his area of expertise) blows up during a camp-wide robotics contest. Steinberg might feel like a loser at home, but camp’s supposed to be his place to shine. Steinberg without robots? Melman in pink? This whole summer feels turned upside down! To set things right, Steinberg and Melman team up and hatch a fail-proof plan. The plan’s secret ingredient? Hamburgers.

  4. The Little Fish That Got Away - The classic story illustrated by Crockett Johnson, the creator of Harold and the Purple Crayon, about a young boy who goes out fishing and the little fish that gets away—now with a fresh new jacket design! A little boy goes fishing every day, but he never catches anything—no, not a single fish. So he waits. He waits and waits and waits and waits, and one day, a GREAT GREAT big fish swims by…. A favorite for generations, this witty twist on an old fisherman’s tale featuring an updated look is certain to hook new fans!

Books About Perseverance and Confidence

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The Little Engine That Could
Written by Watty Piper & illustrated by George Hauman and Doris Hauman
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

A classic story now in a lap-book format has been slightly abridged and features the famous illustrations from the original edition that will keep toddlers cheering on the little blue engine as she continues chugging along.

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The Little Engine That Could: 90th Anniversary Edition
Written by Watty Piper & illustrated by Dan Santat
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Celebrate the 90th anniversary of The Little Engine That Could with this all-time classic reillustrated by Caldecott Award-winning artist Dan Santat!

The kindness and determination of the Little Blue Engine have inspired millions of children around the world since the story was first published in 1930. Cherished by readers for ninety years, The Little Engine That Could is a classic tale of a little engine that, despite her size, triumphantly pulls a train full of wonderful things to the children waiting on the other side of a mountain.

This anniversary edition features the original text, all-new reimagined artwork and an introduction from Caldecott Medal-winner Dan Santat, and a special letter from Dolly Parton, award-winning singer-songwriter and founder of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

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Home Base: A Mother-Daughter Story
Written by Nikki Tate & illustrated by Katie Kath
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this empowering picture book perfect for young feminists, a gutsy baseball-playing girl and her bricklaying mom celebrate when love and hard work triumph over nerves.

A young pitcher steps up to the plate.

A hardworking mom interviews for her biggest job yet.

Girls and women aren’t always welcome in the worlds of baseball and bricklaying. But with practice, the right gear, and a whole lot of determination, this intrepid mom and daughter thrive under pressure. Readers get to see their parallel narratives unfold in tandem, coming together at the end for a sweet reward: ice cream!

With fun, punchy writing and radiant illustrations, this touching story will be a hit for budding activists, kids who love sports, and the moms who cheer them on.

Honorable Mentions
She's Got This book
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Mission Lost Cat book
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  1. She's Got This - A New York Times bestseller! From gold-medal-winning Olympic gymnast and bestselling author Laurie Hernandez comes a picture book about chasing your dreams and never giving up. Even Olympians have to start somewhere. And in this charming illustrated book, Laurie Hernandez tells the story of Zoe, a little girl who dreams of flying—and becoming a gymnast. When Zoe sees a gymnast on TV, she realizes that gymnastics is just like flying. But when she first goes to class and falls off the balance beam, she discovers that following her dreams is harder and scarier than she thought. Through this heartwarming and inspirational story, featuring vibrant art from Nina Mata, Laurie imparts important lessons she learned on her way to Olympic glory: You always have to get back up and try again, and you always have to believe in yourself.

  2. Mission Lost Cat - Beatrice “Bumble B.” Flinn wants to help find her friend Rosa’s lost cat, Charley, and she decides the best way is to make a flyer with a drawing and, with the help of her father, hand them out in the neighborhood—but most of them blow away, and Rosa is upset and blames Bumble B and her flyer for the lack of results.

Want to see books about confidence?

Books About Perseverance and Hard Work

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Ricky, the Rock That Couldn't Roll
Written by Jay Miletsky & illustrated by Erin Wozniak
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Unlike the other rocks that he plays with, Ricky can’t roll because he isn’t round. His friends help him to overcome his challenge and find a way for him to play like everyone else.

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Earn It!
Written & illustrated by Cinders McLeod
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

In this delightful introduction to the simple concept of earning money, an exuberant little bunny learns that fame and fortune must be earned.

Bun wants to be rich and famous. She loves to sing and knows she’s meant for a career on stage. It should all be pretty easy—her mom can just drive her to the concert hall to perform! But her mom reminds her that most good things, like the garden they are growing, take time and work. At first, Bun isn’t terribly excited by the idea of singing lessons and practice, but as she does the math and daydreams about her future singing career, the more she starts to like the idea of earning her way to stardom—a feeling just as good as being rich and famous!

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The Carrot Seed
Written by Ruth Krauss & illustrated by Crockett Johnson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When a little boy plants a carrot seed, everyone tells him it won’t grow. But when you are very young, there are some things that you just know, and the little boy knows that one day a carrot will come up. So he waters his seed, and pulls the weeds, and he waits … First published in 1945 and never out of print, this timeless combination of Ruth Krauss’s simple text and Crockett Johnson’s eloquent illustrations creates a triumphant and deeply satisfying story for readers of all ages.

Honorable Mentions
The Very Clumsy Click Beetle book
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You Can! Words of Wisdom From The Little Engine That Could book
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Pedro the Ninja book
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  1. The Very Clumsy Click Beetle - A VERY classic from Eric Carle, creator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar! When a little click beetle falls onto his back, he seeks the help of a wise old click beetle. “Look at me,” says the more experienced click beetle, giving a loud CLICK and flipping onto its feet. But try as he might, the clumsy little click beetle just can’t get the hang of it–or can he? In the tradition of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Carle creates a winning story of perseverance and pride in achievement complete with an ingenious fiber-optic microchip that truly gives voice to the valiant little beetle as it CLICKs its way through the colorful pages and somersaults into your heart.

  2. You Can! Words of Wisdom From The Little Engine That Could - The classic character that has inspired generations of children to believe in themselves will now inspire readers of every age in this book filled with encouraging words of wisdom. Everybody needs a little downtime for maintenance. There will always be obstacles you don’t anticipate. Wake up ready for an adventure. The Little Engine That Could is one of the most popular and enduring children’s stories of all time, and for more than eighty-five years, this classic character has encouraged readers to try their hardest to achieve their dreams. This story of determination and inspiration has now been reimagined in a charming, illustrated gift book that will speak to readers no matter what the age and no matter what the challenge. This is the perfect gift for graduation, and for everyone who may need to be reminded, “You Can!”

  3. Pedro the Ninja - After watching a ninja cartoon, Pedro dreams of being a ninja himself. Luckily, his dad gets him karate lessons. With hard work and a little practice, maybe Pedro can become ninja star, just like the ones he sees in the movies! A glossary and reading questions make this title a black-belt level book.

Books About Perseverance and Culture

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Manjhi Moves a Mountain
Written by Nancy Churnin & illustrated by Danny Popovici
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Dashrath Manjhi used a hammer and chisel, grit, determination, and twenty years to carve a path through the mountain separating his poor village from the nearby village with schools, markets, and a hospital. Manjhi Moves a Mountain shows how everyone can make a difference if your heart is big enough.

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When I Was Eight
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-7

Looks at the experiences of a strong-willed young Inuit girl who receives permission from her father to travel to a residential religious school run by non-Inuit outsiders, where she struggles to adapt to the new way of living.

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Grandma Gatewood Hikes the Appalachian Trail
Written & illustrated by Jennifer Thermes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

“Emma Gatewood’s life was far from easy. In rural Ohio, she managed a household of eleven kids alongside a less-than-supportive husband. One day, at age 67, she decided to go for a nice long walk. . . and ended up at the other end of the Appalachain Trail. With just the clothes on her back and a pair of thin canvas sneakers on her feet, Grandma Gatewood hiked up ridges and down ravines. She braved angry storms and witnessed breathtaking sunrises. When things got particulary tough, she relied on the kindness of strangers or sheer dumb luck to get her through the night. When the newpapers got wind of her amazing adventure, the whole country cheered her on to the end of her trek, which came just a few months after she set out. A story of real resilience and hardcore lady power, Grandma Gatewood proves that no peak is insurmountable. After all, at age 83, she hiked the whole trail again (sneakers and all)”—

Honorable Mentions
Sumokitty book
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Cartwheel Katie book
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Nya's Long Walk: A Step at a Time book
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The Pumpkin Runner book
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  1. Sumokitty - A hungry cat gets a job hunting mice at a sumo training center (heya), but once the mice are gone he continues to stuff himself until he is too fat to chase the mice that have returned—so he decides to train with the sumo wrestlers, and SumoKitty becomes a scourge of mice and an inspiration to the wrestlers.

  2. Cartwheel Katie - Katie is enrolled in a gymnastics class, but when she has trouble doing some of the moves she gets discouraged and considers dropping out.

  3. Nya's Long Walk: A Step at a Time - In this picture book companion to the bestseller A Long Walk to Water, a young South Sudanese girl goes on a journey that requires determination, persistence, and compassion. Young Nya takes little sister Akeer along on the two-hour walk to fetch water for the family. But Akeer becomes too ill to walk, and Nya faces the impossible: her sister and the full water vessel together are too heavy to carry. As she struggles, she discovers that if she manages to take one step, then another, she can reach home and Mama’s care. Bold, impressionistic paintings by Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Honor winner Brian Pinkney evoke the dry, barren landscape and the tenderness between the two sisters. An afterword discusses the process of providing clean water in South Sudan, reducing waterborne illness.

  4. The Pumpkin Runner - Nearly all the sheep ranchers in Blue Gum Valley rode horses or drove jeeps to check on their sheep. But Joshua Summerhayes liked to run…with Yellow Dog trailing behind him.” So it’s no surprise when Joshua decides to enter a race from Melbourne to Sydney. People laugh when old Joshua shows up in his overalls and gumboots, calmly nibbling a slice of pumpkin for energy. But then he pulls into the lead, and folks are forced to sit up and take notice. Inspired by a true event (and just in time for fall’s pumpkin harvest!) a talented team introduces a humble and generous hero who knows that winning isn’t always the reason to run a race.

Want to see books about culture?

Books About Perseverance and Imagination And Play

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Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
Written by Mac Barnett & illustrated by Jon Klassen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary — and finding it in a manner you’d never expect.

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The Most Magnificent Thing
Written & illustrated by Ashley Spires
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A little girl and her canine assistant set out to make the most magnificent thing. But after much hard work, the end result is not what the girl had in mind. Frustrated, she quits. Her assistant suggests a long walk, and as they walk, it slowly becomes clear what the girl needs to do to succeed. A charming story that will give kids the most magnificent thing: perspective!

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How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow
Written by Monica Sweeney & illustrated by Feronia Parker-Thomas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

The Sun and the Clouds are best friends. Together they keep the world warm, the gardens growing, and the sky full of beautiful rainbows. But one day they get into a fight and refuse to be in the sky together. And that means there are no longer any rainbows. Without rainbows, the colors start disappearing until Earth was left with no color … except for one little forgotten box of crayons in one little school desk. Determined to save the rainbows and fix the Sun and Clouds’ friendship, the crayons draw rainbows all over town. Their attempts go unnoticed. Soon they realize that they’re going to have to do something big to get the attention of the former friends. So, the crayons create the biggest rainbow they can and hope it’s enough to bring color back to the world. How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow teaches the importance of teamwork and perseverance through seven crayons with unique personalities and their desire to see the world in color. Sky Pony Press, with our Good Books, Racehorse and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of books for young readers—picture books for small children, chapter books, books for middle grade readers, and novels for young adults. Our list includes bestsellers for children who love to play Minecraft; stories told with LEGO bricks; books that teach lessons about tolerance, patience, and the environment, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

Honorable Mentions
Tag Your Dreams: Poems of Play and Persistence book
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The Real Boat book
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How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow? book
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  1. Tag Your Dreams: Poems of Play and Persistence - Whether just trying out for the team or reaching for the Olympics, there’s something for every reader in this playful poetry collection! From baseball, basketball, and football to double-dutch, mini-golf, and turning a cartwheel, these poems look at facing fears, dreaming big, and never giving up. This well-rounded collection explores sports and play across all abilities and backgrounds.

  2. The Real Boat - When a paper boat learns about the ocean, he is determined to go there so he can be a real boat. On his journey he meets all sorts of friends, from the strong little tugboat to the glittering ocean liner. But he also learns that the real ocean is huge and deep and full of dangers. A lyrical text and magical illustrations combine to create a modern fable with an important message about striving for what you want and escaping your comfort zone.

  3. How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow? - Every year, giant pumpkin contests take place at fairs across the country—the 2012 record-holder weighed over a ton! The latest craze is to carve the most enormous pumpkins into racing boats. But what’s next? Why not think really big? Award-winning artist Wendell Minor does just that as he imagines larger-than-life pumpkins decorating some of America’s favorite places—as immense as the Capitol dome, Mount Rushmore, the Brooklyn Bridge, even the Grand Canyon! This celebration of famous landmarks and landscapes plays with concepts of size and scale and is full of fun facts.

Books About Perseverance and Family

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The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The Whangdoodle was once the wisest, the kindest, and the most extraordinary creature in the world. Then he disappeared and created a wonderful land for himself and all the other remarkable animals — the ten-legged Sidewinders, the little furry Flukes, the friendly Whiffle Bird, and the treacherous, “oily” Prock. It was an almost perfect place where the last of the really great Whangdoodles could rule his kingdom with “peace, love and a sense of fun”— apart from and forgotten by people. But not completely forgotten. Professor Savant believed in the Whangdoodle. And when he told the three Potter children of his search for the spectacular creature, Lindy, Tom, and Ben were eager to reach Whangdoodleland. With the Professor’s help, they discovered the secret way. But waiting for them was the scheming Prock, who would use almost any means to keep them away from his beloved king. Only by skill and determination were the four travelers able to discover the last of the really great Whangdoodles and grant him his heart’s desire. Julie Andrews Edwards, star of stage and screen, has written a unique and beloved story that has become a modern classic. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles is sure to continue to delight readers everywhere. This edition includes a new foreword by the author.

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Betty Bunny Wants a Goal
Written by Michael Kaplan & illustrated by Stephane Jorisch
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

When a young rabbit quits soccer after a disappointing first game, her family encourages her to keep trying.

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Annie
Written by Thomas Meehan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

It’s a hard-knock life for America’s favorite orphan! Everyone knows the story of the irrepressible Annie, who lives at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage until she beats the odds and finds a new life with the benevolent and wealthy Daddy Warbucks. Annie has enchanted millions of readers from her original comic strip appearance to the hit Broadway musical. Now, with a Tony-nominated revival playing on Broadway, Puffin is reissuing this novelization of the classic story, with a new introduction by Tony and Emmy Award-winning author Thomas Meehan. This is an adaptation that delves even deeper into Annie’s story, as she lives on the streets during the Great Depression, finds Sandy the dog, and encounters characters both familiar and new.

Honorable Mentions
Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters book
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A Day with Parkinson's book
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A Tuba Christmas book
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  1. Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters - Rosie Revere is no stranger to flops and fails, kerfuffles and catastrophes. After all, she’s an engineer, and engineering is all about perseverance! But sometimes, Rosie has a really important project to tackle—one that feels much bigger than herself. When Rosie’s beloved Aunt Rose and her pals the Raucous Riveters—a gaggle of fun-loving gals who built airplanes during World War II—need her help, it’s up to Rosie to save the day. Will Rosie be able to invent a contraption to help one of the Riveters paint in the annual mural competition? After one flop . . . then another . . . and another . . . Rosie starts to lose hope. But thanks to some help from her classmates Iggy Peck and Ada Twist, Rosie creates the Paintapolooza! and, along with the Riveters, rediscovers the meaning of Home.

  2. A Day with Parkinson's - Ever since Grandpa got Parkinson’s, Noah has noticed he hasn’t been the same. He doesn’t have as much energy as he used to, and sometimes when he’s excited or happy, he can’t smile. Noah worries that Parkinson’s is his fault, but Grandpa assures him it’s not—and it won’t stop him from having fun at the beach!

  3. A Tuba Christmas - With a family that loves music as much as hers does, it was only a matter of time before it was Ava’s turn to pick out an instrument. Her mother plays the piano, her father plays the violin, and one brother plays the cello while the other plays the clarinet. As soon as Ava selects an instrument, she will be able to join them as they practice for the annual holiday concert. And her family has definite ideas on what instrument Ava should select, from the piano to the flute to the violin. But Ava isn’t interested in any of them. Ava wants to play the tuba. And she gets her wish. But playing the tuba isn’t as easy as it seems. And there is no place for a tuba in the annual concert. But with the encouragement of her music teacher, Ava finds a place for her and her tuba in a special holiday celebration.

Books About Perseverance and Girls And Women

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Me and McGee
Written by Myron Uhlberg & illustrated by Daniela Sosa
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

McGee is a batter to be reckoned with; he wallops every ball that’s pitched to him. Last year, he took the Catbirds to number one. But the pitcher he beat practices through the whole long winter, and the championship is once again up for grabs, with bases loaded. It’s McGee’s turn to bat. The pitcher lets go a fast ball, but is it enough to strike out McGee?

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Unbeatable Betty
Written by Allison Crotzer Kimmel & illustrated by Joanie Stone
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An inspiring picture book biography of the first woman to win a gold medal in track and field. Young readers intrigued by the Summer 2020 Olympics in Tokyo will be inspired by this story.

With Joanie Stone’s colorful illustrations and Allison Crotzer Kimmel’s inspirational text, this biography is a reminder of how it takes more than sheer talent to be a champion; an unbeatable spirit of determination and hard work is also needed.

At only sixteen years old, Betty Robinson became the first female gold medalist in track and field in the 1928 Olympics and an overnight sensation. She was set for gold again and had her eyes on the 1932 Olympics.

Her plans changed forever when a horrible plane crash left her in a wheelchair, with one leg shorter than the other. But Betty didn’t let that stop her. In less than five years, she relearned how to stand, to walk, and finally to run again and try to taste gold once more in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Perfect for Women’s History units, as well as for reports on lesser-known sports heroes, Unbeatable Betty includes an author’s note narrating Betty’s later life after her win, as well as a bibliography.

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Let's Go to Taekwondo!
Written by Aram Kim
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Yoomi wants a yellow belt. But she’s afraid to break the board. Grandma to the rescue!

Yoomi and her friends are ready to take on the test for their yellow belts in taekwondo. But Yoomi is afraid to break a board. Meanwhile, Grandma is struggling to learn something new, too.

But Yoomi and Grandma encourage and inspire each other. Yoomi discovers how, with persistence, focus, deep breathing, and above all, a loving Grandma, even the toughest challenges can be overcome.

This companion to No Kimchi for Me emphasizes self-confidence, determination, and the value of family. Backmatter about taekwondo, including some Korean vocabulary, is included.

A Junior Library Guild Selection

Honorable Mentions
The Clue in the Crossword Cipher book
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Sweet Dreams, Supergirl book
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  1. The Clue in the Crossword Cipher - Lovely young Carla Ponce, who lives in Peru, invites Nancy and her friends Bess and George to visit her and solve her “monkey mystery,” which promises to lead to a fabulous treasure. A clue is carved on an intriguing wooden plaque that is so old, most of the crossword cipher is obliterated. When a notorious gang headed by El Gato (the Cat) steals the priceless relic, Nancy’s hopes of solving the mystery are almost shattered. But the daring young detective’s ability to think fast and act quickly results in the recovery of the plaque. Nancy’s determined efforts to decode the crossword decipher take her to the magnificent, awe-inspiring Incan ruins at Cuzco and Machu Pichu. Through clever deductions, perseverance, and dangerous adventures, Nancy and her friends help to capture a ring of vicious smugglers and go on to make an astounding archaeological discovery.

  2. Sweet Dreams, Supergirl - A young Supergirl fan faces her most elusive adversary - sleep! As darkness falls, a young girl attempts to catch some Z’s while DC Comics’ SUPERGIRL tracks down an elusive enemy. With super hero traits, like BRAVERY, PATIENCE, and PERSISTENCE, they’ll both turn sleepless nights into sweet success and sweet dreams. Along with Omar Lozano’s action-packed art, bestselling author Michael Dahl (Bedtime for Batman, Good Morning, Superman, and Be a Star, Wonder Woman) delivers an imaginative bedtime book for fangirls and fanboys alike.

Books About Perseverance and Sports And Recreation

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Dream Big
Written by Deloris Jordan & illustrated by Barry Root
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Olympic dreams come true in this inspiring picture book from Michael Jordan’s mother, author of the New York Times bestselling Salt in His Shoes. Long before he became a professional All-Star basketball player, Michael Jordan had dreams of winning an Olympic gold medal—and with dedication and perseverance, that’s exactly what he did. This heartwarming picture book, written by Michael’s mother and illustrated by Barry Root, gives a rare glimpse into a sports hero’s childhood and emphasizes the role that good values play in success. An ideal companion to the New York Times bestselling Salt in His Shoes and releasing in time for the 2012 Olympics, Dream Big is an inspiration to all.

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Gracie Laroo Sets Sail
Written by Marsha Qualey & illustrated by Kristyna Litten
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

The Water Sprites are supposed to perform their medal-winning synchronized swimming routine aboard a cruise ship, but everything goes wrong when the piglets aboard start throwing things at the swimmers—so Gracie enlists the help of famous Rita Sinclair and her dancers to help impose order on the unruly passengers.

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Catkwondo
Written by Lisl H. Detlefsen & illustrated by Erin Hunting
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Kitten wants to a break a board, and she wants to do it now. But Tae Kwon Do is not easy. Kitten must focus. She must practice. And above all, she must be patient. Will Kitten’s determination and dedication pay off when it’s finally time to break a board? Author Lisl Detlefsen delivers a turbo-charged story filled with action, fun, and encouragement. Korean phrases are intermixed throughout Catkwondo, and the Tae Kwon Do Oath and a Tae Kwon Do glossary complete this energetic picture book.

Honorable Mentions
Spin book
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Ninja Camp book
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  1. Spin - As she rides her bike up and down steep slopes, a little girl reminds herself that if she just keeps moving she will eventually climb her mountain.

  2. Ninja Camp - Pack your bags and grab your gear: you’re going to Ninja Camp! Listen closely to the ninja master, who will teach you everything you need to know to become a ninja warrior-but it won’t be easy. You’ll have to be sly and swift, strong and speedy, and only then will you become a Ninja of the Night! This fun and energetic book will delight and entertain kids and parents alike with its clever, rhyming verse and action-packed depictions of the coolest camp around. For fans of Ninja Red Riding Hood who are looking for a lesson in teamwork and cool stealth skills.

Books About Perseverance and Competition

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The North Wind and the Sun
Written by Marilyn Helmer & illustrated by Sue Todd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-8

When the North Wind brags about his strength, the Sun challenges him to a contest. Who will win?

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The Mighty Dynamo
Written by Kieran Crowley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

More than anything, Noah Murphy wants to be a professional soccer player—and participating in the Schools’ World Cup qualifiers might be just what he needs to get scouted. But when he’s suspiciously banned from his school team for something he didn’t even do, all his dreams come crashing down. Determined to live up to his Mighty Dynamo nickname, Noah must find his own way to enter the contest no matter what it takes. With his best friend Stevie on tactics, and the skills of some unlikely new teammates, he’s soon ready to take on the world—just as long as no one plays foul.

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Chip and Curly
Written by Cathy Breisacher & illustrated by Joshua Heinsz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Chip the potato chip is sure he has the annual Spud City Festival sack race in the bag—he’s been practicing all year. But when Curly the springy curly fry shows up, Chip knows he’s in trouble. This totally funny story is filled with clever potato puns—and subtle themes of sportsmanship and persistence.

Honorable Mentions
Frank Pearl in the Awful Waffle Kerfuffle book
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The Fix-It Friends: Eyes on the Prize book
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  1. Frank Pearl in the Awful Waffle Kerfuffle - Frank Pearl is chasing a prize in this Judy Moody® story for newly independent readers. Just once, Frank Pearl would like to win at something! He is going to win a prize if it’s the last thing he does. Could an amazing yo-yo trick or Cookie the parrot land him a prize? Could a blue ribbon be his at the Great Third-Grade Breakfast Bash? With three shots at a prize and Judy Moody cheering him on (sort of?), there’s no way that Frank can miss out on a trophy this time.

  2. The Fix-It Friends: Eyes on the Prize - Because paying attention can be tricky. Veronica Conti’s on a mission. She wants a trophy. She needs a trophy. She will not rest until a glorious golden trophy is in her hands! So when her school’s 100 Day Contest is announced, Veronica vows to take home the grand prize. But when Veronica gets teamed up with none other than Matthew Sawyer, her biggest enemy, she thinks all hope is lost. Matt gets distracted and has a history of losing stuff, not to mention that he and Veronica can’t stop arguing. To win the prize, Matt needs to organize. And to do that, he needs the Fix It Friends! Together, the friends help Matt and Veronica discover that unexpected friendship is the best prize of all.

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