46 Children's Books About Perseverance

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles book
#1
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.

Ella Enchanted book
#2
Ella Enchanted
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.

She Persisted book
#3
She Persisted
Written by Chelsea Clinton and illustrated by Alexandra Bolger
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.

Max and Marla book
#4
Max and Marla
Written and 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!

The Little Engine That Could book
#5
The Little Engine That Could
Written by Watty Piper and illustrated by Doris Hauman, George 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.

Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing book
#6
Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing
Written by Kay Haring and illustrated by Robert Neubecker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

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.

The Very Clumsy Click Beetle book
#7
The Very Clumsy Click Beetle
Written and illustrated by Eric Carle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

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.

How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow? book
#8
How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow?
Written and illustrated by Wendell Minor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

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.

You Can! Words of Wisdom From The Little Engine That Could book
#9
You Can! Words of Wisdom From The Little Engine That Could
Written and illustrated by Jill Howarth, Charlie Hart, Watty Piper
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

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!"

Tomo Takes Flight book
#10
Tomo Takes Flight
Written and illustrated by Trevor Lai
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Best friends Tomo and Maya discover a drawing of a magnificent Flying Machine in their adventure journal. With engineering know-how and determination, Tomo decides to build it himself and explore the skies! But no matter how many times he tries, the machine just won’t work…until they spot a rare bird whose nest has fallen. By studying the bird’s wings, Tomo and Maya know just what they need to take flight! Once aloft, Tomo is able to help the bird find a new perch for its nest. In this sequel to Tomo Explores the World, the friends learn that sometimes it takes a perseverance and observation to truly soar. Perfect for young makers and animal lovers, Tomo Takes Flight is a fun and inspiring story that emphasizes creativity and imagination to achieve your goals.

Pocket Bios: Muhammad Ali book
#11
Pocket Bios: Muhammad Ali
Written and illustrated by Al Berenger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A colorfully illustrated, pocket-size picture book biography of the famous professional boxer and activist Muhammad Ali. Muhammad Ali remains one of the most inspiring and celebrated sports figures today. A gold-medal Olympian and multi-title winning boxer, Ali was an important civil rights activist. From his childhood growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, to his amateur boxing training beginning at the age of 12, to his achievements within the professional boxing ring and beyond as a conscientious objector, follow this extraordinary man's life and accomplishments. Pocket Bios are full of personality, introducing readers to fascinating figures from history with simple storytelling and cheerful illustrations. Titles include men and women from history, exploration, the sciences, the arts, the ancient world, and more.

The Mighty Dynamo book
#12
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.

A Day with Parkinson's book
#13
A Day with Parkinson's
Written by A. Hultquist and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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!

Lord of the Mountain book
#14
Lord of the Mountain
Written by Ronald Kidd
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

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.

The Fix-It Friends: Eyes on the Prize book
#15
The Fix-It Friends: Eyes on the Prize
Written by Nicole C. Kear and illustrated by Tracy Dockray
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

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.

Mr. Mergler, Beethoven, and Me book
#16
Mr. Mergler, Beethoven, and Me
Written by David Gutnick and illustrated by Mathilde Cinq-Mars
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

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

Sweet Dreams, Supergirl book
#17
Sweet Dreams, Supergirl
Written by Michael Dahl and illustrated by Omar Lozano
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

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.

Mission Super Halloween book
#18
Mission Super Halloween
Written by Marsha Qualey and illustrated by Jessica Gibson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Beatrice "Bumble B." Flinn has announced her Halloween costume, and it's perfect for her. She is going to be a Super Bee! But when her cape causes issues, B. feels less than super. She is on a mission to find her superpower, with or without her pesky cape! The Bumble B. early chapter book series will inspire young readers to never give up. Easy-to-read text, short chapters, fun illustrations, a glossary, discussion questions, and writing prompts complete the book. The Capstone Interactive edition comes with simultaneous access for every student in your school and includes read aloud audio recorded by professional voice over artists.

Pedro the Ninja book
#19
Pedro the Ninja
Written by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Tammy Lyon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

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.

Inventors Who Changed the World book
#20
Inventors Who Changed the World
Written by Heidi Poelman and illustrated by Kyle Kershner
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

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.

Up & Down book
#21
Up & Down
Written and illustrated by Don Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Swept up by the European ballooning craze of the 1780s, Dr. John Jeffries longed to become the first person to fly across the English Channel. But first he had to outwit a rascally co-pilot, keep the balloon from bursting, and avoid crashing into the sea. The good doctor’s quick-thinking solutions will surprise young readers—and keep them giggling when “lightening the load” is a relief in more ways than one. Don Brown tells this quirky true story with his usual accuracy and heart.

The Dreamer book
#22
The Dreamer
Written and 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.

The North Wind and the Sun book
#23
The North Wind and the Sun
Written by Marilyn Helmer and 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?

Swift Wings book
#24
Swift Wings
Written by Joanne LeBlanc-Haley and illustrated by Sue Todd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-9

Although he was a great solo flyer, Jake could not fly with the other swifts. Every time he tried, he bumped into one bird, knocked another into a spin, and soon destroyed the perfect formation. "Oh, no!" Jake heard behind him. "Jake's here! We'll never get it right if he's with us." Jake felt his confidence slipping away.

Stinker book
#25
Stinker
Written by David Zeltser and illustrated by Julia Patton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Stinker is a puppy stuck in the pound. He's playful and loving and wants more than anything to be adopted. Unfortunately, little Stinker is always making big smells. As family after family return the ever-patient pooch back to the shelter, even he begins to lose hope. That is, until Stinker meets a snarky tomcat who can wriggle his way out of any situation. Together they stage a great escape in order to find just the right home, where Stinker will be loved in spite of his smells.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!