Best Children's Books About Perseverance

46 Children's Books About Perseverance

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
Irving Berlin book
#26
Irving Berlin
Written by Nancy Churnin and illustrated by James Rey Sanchez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Charlie Takes His Shot book
#27
Charlie Takes His Shot
Written by Nancy Churnin and illustrated by John Joven
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

A Chip Off the Old Block book
#28
A Chip Off the Old Block
Written by Jody Jensen Shaffer and illustrated by Daniel Miyares
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

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.

Cindy Moo book
#29
Cindy Moo
Written by Lori Mortensen and illustrated by Jeff Mack
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

One night on the farm, the cows overhear a fantastic tale. “Hey Diddle Diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon!” Inspired by this classic rhyme, a plucky cow named Cindy Moo sets out to prove that cows really can leap over the moon. The other cows laugh at her, but that doesn’t stop Cindy from trying—and failing—night after night . . . until a trick of nature shows Cindy a way to triumph. As delightfully silly as the original nursery rhyme, this hilarious picture book will have readers of all stripes (and spots) cheering for its determined heroine.

Cowpoke Clyde Rides the Range book
#30
Cowpoke Clyde Rides the Range
Written by Lori Mortensen and illustrated by Michael Allen Austin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Cowpoke Clyde is plumb confused. An ad in his favorite catalog says he oughta buy a bike. But why should he do that? After all, he’s got a horse. Still, a bike wouldn’t buck or bite, and he wouldn’t have to feed it. He orders one, and when it comes, he mounts up and sets right off, wibble-wobblin’ down the road. Good thing he’s got his trusty friend Dawg to look out for him. Turns out learning to ride a bike is just a tad bit harder than he thought! With its rip-roaring rhyming text and turn-the-page revelations, this book is pure read-aloud fun.

Gandhi book
#31
Gandhi
Written by Alice B. McGinty and illustrated by Thomas Gonzales
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

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.

A Dance Like Starlight book
#32
A Dance Like Starlight
Written by Kristy Dempsey and 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.

Annie book
#33
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.

Spin book
#34
Spin
Written by Rebecca Janni and illustrated by George Ermos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

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.

Happiness Doesn't Come from Headstands book
#35
Happiness Doesn't Come from Headstands
Written and illustrated by Tamara Levitt
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Ella Enchanted book
#36
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.

Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters book
#37
Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters
Written and illustrated by Andrea Beaty
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

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.

Ruby's Sword book
#38
Ruby's Sword
Written by Jacqueline Véissid and illustrated by Paola Zakimi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

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.

Sea Bear book
#39
Sea Bear
Written and illustrated by Lindsay Moore
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Little Plane book
#40
Little Plane
Written and illustrated by Taro Gomi
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Little Plane is learning to fly! When you're small and on the go, there's a lot to watch out for: tall trees, muddy hills, and more! With wings aloft, Little Plane keeps flying, weathering the bumps along the way with his initiative, confidence, and positive attitude. This colorful follow-up to Little Boat and Little Truck by beloved author-illustrator Taro Gomi is a must for toddlers launching upward to big adventures!

The Pumpkin Runner book
#41
The Pumpkin Runner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

I Need a Plan! book
#42
I Need a Plan!
Written and illustrated by Federica Muia
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

A little lizard is the only one who can't enjoy playing outside in the sunshine, because he is prone to sunburn. To tackle his dilemma, he comes up with a plan, selects materials, prepares, then performs a series of experiments--showing that with perseverance and determination, any problem can be solved.

Crossing Over book
#43
Crossing Over
Written and illustrated by Stacy Davidowitz
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

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.

Grandma Gatewood Hikes the Appalachian Trail book
#44
Grandma Gatewood Hikes the Appalachian Trail
Written and 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)"--

Frank Pearl in the Awful Waffle Kerfuffle book
#45
Frank Pearl in the Awful Waffle Kerfuffle
Written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Erwin Madrid
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

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.

The Clue in the Crossword Cipher book
#46
The Clue in the Crossword Cipher
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

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.

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