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Resilience: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about resilience?

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

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.

When it comes to children’s stories about resilience, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like You Can Do It, Bert! to popular sellers like Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah to some of our favorite hidden gems like Sometimes You Fly.

We hope this list of kids books about resilience can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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Grandpa's Top Threes
Written by Wendy Meddour & illustrated by Daniel Egneus
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

A young boy’s original game coaxes a grieving grandpa to reconnect with the world in a touching intergenerational story of love and resilience. Henry loves talking with Grandpa, but Grandpa has stopped listening. Mom says to just give him time. But Henry wants to talk to Grandpa now. So Henry tries his favorite game: Top Threes. And something amazing happens: Grandpa starts talking again. Out of a tale of favorite sandwiches and zoo animals, outings and trains, emerges a moving story about love, loss, and the wonder of grannies and grandpas.

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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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Strong Is the New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves
Written by Kate T Parker
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Girls being fearless. Girls being silly. Girls being wild, stubborn, and proud. Girls whose faces are smeared with dirt and lit up with joy. So simple and yet so powerful, Strong Is the New Pretty celebrates, through more than 175 memorable photographs, the strength and spirit of girls being 100% themselves. Real beauty isn’t about being a certain size, acting a certain way, wearing the right clothes, or having your hair done (or even brushed). Real beauty is about being your authentic self and owning it. Kate T. Parker is a professional photographer who finds the real beauty in girls, capturing it for all the world to see in candid and arresting images. A celebration, a catalog of spirit in words and smiles, an affirmation of the fact that it’s what’s inside you that counts, Strong Is the New Pretty conveys a powerful message for every girl, for every mother and father of a girl, for every coach and mentor and teacher, for everyone in the village that it takes to raise a strong and self-confident person.

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A Thousand No's
Written by DJ Corchin & illustrated by Dan Dougherty
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This empowering picture book teaches readers that even great ideas sometimes get a NO―but that NO can actually help great ideas become the best ideas!

There was a little girl who had a great idea. She had the most amazing, superb, best idea ever!
NO? Wait, what do you mean NO? NO again?
What is she supposed to do with all these NO’s?

NO after NO after NO come the little girl’s way, twisting and squishing her idea. But by persevering, collaborating and using a little imagination, all those NO’s become the building blocks for the biggest YES ever!

A Thousand NO’s is a story about perseverance and innovation. It shows what amazing things can happen if we work with others and don’t give up, and teaches kids not to let expectations of how things should be get in the way of what could be.

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We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Fifty of the foremost diverse children's authors and illustrators--including Jason Reynolds, Jacqueline Woodson, and Kwame Alexander--share answers to the question, "In this divisive world, what shall we tell our children?" in this beautiful, full-color keepsake collection, published in partnership with Just Us Books.
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  • You Can Do It, Bert! - This is Bert’s big day. He is well prepared, mentally, and physically. But he might need some encouragement. You Can Do It, Bert! is a simple, funny picture book with an encouraging positive message. It’s a great gift for anyone embarking on a new venture: a child about to start school, a teenager finishing high school, a college student graduating, or anyone starting a new job or going overseas.

  • I Am!: Affirmations for Resilience - A stunningly illustrated guide to simple affirmations for young children, building self-esteem and confidence. When you are feeling scared of something new,
    Stand tall,
    Put your hands on your hips,
    and say:
    I Am Brave! This brightly hand-lettered board book empowers young readers to lift themselves up! Ten relatable emotions are each followed by a centering exercise and a positive affirmation to be recited, as a practice in mindfulness. Young readers are encouraged to find their inner strength by recognizing and addressing their emotions, instilling a sense of power and self-confidence.

  • Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah - Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah’s inspiring true story–which was turned into a film, <i>Emmanuel’s Gift, </i> narrated by Oprah Winfrey–is nothing short of remarkable. <p/>Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, he was dismissed by most people–but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age thirteen to provide for his family, and, eventually, became a cyclist. He rode an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled. <p/>Thompson’s lyrical prose and Qualls’s bold collage illustrations offer a powerful celebration of triumphing over adversity. <p/>Includes an author’s note with more information about Emmanuel’s charity.

  • Goin' Someplace Special - Through moving prose and beautiful watercolors, award-winning author-illustrator duo collaborate to tell the poignant tale of a spirited young girl who comes face to face with segregation in her southern town.

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Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington
Written by Jabari Asim
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Booker dreamed<br>of making friends with words, <br>setting free the secrets<br>that lived in books. <p/>Born into slavery, young Booker T. Washington could only dream of learning to read and write. After emancipation, Booker began a five-hundred-mile journey, mostly on foot, to Hampton Institute, taking his first of many steps towards a college degree. When he arrived, he had just fifty cents in his pocket and a dream about to come true. The young slave who once waited outside of the schoolhouse would one day become a legendary educator of freedmen. <p/>Award-winning artist Bryan Collier captures the hardship and the spirit of one of the most inspiring figures in American history, bringing to life Booker T. Washington’s journey to learn, to read, and to realize a dream. <br>

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Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain
Written by Cheryl Bardoe & illustrated by Barbara McClintock
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
The true story of eighteenth-century mathematician Sophie Germain, who solved the unsolvable to achieve her dream.
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Gritty Kitty
Written by John Hutton & illustrated by Christina Brown
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

“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.

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