I don’t know if you’ve felt the same way, but resilience has been hard for me lately. I miss my pre-pandemic life. It’s harder to adapt to setbacks and changes in a world that keeps being upended. Sometimes it feels easier to stop trying. More than ever, we need to cultivate the skill of perseverance.
As a children’s librarian, I have read a slew of picture books about perseverance, and I have found them especially helpful this year as I have tried to practice this skill myself.
Yes, I am recommending these books for the kids in your life—but I am also recommending them for you. I think these books are fantastic for kids and adults alike. They are titles that could have made a difference in my mindset as a child, and they are also books that can make a difference in my mindset today. Perseverance takes practice—but we are never too old to learn.
I teared up when I first read this book. Rosie has been too afraid to show anyone her engineering projects ever since her uncle laughed at one of her inventions. Like Rosie, I can pinpoint the exact moment I gave up on something I used to be passionate about. I stopped writing for years because one day, a friend told me I wasn’t good at it. Luckily for Rosie and me, her Great-Great Aunt Rose had some advice to give us the hope and courage we needed to try again (and again and again).
Have you ever played the comparison game? When Amy Wu compares her imperfect bao to those made by her mom, dad, and grandma, I thought of all the times I have been tempted to quit trying because I didn’t measure up to someone else. Amy learns she must practice and persevere if she wants to succeed in making the perfect bao because no one does something perfectly the first time. And I learned that it’s persevering to meet my own goals, not someone else’s, that matters.
This is my favorite book to read in Ready, Set, School when we discuss Taking on Challenges. Humpty Dumpty’s life continues after he falls, but he has a new fear of heights that keeps him from his favorite pastime—watching the birds from the wall above the city. Then an idea leads him on a journey to regain some of that joy. When we get to the last page of the book, I always look to the parents and caregivers in the room because the impact of the story hits them first. I love to see the collective goosebumps and gasps in the room. This is one of those stories that challenges our ideas about what we know and believe to be possible.
Looking for more books about perseverance and resilience? This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these titles have inspired me, and I hope they inspire you, too.