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Pre-K

Picture Books to Help Raise
Resilient Kids

by Rosemary D'Urso

resilient-kids
Photo credit: Granger Wootz/Getty Images

“I give up” are three words parents never want to hear their children say. When faced with adversity, we hope that our children will persist and overcome the obstacles in front of them. Providing examples of characters learning from their mistakes and growing because of them is one effective way to instill resilience in children. From inspirational true stories to characters exhibiting determination and grit, the books listed below are an excellent way to encourage children to become resilient.

  • Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist

    by Julie Leung, illustrated by Chris Sasaki

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    This intriguing picture book biography shares Tyrus Wong's story, who immigrated to the United States with big dreams of becoming an artist. Through hard work and dedication, he earned a position at Disney Studios. Drawing from his Eastern heritage, he created the beautiful watercolor backgrounds for the film Bambi and forever changed the world of animation.

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  • The Blue House

    by Phoebe Wahl

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    Moving is hard on anyone, but especially for children. This tender tale is about a father and son who begrudgingly leave their house. They are angry, frustrated, and sad about having to say goodbye to their home. However, the story eloquently demonstrates the hope they find in moving on and finding a way to honor their memories. With authentic characters, expressive illustrations, and a poignant storyline, this gem will resonate with children and adults.

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  • The Paper Kingdom

    by Helena Ku Rhee, illustrated by Pascal Campion

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    A seemingly dull evening transforms into a memorable night in this enchanting tale! When a young boy accompanies his parents to their jobs as night janitors, they regale him with imaginative stories. This picture book will keep children entertained, intrigued, and encouraged to find everyday magic of their own.

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  • The Bug Girl

    by Sophia Spencer and Margaret McNamara, illustrated by Kerascoët

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    This uplifting tale of a girl learning to stay true to herself is sure to resonate with many. After a bullying incident, seven-year-old Sophia gave up her favorite hobby of studying insects. When her mother sought support from the entomological society, she and Sophia received an outpouring of love. Bolstered by the encouragement, Sophia became a celebrity, encouraging other children to embrace their uniqueness and chase their dreams.

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  • The Little Engine That Could: 90th Anniversary Edition

    by Watty Piper, illustrated by Dan Santat, introduction by Dolly Parton

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    Caldecott Award-winning artist Dan Santat breathes new life into the classic story about a Little Engine that valiantly crosses a mountain to deliver toys and treats to children. For ninety years, readers have relished the Little Engine’s kindness, determination, and grit. With contemporary, lively artwork, a new generation of children will fall in love with this endearing character who teaches readers to believe in themselves.

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  • Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave

    by Jessica Hische

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    Gorgeous hand-lettered words encourage children to be their best selves in this moving book. While it encourages readers to be adventurous, creative, and confident, it also reassures them that it's okay to be scared and make mistakes. Children will be comforted with the knowledge that tomorrow is a new day filled with endless possibilities.

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  • Fauja Singh Keeps Going

    by Simran Jeet Singh, illustrated by Baljinder Kaur

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    “You know yourself, Fauja, and you know what you’re capable of. Today is a chance to do your best.” Fauja Singh took his mother's inspiring words to heart. Through dedication and willpower, he overcame a childhood disability and set world records in running. Children will be amazed at Fauja’s many accomplishments—especially completing a marathon at the age of 100!

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  • She Persisted

    by Chelsea Clinton, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger

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    Chelsea Clinton introduces thirteen remarkable trailblazers in this fascinating compilation. Whether they fought for the rights of others, persevered through discrimination, or overcame hardship, all of these unwavering women persisted. In doing so, they changed the world, paving the way for future generations. Children will relish learning about these noteworthy groundbreakers and begin dreaming of what they can accomplish.

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  • I Am Every Good Thing

    by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James

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    A confident young Black boy proudly shares his impressive attributes in this empowering book. His positivity radiates off the pages, and while he acknowledges that he falls sometimes, he always gets back up. With its rich illustrations and upbeat text, this emboldening story is a must-have!

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  • I Am the Storm

    by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple, illustrated by Kristen Howdeshell and Kevin Howdeshell

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    While this book focuses on extreme weather, its lesson of courage during uncertain times is universal. It instills in readers a sense of strength and comfort. Lush artwork captures several types of storms, while the impactful text reassures children that they are a source of great power, just like the commanding forces of nature.

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