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Growing Reader

Books on Resilience for Growing Readers Ages 6 – 8

by Jennifer Garry

books-on-resilience
Photo credit: JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Sometimes resilience looks like getting your hands dirty to tackle a big, seemingly impossible task like cleaning up the ocean. Other times, it is quieter and looks like a girl staying at home to study lizards while everyone else is at a school dance. And still other times, it is generations of people chipping away at a society that mistreats them. No matter what it looks like, resilience means showing up again and again for what you believe in.

These books for young readers highlight that determination, adaptability, and perseverance can change the world.

  • She Persisted: Claudette Colvin

    by Lesa Cline-Ransome and Chelsea Clinton, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger and Gillian Flint

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    Part of a brand new chapter book series inspired by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger’s She Persisted (which was inspired by Elizabeth Warren’s refusal to be silenced in the Senate), this book tells the story of a 15-year-old activist named Claudette Colvin. Before Rosa Parks, Claudette refused to give up her seat to a white woman on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama.

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  • Purrmaids #6: Quest for Clean Water

    by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

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    When purrmaids Coral, Shelly, and Angel visit their friend Sirena (a mermicorn) during a scavenger hunt, they find her little brother tangled up in plastic soda rings. The friends work together to help the little mermicorn and clean up the ocean.

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  • The People Could Fly

    by Virginia Hamilton, illustrated by Leo Dillon and Diane Dillon, Ph.D.

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    Inside this collection of 24 Black American folk tales, you'll find mystery, magic, humor, and the overarching theme of freedom. With stories about tricky animals, cautionary tales, and slaves who escaped their masters, this Coretta Scott King Award-winning book is overflowing with resilience.

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  • Sprouting Wings

    by Louisa Jaggar and Shari Becker, illustrated by Floyd Cooper

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    This book tells the true story of how a farm boy who dreamed of touching the sky became the first Black pilot to fly across the United States. While none of the other pilots looked like him, James Herman Banning refused to let that — or the 3,300 miles he’d have to travel — stop him.

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  • Lillian’s Right to Vote

    by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Shane W. Evans

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    As Lillian, a determined 100-year-old Black woman, makes a “long haul up a steep hill” to vote, she remembers the long history of struggles her family — and Black Americans nationwide — have endured. From slavery to the Fifteenth Amendment and marches from Selma to Montgomery, Lillian remembers it all as she slowly but surely walks up the hill to make her voice heard.

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  • I am Jackie Robinson

    by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos

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    Part of Brad Meltzer’s Ordinary People Change the World series, I am Jackie Robinson tells the baseball player's story clearly and concisely for little readers to understand. It highlights how Robinson, a phenomenal athlete, wasn’t allowed to play on the best teams because he was Black — but he never gave up. Robinson eventually became the first Black player in Major League Baseball history, setting a shining example for all sports in America.

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  • Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor

    by Patricia Valdez, illustrated by Felicita Sala

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    Readers of Ada Twist, Scientist will love reading about this real-life pioneering female scientist. Joan Procter preferred reptiles over dolls, invited them to tea parties — and even brought a crocodile to school! Her passion for scaly creatures and determination to learn more about them led her to become the Curator of Reptiles at the British Museum and design the Reptile House at the London Zoo.

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  • Whale in a Fishbowl

    by Troy Howell, illustrated by Richard Jones

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    Wednesday the whale lives in a fishbowl in the middle of a city. She longs for that tranquil bit of blue in the distance that she can see if she leaps high enough. A little girl tells her, “You belong in the sea,” which makes her start to wonder. One day, she takes a leap higher than ever before, which sets off a chain of events that bring her home.

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  • How to Solve a Problem

    by Ashima Shiraishi, illustrated by Yao Xiao

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    For rock climbers, a boulder is a problem that you need to solve. Ashima Shiraishi, one of the youngest and most skilled climbers in the world, uses her experiences in rock climbing to challenge readers to tackle their problems — and all of the twists, turns, and scrapes that go along with them.

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  • Shirley Chisholm Is a Verb

    by Veronica Chambers, illustrated by Rachelle Baker

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    This picture book highlights how Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman in Congress (who also made a presidential bid), was a woman of action. Young readers can follow her life from her early years to Congress and a presidential bid and see how her efforts continue to inspire people today.

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