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Growing Reader

Books That Teach Patience for 6- to 8-Year-Olds

by Jennifer Garry

kids-books-patience
Photo credit: JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

“Just a sec.”

“Five more minutes.”

“Hold on!”

How many times have we uttered these words as parents and caregivers? And how many times have we been met with groans, eye rolls, tantrums, or all of the above? Patience is something that even the most Zen adults struggle with from time to time, so it should be no surprise that kids have a tough time with it, too.

If you’re looking to have a big talk (or even a tiny talk) about patience, these 10 kids’ books are a great place to start.

  • Fairy Mom and Me #2: Fairy In Waiting

    by Sophie Kinsella, illustrated by Marta Kissi

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    Growing readers will adore this feel-good story about a young fairy who’s impatient to grow up. Ella is tired of being a fairy in waiting. She wants to be a full-fledged fairy with real magic, like her mom. But Ella soon learns that being little has its advantages, and magic doesn’t solve every problem.

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  • Finding François

    by Gus Gordon

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    With instant messaging and modern technology, it’s easy to forget the simple pleasure of writing and waiting on old-fashioned letters. A little pig named Alice is lonely, so she does the only thing she can think of — place a note in a bottle and toss it into the river. This unlikely tactic works, and she strikes up a long-distance friendship with a dog named François. This lovely tale of friendship and patience will steal your heart.

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  • Wait a Minute

    by Dori Chaconas, illustrated by Lisa McCue

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    Fuzz and Cork are two very different friends. Cork is a muskrat who is good at waiting for lots of things: for spring, for lunch, and for Fuzz to wake up. Fuzz is a possum who doesn’t like to wait for a single thing. Even though one is patient and one is impulsive, they are best friends. This story follows their adventure chasing a yellow balloon.

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  • The Paper Kingdom

    by Helena Ku Rhee, illustrated by Pascal Campion

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    When Daniel’s Auntie can’t come to babysit, the sleepy boy has to wake up and go with his parents to their job as nighttime office cleaners. While being woken up and dragged to work might leave any kid bored, frustrated, and angry, a little bit of magical storytelling from Daniel’s parents helps transform the empty office into a magical paper kingdom with dragons and kings. This joyful book shows how a little imagination can make being patient much more manageable.

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  • Waiting for the Biblioburro / Esperando el Biblioburro

    by Monica Brown, illustrated by John Parra, translated by Adriana Dominguez

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    Ana loves to read. When she wakes up one morning, she is thrilled to discover a traveling librarian who brings books on the backs of his donkeys to villages like hers. But waiting between visits is not easy. Luckily, Ana finds a way to make it more manageable. Based on the true story of a man in Columbia, this bilingual edition is in English and Spanish.

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  • Tad Lincoln’s Restless Wriggle

    by Beth Anderson, illustrated by S.D. Schindler

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    One of the best ways parents can teach children about patience is through example. As a boy, Tad Lincoln was restless and wiggly, but that didn’t bother his father, Abraham Lincoln. During the Civil War, Tad accompanied his father to visit people all day and night. His father’s endless patience allowed Tad to share his kindness, generosity, and energy with others.

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  • Owl Moon

    by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr

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    A little girl has waited a long time to go owling with her father. As they walk through the forest, he hoots to call for the owls. Yolen’s lyrical text combine with Schoenherr’s dreamlike illustrations to highlight a quiet ritual, one in which practicing patience is rewarded by a magical experience with nature.

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  • Sophie's Squash

    by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf

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    When Sophie gets a squash at the farmers' market, she doesn’t want to eat it. Instead, she names it Bernice, and the two become best friends. But when Bernice gets mushy and starts to rot, Sophie plants her and has to wait all fall and winter to see what happens. It’s the perfect story for kids who are anxiously waiting for a garden to bloom.

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  • Five Minutes

    by Audrey Vernick and Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Olivier Tallec

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    Five minutes sometimes feels like an eternity, and sometimes, it feels like the blink of an eye. This silly book follows a little boy and his family through a hectic day. Depending on whether he’s waiting in a long line or checking out animals at the pet store, he learns that perspective changes how long five minutes can feel. With hilarious illustrations, this book is excellent for a one-on-one read. It can serve as a humorous jumping-off point for conversations about patience and living in the moment.

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  • Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake

    by Michael Kaplan, illustrated by Stephane Jorisch

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    After trying chocolate cake for the first time, Betty Bunny falls in love. She loves it so much that she wants to eat it all the time — but Mother says she has to eat dinner first. When Betty Bunny tries to jump straight to dessert, she ends up having to wait even longer. With great big emotions wrapped around a desire most kids can understand, this book is the perfect primer on patience.

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  • "Slowly, Slowly, Slowly," said the Sloth

    by Eric Carle

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    If there’s any animal that can teach us a thing or two about living in the moment and enjoying a slower pace, it’s the sloth. The sloth does everything slowly, slowly, slowly, and the other animals can’t understand why he’s so quiet, boring, and lazy. But he just likes the peace. This colorful story is the perfect antidote to a go-go-go, do-do-do attitude.

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