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#LiteracyFun: 10 Children’s Books to Spark Conversations about Perseverance

The following are beautifully written and illustrated books that offer lessons about perseverance and why staying with a goal, despite challenges or setbacks, can be so very gratifying.

Salt in His Shoes by Deloris Jordan, Roslyn M. Jordan, et al.
As a child, Michael almost gave up on his hoop dreams, all because he feared he’d never grow tall enough to play the game that would one day make him famous. That’s when his mother and father stepped in and shared the invaluable lesson of what really goes into the making of a champion — patience, determination, and hard work.

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires (Author & Illustrator)
A charming picture book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. The girl has a wonderful idea. “She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing!” But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, the girl gets really, really mad. For the early grades’ exploration of character education, this funny book offers a perfect example of the rewards of perseverance and creativity.

Flight School by Lita Judge (Author & Illustrator)
A persevering penguin is determined to fly in this adorably inspiring picture book.  Although little Penguin has the soul of an eagle, his body wasn’t built to soar. But Penguin has an irrepressible spirit, and he adamantly follows his dreams to flip, flap, fly! Even if he needs a little help with the technical parts, this penguin is ready to live on the wind.

Image result for Flight School by Lita Judge (Author & Illustrator)

Luigi and the Barefoot Races by Dan Paley (Author) & Aaron Boyd (Illustrator)
On Regent Street in Philadelphia, stories are still told of Luigi, who could run faster than anybody and never lost a race on those long-ago summer evenings when neighbors would gather on front stoops to watch. They say Luigi always ran barefoot. And they speak of his greatest challenge—the race nobody thought he could win, not even Luigi himself.

A Chair for My Mother by Vera B Williams
This classic and award-winning picture book was written and illustrated by the celebrated Vera B. Williams and was named a Caldecott Honor Book by the American Library Association. Though a simple book, it is tender and filled with vitality, spontaneity, and depth of feeling.  After their home is destroyed by a fire, Rosa, her mother, and grandmother save their coins to buy a really comfortable chair for all to enjoy.


Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman (Author) & Caroline Binch (Illustrator)
Grace loves to act out stories. Sometimes she plays the leading part, sometimes she is a cast of thousands. When her school decides to perform Peter Pan, Grace is longing to play Peter, but her classmates say that Peter was a boy, and he wasn’t black.  In the end, Grace learns that staying true to her dream – despite what others think or believe – pays off.

Brave Irene by William Steig (Author & Illustrator)
Brave Irene is Irene Bobbin, the dressmaker’s daughter. Her mother, Mrs. Bobbin, isn’t feeling so well and can’t possibly deliver the beautiful ball gown she’s made for the duchess to wear that very evening. So plucky Irene volunteers to get the gown to the palace on time, in spite of the fierce snowstorm that’s brewing– quite an errand for a little girl.  But where there’s a will, there’s a way, as Irene proves in the danger-fraught adventure that follows. She must defy the wiles of the wicked wind, her most formidable opponent, and overcome many obstacles before she completes her mission.

The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock (Author) & Mary GrandPre (Illustrator)
Vasya Kandinsky was a proper little boy: he studied math and history, he practiced the piano, he sat up straight and was perfectly polite. And when his family sent him to art classes, they expected him to paint pretty houses and flowers—like a proper artist .But as Vasya opened his paint box and began mixing the reds, the yellows, the blues, he heard a strange sound—the swirling colors trilled like an orchestra tuning up for a symphony! And as he grew older, he continued to hear brilliant colors singing and see vibrant sounds dancing. But was Vasya brave enough to put aside his proper still lifes and portraits and paint . . . music?

You Can Do It Bert! by Ole Konnecke (Author)
In this simple story, Bert, a bird, is a little nervous to jump off of a branch into the water below. He contemplates what he’s doing and finally takes a leap, to find that what at first appeared scary wasn’t so bad after all.

How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers (Author & Illustrator)
There once was a boy who loved stars so much that he wished he had one of his very own. Every night he watched the stars in the sky from his bedroom window and dreamed of how he could be their friend and how they could play hide-and-go-seek together. So, one day, he decided to set about catching a star of his very own…