I’m positive that kids get tired of hearing – “things are different than when I was a kid” . . . but they are! In my opinion, children face different social pressures, cyber bullying, and have to watch out for “drugs” in all forms – (don’t eat the Tide Pods!) There are academic and athletic pressures to succeed, with fierce competition that could push someone to work harder – but also cause unhealthy stress. As a parent, we sit back and support our children, LISTEN, and guide them as we allow them to make mistakes in order to learn. The most important lesson to learn after failure is how to pick yourself up and keep going. How to we teach perseverance?
Some think that picture books are only for small children – nope! Even adults can benefit from picture books and the subtle lessons they tuck between the beautiful illustrations. The trick of a good author is to provide a great story with the lesson hidden inside without throwing it in your face. I’ve included a list of books as examples that demonstrate perseverance. Reading these with your child, having your teenager read them for fun, or giving one to a friend who needs a boost may give a gentle push of encouragement in a unique way.
FLIGHT SCHOOL – by Lita Judge
A penguin with the soul of an eagle is determined to fly. With perseverance and a little help from his friends at flight school, Penguin flips, flaps, flies to follow his dreams.
AMAZING GRACE – by Mary Hoffman
Grace enjoys reading and acting out her favorite characters. When the school chooses the play Peter Pan, Grace knows exactly the part she wants to play. When teased by her peers and told that Peter Pan is not a girl nor black, Grace does not stop and perseveres to follow her dream. A message that there are no rules – be true to yourself and be whoever you want to be.
THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING by Ashley Spires
A fantastic book for young, imaginative thinkers who love to experiment. The young girl plans to build the most magnificent thing. With her sidekick (dog) she encounters setbacks and almost gives up, but then approaches her invention with a new outlook and success. A great story of how sometimes failure is necessary to achieve your goal.
SALT IN HIS SHOES – by Delores Jordon and Roslyn Jordon
Michael Jordon wasn’t always a fantastic basketball player. In this picture book written by Michael Jordon’s mother and sister, it tells the story of young Michael’s frustration because he is shorter than everyone else on his team. His mother suggests that he put salt in his shoes and say a prayer to help him grow. After months of playing, but not getting any taller, Michael discovers that determination, practice, and hard work made him a better basketball player.
BRAVE IRENE – by William Steig
Irene must deliver an important gown to the duchess, but she faces a snowstorm and great adversity. She fights her way and delivers the package, and she is showered with food and appreciation for her perseverance.
A CHAIR FOR MY MOTHER – by Vera B. Williams
Rosa’s family lost everything in a fire. Generous neighbors donated furniture, but they needed a comfortable easy chair for her mother to relax in after a long day of work. Rosa’s family patiently saved their coins in a jar and when it was filled, they bought the perfect chair for mom. A story about determination, respect, and family.
THE CURIOUS GARDEN by Peter Brown
A young boy wants to brighten his world with green plants. He works hard to grow a lush, green garden only to have it destroyed by winter weather. With determination and the help of friends, he rebuilds and regrows his garden to beautify his world.
HENRY’S FREEDOM BOX by Ellen Levine
Henry does not know his age because nobody keeps track of slave’s birthdays. As a child, he was taken from his family, and then as a grown man, his family is taken from him. Forced to work in a warehouse, he knows what he must do to escape: he mails himself in a wooden crate to the North – and to freedom. A true story of a young man’s determination to be free.
I hope you enjoyed this small list of picture books that may encourage autonomy and perseverance in our children.
Happy Holidays! From Pat
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SAVING THE WORLD is available on Amazon or Barnes and Nobles website – if ordering on Amazon make sure to click on “other options” on pricing – the book is $12.49 but other sellers are listed…. UGH. If you want or need a copy before Christmas and shipping is delayed- please email me because I have copies on hand! (12.49 + tax)
The sequel RETURN TO GRYMBALLIA will be off to the printers next week! yay!!!