Children’s books about building resilience

Looking for books about building resilience in children? Not sure where to start? What is resilience? Why is it important for children to be resilient and develop emotional resilience? You have come to the right place.

Resilience means being able to overcome difficulties quickly.

Have you ever found a subject tricky? Or know someone who has found it difficult to cope with the ups and downs of life? Did you want to give up? But instead you kept going?

However, as children grow they need to be taught how to be resilient. It doesn’t always come naturally to them. What better way than through high quality picture books? Keep scrolling for my recommended reads.

Children’s books for building resilience

After the Fall picture book by Dan Santat, Caldecott Medal Winner.
Image of a tall wall with lights spelling out After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back up Again). An image of happy Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall with binoculars.
After the Fall, How Humpty Dumpty Got Back up Again by Dan Stantat

Firstly, most children are familiar with the story of Humpty Dumpty. But what happened to him after his fall? We all know how the nursery rhyme ended. However, this story focusses on how he got back up. Even though Humpty Dumpty could have accepted his fate, he did not! Was he scared? Of course! Did he let his fear govern him? No! You can use this story to teach children to be resilient.

For example, here are some questions you might like to ask them:

  1. What happened to Humpty Dumpty?
  2. How did Humpty Dumpty get back on the wall?
  3. How do you think Humpty Dumpty felt after his fall?
  4. What would happen if Humpty Dumpty did not get back up on the wall?
The Dot by Peter H Reynolds.
Picture book with a little girl painting a huge dot with a paintbrush and a pot of paint.
The Dot by Peter H Reynolds

Secondly, ‘The Dot’ by Peter H Reynolds is another great choice. Vashti thinks she can’t draw. So, at the end of her art lesson her page is blank. Her teacher thinks differently. So with her help and support Vashti’s self-belief flourishes. A story about building resilience and where it can lead you. As a former teacher, this would be a useful addition to your bookshelves.

Questions to ask:

  1. Why does Vashti think she can’t draw?
  2. How does her teacher help her to see things differently?
  3. What would happen if Vashti had given up?
  4. How was Vashti able to help others to become resilient?
The Girl on who walked to the moon by Tessa Yates. A little girl with an astronaut costume standing between some trees and staring at the moon.
The girl who walked to the moon by Tessa Yates

The Girl who Walked to the Moon is a truly beautiful story, with an important message. Little Tessa dreams of being the first girl to land on the moon. So, after trying to build her own rocket from boxes and not succeeding, she sets off. Determined that she will find out what she needs to get to the moon. She travels far and wide. To different countries and meets different people. But will Little Tessa have what it takes to make her dreams come true?

Certainly, this is a story about self-belief and the importance of building resilience. So is the story behind the book. Tessa Yates, wrote this book to remind herself that she can do anything if she believes in herself. Indeed, two successful Kickstarter campaigns later, she has set up The Happy Book Company and successfully released two books.

So, if you haven’t already, be sure to get hold of a copy.

Questions to ask:

  1. What did Little Tessa need to make her dreams come true?
  2. How did others help Little Tessa?
  3. What would have happened if Little Tessa thought she could not follow her dreams?
The Hugging Tree. A little tree that is hanging off a cliff and a little boy touching it's branches.
The Hugging Tree by Jill Neimark, illustrated by Nicole Wong

The last book I am going to focus on today is ‘The Hugging Tree’ by Jill Neimark. As you can see, there is a little tree which is hanging at the edge of a cliff. That tree is all alone. It faces storms and is battered by the elements. But the tree clings on. Until one day a little boy comes along and everything changes. Indeed, from a lonely existence the life of the tree changes completely.

Questions to ask:

  1. What can this story teach us about resilience?
  2. How is the tree resilient? What would happen if the tree was not resilient?
  3. What difference does the little boy make to the life of the tree?

Why use picture books to build resilience?

Throughout my teaching career, I have found that stories are a wonderful way to talk about tricky topics with children. Rather than comparing children to others they know (which can be damaging) it is a gentle way in. Above all else, you have the joy of reading and learning at the same time. So, what is there not to like?

Want to read more?

I post picture book recommendations every Tuesday (to discuss tricky topics.) Please subscribe and follow me on social media. Also, check out some of my other posts here.

Do you have another recommendation?

Have you read my article but think I have missed a must read about resilience (comment below)?

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