The Best Perseverance Books for Kids of 2021

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Perseverance can be described as persistently completing something despite what obstacle is in your way or what delays you may face. In this post, we’ll detail the best perseverance books for kids.

Are you making sure that you are living a life filled with perseverance and teaching your child the same? Regardless of if you are doing it now, there are several books which can help your child do just that. Imagine watching someone struggle, and no matter how many times they fail, they keep trying until they get it. They are overcome with happiness as they are finally able to say they got it right.  If you want your child to feel that same happiness, the perseverance books in this list can aid them in adopting a growth mindset.  Keep reading for perseverance stories for students and young adults.

If you want to complement these books with growth mindset books, be sure to check out our reading list on those here.

Our Top Children's Book on Perseverance
Esperanza Rising (Scholastic Gold)
Our Top Perseverance Book for Children
Amazing Grace
Our Favorite Book with Resilience Themes
Rosie Revere, Engineer (The Questioneers)
Our Top Perseverance Book for Young Adults
It's Not Supposed to Be This Way Study Guide: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered
Book Title
Esperanza Rising
Amazing Grace
Rosie Revere Engineer
It's Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Children's Book on Perseverance
Esperanza Rising (Scholastic Gold)
Book Title
Esperanza Rising
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Perseverance Book for Children
Amazing Grace
Book Title
Amazing Grace
Prime Eligible?
Our Favorite Book with Resilience Themes
Rosie Revere, Engineer (The Questioneers)
Book Title
Rosie Revere Engineer
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Perseverance Book for Young Adults
It's Not Supposed to Be This Way Study Guide: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered
Book Title
It's Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered
Prime Eligible?

Last update: 2021-08-31

Award-Winning Children’s Books on Perseverance

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Esperanza has it all. She possesses a house filled with servants, beautiful clothing, and everything a girl her age could ask for. However, her life is flipped upside down when she and her mother must flee to farm camp(9 – 14 years old)

Esperanza Rising has won numerous awards and honors.  Some of these accolades include the Jane Addams Children's Book Award, ALA Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults and many more.  However, despite these awards, the selection makes this list for the constant themes of perseverance and determination for children, which Esperanza continuously learns and demonstrates as she begins her life after the fall from grace.

On Sale
Esperanza Rising (Scholastic Gold)
  • Scholastic
  • Ryan, Pam Muñoz (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-08-31


The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

The Most Magnificent Thing is the story of a little girl who is determined to make something magnificent. No matter how many times she fails, she ultimately doesn’t give up.  Though at one point she wants to quit, she doesn’t and keeps pressing on to make something magnificent which embodies what she envisioned. (3 – 7 years old)

Ashley Spires book has won several awards.  These awards include the ALA Notable Books for Children 2015, 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing 2014 and even NSTA Best STEM Books for Students K–12 in 2017. The little girl described in the book is just a regular kid who exemplifies determination for kids.  Despite her challenges, she sets her mind to something and will stop at nothing to complete it.

On Sale
The Most Magnificent Thing
  • Kids Can Press
  • Hardcover Book
  • Spires, Ashley (Author)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Recommended Perseverance Books for Children

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman

Grace is a beautiful, African American girl who loves books and movies. There is one thing that Grace wants more than anything, and that is to be in her school’s performance of Peter Pan.  However, Grace doesn’t just want any role; she wants to be Peter Pan.  Despite Grace having two things against her, being female and being black, she soon learns that she can be whatever she wants. (4 – 8 years old)

If Grace can be Peter Pan, you can be anything you want. This book is an inspiring story that teaches kids to go after their dreams and is one of many great perseverance stories for students.

Amazing Grace
  • Mary Hoffman (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 10/18/2021 (Publication Date) - Frances Lincoln (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

The Little Engine That Could is one of the most classic perseverance stories for students. It centers around a steam engine train that is used to bring gifts to children. However, one day, that train breaks down before it can deliver its’ goodies. After several trains pass it by, a small train finally offers to help.  As tiny as this little blue train is, she is also mighty and determined to make the deliveries. (3 – 7 years old)

The little blue train exemplifies the notion that no matter what obstacles may be in your way, even your size, you can do whatever you set your mind to.  You must believe in yourself and not give up.

On Sale
The Little Engine That Could (Original Classic Edition)
  • The story of the blue locomotive who exemplifies the power of positive thinking
  • Author: Watty Piper
  • 48 pages

Last update: 2021-08-31


Oh, The Places You'll Go! (Hardcover) by Dr. Seuss

Oh, The Places You’ll Go is a book centered around life’s journey. The narrator talks directly to you as if you are having a conversation.  We follow little “you” around as you navigate the world thru ups and downs. It is meant to be inspirational and let young readers know that no matter what anything is possible. (4 – 8 years old)

Dr. Seuss always does a great job giving us life lessons, and this book is no different. He sets out to let young readers know that you are in control of your life, and no matter what happens if you persevere through, you will do great things. The book is aimed at creating a sense of determination for kids.

Oh, the Places You'll Go!
  • Harper Collins Childrens Books
  • Dr Seuss (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-08-31


She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton & Alexandra Boiger

She Persisted is a book centered around 13 different women from all over the world.  All of these women made waves even when they were told that they couldn’t do something.  Though being female can be hard, they fought through the notion that they were too loud, too uneducated or just not good enough. They were then able to become the outstanding women we read about today. Some included women include Kate Sheppard and Caroline Herschel. (4 – 8 years old) 

She Persisted provides real-life examples of women who had to beat, at times, impossible odds to become the people we knew them as.  This New York Times Bestseller is excellent for any girl who thinks they aren’t big enough, smart enough, or even man enough.

On Sale
She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World
  • MELIA PUBLISHING SERVICES
  • Hardcover Book
  • Clinton, Chelsea (Author)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Recommended Books with Resilience Themes for Kids

Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty

Rosie longs to be an engineer.  At night when everyone else is sleeping, Rosie is creating.  She sees the beauty in typically unconventional things.  However, Rosie, like many of us, is afraid of failure.  Therefore, no one has seen any of the fantastic things that Rosie has made.  However, everything changes when Rosie the Riveter, Rosie’s aunt, visits her. (5 – 7 years old)

Rosie's story teaches little ones not to be afraid of failure and to embrace it instead and bounce back from it.   The only real failure is to quit prematurely.

On Sale
Rosie Revere, Engineer (The Questioneers)
  • Abrams Books for Young Readers
  • Hardcover Book
  • Beaty, Andrea (Author)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington by Jabari Asim & Bryan Collier

Booker T. Washington had all odds against him when he was born into slavery.  For many people in his situation, his fate would have already been decided for him, but not for Booker T. Washington.  After his emancipation from slavery, he traveled to Hampton Institute and began his journey to a college degree.  Years later he became the legend we know him as today. (5 – 8 years old)

Fifty Cents and a Dream embodies resilience and is one of the best perseverance stories for students.  It is safe to say that Booker T Washington faced obstacles you could never even imagine, but decades later, you know his name because of the fight he has inside of him.  This book is one of the best if you are looking for books with resilience themes or children’s books on perseverance.

On Sale
Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington
  • Hardcover Book
  • Asim, Jabari (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-08-31


After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) by Dan Santat

Everyone is familiar with the story of Humpty Dumpty and what happened after he fell however After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) brings us information on what happened after. Did you know that Humpty Dumpty loves watching birds and was doing just that before he fell? Now afraid of heights and afraid to fall again, Humpty is missing out on the thing he enjoys doing the most as well as living a healthy life.  He is the only one who can combat this fear and be the resilient Humpty we know he can be. (4 – 8 years old)   

This is a perfect example of how life events can alter how one may feel about an action or activity.  Though Humpty never anticipated falling, it changes his view of the world for the worse.  To once again become the happy Humpty he was, he must face his fears.

After the Fall
  • RHUK (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • RHUK (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

The Dot is the story of Vashti. Vashti dislikes her art class because, no matter what, she can’t draw.  However, her teacher invites expression through her words, “Just make a mark and see where it takes you.”.  Despite Vashit making an angry mark on her paper as proof that she is a terrible artist, this mark sets her up for a journey she may not have been prepared for. An adventure which centers around self-discovery and Vashti’s perseverance. (5 years old+)

The Dot is included in this list of the best perseverance books because Vashti’s experience is one that many children may share.  Though at first kids may dismiss things as being stupid or not for them, with continued effort their whole mindset can blossom and change. 

The Dot
  • WALKER BOOKS
  • Peter H. Reynolds (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Little Leaders; Bold Women in History by Vashti Harrison

Little Leaders is a beautifully illustrated collection of 40 influential African American women.  The book is structured in a way that provides an adorably illustrated photo with a small biography to accompany each woman. The women in these pages have faced impossible odds, and every little girl, especially little brown girls, should know about the impact they had made on the world.

This book is full of 40 different accounts of perseverance.  These women have faced racism, slavery, sexism, and more to become the illustrious women that we know and appreciate.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History
  • Harrison, Vashti (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 96 Pages - 01/31/2019 (Publication Date) - Puffin (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Recommended Perseverance Books for Young Adults

It's Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered by Lysa TerKeurst

When life doesn’t go your way, it’s easy to run and hide from the world.  Life can get stressful, and things often take a different picture than what you imagined it would.  Lysa’s book center’s around what to do when you are questioning your position in life and are doubtful of any hope for the future.  She uses her experiences as an example of how you can begin to see life through a bigger lens. (Young Adult+)

It's Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered is a part of this list because it proves that you can find strength in the most disappointing times and learn to use that to your advantage. If you are looking for beautiful nonfiction books with perseverance themes, this is a great one.

On Sale
It's Not Supposed to Be This Way Study Guide: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered
  • TerKeurst, Lysa (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 176 Pages - 11/20/2018 (Publication Date) - HarperChristian Resources (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Grit: The Power and Passion Of Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

Grit aims to get readers comfortable with the notion that success is not about genius or how much you already know, but instead about perseverance and how bad you want something. In doing so, Angela Duckworth uses the experiences of cadets, teachers, and even young finalist from the National Spelling Bee to prove her point. Grit focuses on how you can use the things that may run through your brain when you are down to fuel you to get back up.  (Young Adult+)

This life-changing book embodies what we hope you get from every book on this list: inspiration, motivation, and a push to keep moving forward despite what is attempting to drag you back.

On Sale
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
  • Duckworth, Angela (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 08/21/2018 (Publication Date) - Scribner (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Recommended Perseverance Fiction Stories for Students for Mid­dle Grade Readers

Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream by Deloris Jordan

Everyone knows Michael Jordan as a basketball superstar; however, before he was Michael Jordan, the superstar he was just a regular kid who loved basketball. Michael often felt he was too short and feared that he wouldn’t play professional basketball.  His parents, however, were not having any of the self-doubts, height was simply a physical trait that he had no control over.  If Michael wanted to be a star, it would take far more than long legs and a good jump shot.  This story is about hope and having the determination and faith to go after what you want. (4 – 8 years old)

Michael is known as a superstar to many generations of people; therefore, his story can resonate the loudest with people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. He is also a fantastic example of what happens when you are determined.

Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream
  • simon schuster
  • Jordan, Deloris (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-08-31


What Do Fish Have to Do with Anything? by Avi

What Do Fish Have to Do with Anything tells the story of seven different young people in their middle years.  These individuals include a girl who is haunted by her cat’s ghost and even a minister’s son who was deemed as “bad.”  However, throughout each story, the reader peels back the layers of the character to discover who they are and how they work to overcome their difficult situations (8-12 years old)

This book is an excellent read for middle school-age children as not merely a children’s book on perseverance but on seeing how different each person’s story is. The book includes a lot of hard topics that many children see and even experience regularly, like suicide, homelessness, divorce, and many more.

What Do Fish Have to Do With Anything?
  • Avi (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 03/08/2004 (Publication Date) - Candlewick (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Summary of the Best Perseverance Books for Kids

Putting everything together, in this guide we reviewed the following:

Our Top Children's Book on Perseverance
Esperanza Rising (Scholastic Gold)
Our Top Perseverance Book for Children
Amazing Grace
Our Favorite Book with Resilience Themes
Rosie Revere, Engineer (The Questioneers)
Our Top Perseverance Book for Young Adults
It's Not Supposed to Be This Way Study Guide: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered
Book Title
Esperanza Rising
Amazing Grace
Rosie Revere Engineer
It's Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Children's Book on Perseverance
Esperanza Rising (Scholastic Gold)
Book Title
Esperanza Rising
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Perseverance Book for Children
Amazing Grace
Book Title
Amazing Grace
Prime Eligible?
Our Favorite Book with Resilience Themes
Rosie Revere, Engineer (The Questioneers)
Book Title
Rosie Revere Engineer
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Perseverance Book for Young Adults
It's Not Supposed to Be This Way Study Guide: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered
Book Title
It's Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered
Prime Eligible?

Last update: 2021-08-31

Sometimes it can be hard to understand what your child is going through or what you are going through, but it’s important to remember that with determination and perseverance you can get through anything.  The books in this list of best perseverance books for kids are aimed at providing hope, not just when you don’t see any, but before you get to that point.  Teach yourself that it’s okay to fall and that although there will be obstacles, there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel.  The Little Engine that could is one of many famous short stories about perseverance and helps children to understand that no matter how small or different they may be, they can push through anything. Fifty Cents and a Dream teaches students that with utter strength and determination, you can beat the odds and get what you want.

Did you find this interesting? Check out our other reading lists here!

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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