These books help children learn to develop their talents and persevere

Developing a growth mindset is crucial, as it helps children learn to be responsible and proactive. With a growth mindset, children begin to understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through determination and tenacity. Whether it is learning to take care of their toys, feeding a pet regularly, persevering through a difficult challenge — it’s never too early for children to learn responsibility.

These life skills empower children to face adversity or challenges they may encounter in school, in sports, and as adults in the workplace.

Here are some humorous but meaningful stories that share important life lessons about responsibility, courage, and perseverance.

Love is

Love is

By Diane Adams

Chronicle Books, 2017

Age 3 and up

Children’s earliest experiences with the emotion of love come from their parents or caregivers; however, love in action is learned through doing. Having a pet as a child is one of the first lessons in love and responsibility. There is feeding, bathing, nurturing, caring, and even tolerating some frustrating moments at times.

In this poignant story of a little girl caring for and raising her duckling into a fully grown duck, children can see the journey of love through time. They can see the joys, the work, the struggles, and even the “letting go.” In this simple story, so many lessons on love are displayed for young children to begin to grasp that “Love is” so many things beyond a feeling!

rosie revere

Rosie Revere, Engineer

By Andrea Beaty

Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2013

Age 5 and up

“The only true failure can come if you quit” is the theme of this adorable children’s book about perseverance. Meet Rosie, a young girl who loves to build things using recycled items she finds in the trash or just lying around. After a profound disappointment, Rosie shies away from sharing her inventions for fear of failure and rejection.

After her spirited great aunt Rose comes to visit Rosie, she’s inspired once again to create something special just for her. Rosie sees her invention flop and once again feels the overwhelming emotion of failure. After a good laugh, a pep talk, and her great aunt’s assistance, Rosie finds the courage to begin again. She learns that failing is part of success and the real failure is in not trying.

how to catch a star

How To Catch a Star

By Oliver Jeffers

Philomel Books, 2001

Age 3 and up

What child hasn’t looked up at the stars and wondered if he or she can “reach for the stars.” In this charming story of a young boy mesmerized by the stars, you’ll learn strategy and perseverance. Turning his dream into a plan, he makes many attempts to reach for the stars. After a series of disappointments, he’s saddened but doesn’t give up completely.

While on a lonely walk home on the beach, he sees a falling star in the distance and soon after, a “star” washing up along the shoreline. Although, it’s really a starfish, the young boy sees the star and claims it as his own and learns that with patience and perseverance, he can get his star.

super bat


By Matt Carr

Scholastic Press, 2017

Age 3 and up

Have you ever felt special and just knew you were destined for more? Pat the bat is a special bat who believes that he is a superhero inside! When he shares his epiphany with his other bat friends, he’s reminded that all bats have those special powers of super hearing, echolocation, and being able to fly. Just as Pat begins to feel discouraged, his super hearing hones in on a tiny mouse family in danger. He doesn’t hesitate a second and flies to their rescue. Pat saves the mice from a big cat and when his friends see this courageous action, they remind him he does in fact have a superpower—courage.

Combined with pertinent bat facts and an easy-to-comprehend story about the meaning of courage, this picture book will be a favorite for any budding bat enthusiast.

how to be a boat

How It Feels To Be a Boat: Through Smooth and Stormy Seas!

By James Kwan

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017

Age 5 and up

“You are a boat! Remember you are strong…” This brilliant picture book uses a metaphor and allows a child to envision he or she is a boat riding the seas of life. Inside the boat are the things a child loves: superheroes, toys, music, playing — life in general. All is well until little things begin to go wrong, such as arguments, worry, illness — all of which are portrayed inside of the boat. Then there is a crash, and piece by broken piece, the boat is put back together. It perseveres, and all is at peace once again.

amazing grace

Amazing Grace

By Mary Hoffman

Dial Books for Young Readers, 1991

Age 5 and up

Meet Grace, a young African-American girl who loves to listen to stories and reenact them, too. Grace takes her enthusiasm to school and upon finding out that auditions will be held for the play “Peter Pan,” she prepares to audition for the starring role. Grace comes home disappointed after a few classmates remind her that Peter Pan is a boy and most especially, he’s not African-American.

Grace’s family encourages and empowers her to overcome stereotypes and hurtful disappointments and persevere in following her goal of starring in the play. Grace gets the part and learns that with love, courage, and her family’s support, she can be anything she sets her mind to.

little engine

The Little Engine That Could

Retold by Watty Piper

Platt & Mink Publishers, 1976

Age 3 and up

This list of books encouraging a growth mindset would not be complete without the classic story “The Little Engine That Could.” This is a retelling of the story of the Little Blue Engine, which had never been over that huge mountain, let alone pulled so many others along with it. Still, it wanted desperately to help those in need and be a hero. With optimism and a bit of fear, the Little Blue Engine tackled this task with a can-do attitude. Read along and chant, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.”

Dawn Guest is a library assistant at the Fort Worth Library.