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Best Children’s Books For Learning About Determination

Determination is always needed when we’re inevitably facing challenges in our adult lives – prep your kids to use it too!

Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

It’s easy nowadays to shield your child from difficulties and dangers. And while that’s definitely a good thing, it’s also important to incorporate learning about determination in their development.
Determination is what keeps us from giving up after failing once; unfortunately we fail quite often and have to pick ourselves up every time.

These books provide a strong tolerance to failure and encourage kids to persist and keep going towards greatness – in these stories and in real life – it pays off!

#1 The Three Boxes – Tales of Shakespuss

The Three Boxes - Tales of Shakespuss
This book for the very young, presents one of the storylines within the Shakespeare play: The Merchant of Venice. Albeit a fun and simple way of introducing Shakespeare to children using the device of an amiable cat, purportedly Shakespeare’s cat, the central element of the play depicted within the book is the moralistic aspect, the key phrase being ‘All that Glitters is not Gold’, a lesson in itself, but teaching a greater understanding of not jumping at the first and most obvious choice, but winning through with a more simple and sensible way forward.

As with all of the books in the series, entertainment, whilst furthering a child’s education is a key factor, and the many different animals all contribute to this, taking away any fears that a child may have later in life when encountering Shakespeare in school.

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#2 The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
I’ve been reading The Little Engine That Could to my daughter since she was born. The bright pictures make it exciting for babies and the story is captivating for older kids. The message to keep trying until you succeed is so important for children to learn. This book is a favorite both kids and parents will love.

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#3 Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave by Jessica Hische

Tomorrow I'll Be Brave by Jessica Hische
Tomorrow I’ll be Brave is the perfect book for developing self-confidence in children. “The illustrations throughout are breathtaking, and the message of perseverance is both encouraging and comforting. Hische combines playful rhyming, adorable characters, and the ever-important lesson of trying again tomorrow in this book that’s perfect for bedtime reading or anytime your little one is feeling down.

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#4 Lady Lucy’s Ghost Quest by Karen Gross

Lady Lucy’s Ghost Quest by Karen Gross
Lady Lucy’s Ghost Quest is the 4th book in the Lady Lucy’s series about a multi-racial heroine who becomes a knight in the Middle Ages. In this beautifully illustrated sequel, Lady Lucy and her friends Dillon (the dragon) and Tapestry (the unicorn) travel all the way from England to Vermont to save a vacated but spectacular mansion occupied by ghosts. In a story filled with charm, humor and excitement, Lady Lucy demonstrates yet again the power of the possible, the capacity to find creative solutions to difficult situations and the recognition that what we fear might not be so dangerous after all. Join her and her friends on this amazing new Quest. You won’t be disappointed.

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#5 The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett
A touching, wordless picture book about a little girl, a shiny bicycle and the meaning of persistence with an expected payoff. A little girl passes by a store and sees this bicycle that she wants but doesn’t have enough money to purchase it. She asks all her neighbors to help her but ends up working for this old woman. When she had enough money, the girl went back to the store but the bicycle was gone. What happens next shows the reward of hard work and true generosity. A book of surprises,and a book that shows the meaning of determination. Highly recommend…

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#6 The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
This is one of my most favourite picture books – a story about perseverance and keeping a cool head. I have read it to my own kids over and over again. The author totally nailed the frustrations of being a perfectionist. As I read, I hoped for that moment when we fall into a puddle of tears, convinced we just.can’t do. it. It is always from there that success comes calling! The author did not disappoint! The illustrations are delightfully whimsical and successfully work together with the text, great book for kids.

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#7 Oh, the A**holes You’ll Meet By Shwa Laytart

Oh, the A**holes You'll Meet By Shwa Laytart
Oh, the A**holes You’ll Meet! : A Comic Book Poetry-Guide to Life will make you giggle, nod your head and have you mumbling, mmhmm, as you read through each page. Do you have a relentless A**hole in your life? Or do you want to guide someone special in your life from becoming an A**hole? The author, Shwa Laytart, originally wrote this poem for his daughter in High School as a witty lighthearted guide for navigating the many characters in the world. Alongside the poetic story, this 28-page book includes full-page color illustrations by a graffiti artist that takes you on a visual journey. Published by Avantpop Books. We can all go there, to that ugly extreme but avoid it if you can and happier you will be.

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#8 Bartlett and the Ice Voyage by Odo Hirsch

Bartlett and the Ice Voyage by Odo Hirsch
In this charming book full of heart is an adventure story about the determination to do your best no matter what. Bartlett and his fellow explorer, Jaques le Grand are tasked to bring a rare melidrop to a precocious Queen. Against the odds, they push through despite many challenges and they pick up a young new explorer along the way called Gozo. Perseverance, Inventiveness, and Desperation! These are the three attributes imparted to the younger ones who read this book. By the end of this book, even my 5-year-old twins knew what it means to persevere; keep trying your best.

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#9 Pop!: The Invention of Bubble Gum by Meghan McCarthy

Pop!: The Invention of Bubble Gum by Meghan McCarthy
This adorable true story of how bubble gum came to be is a great example of determination to find just the right recipe to make Double Bubble. Great for kids in grades 1-4 with cute illustrations and amazing fun facts.

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#10 Snap! By Hazel Hutchins

Snap! By Hazel Hutchins
This book follows a young boy named Evan as he uses his determination and imagination to create beautiful works of art. When one of his crayons breaks, Evan decides to push through his disappointment and find new ways to use the crayon, instead of just giving up. The story is not only a great reminder about the importance of working through disappointment, but also inspires kids to look at things differently. The illustrations are full of beautiful colors and creative uses for the less than perfect crayons in the box.

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#11 Echo by Emily Fontana

Echo by Emily Fontana
Echo is a heartwarming tale inspired by true events. In this feel-good adventure, a wish born in the heart of a non-verbal boy with autism to find his missing dog spreads to greater and greater circles of community, leaving the reader spellbound by the extraordinary story of a dog, a boy, and the town that loves them both. Echo is both uplifting and suspenseful, with a message of inclusion and community support that is wonderful expression about autism awareness, service dogs, and the simple yet powerful message of love

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#12 Doc, Willie, and the Pack: Secrets, Gifts, Family by Linda Harkey

Doc, Willie, and the Pack: Secrets, Gifts, Family by Linda Harkey
Doc, Willie and the Pack: Secrets, Gifts, Family is a continuation of the growing Hickory Doc’s Tales series. Readers of the series will encounter familiar faces from previous books as they follow Willie the Crow while he makes an effort to join the pack inside the house where they enjoy their dog chow. Willie’s hilarious attempts to gain access to the house will charm young readers and create a conversation about the importance of inclusion. As Willie attempts to gain the pack’s acceptance, it is discovered that he has a secret connection with the human they call food giver. What is Willie’s secret? Can Willie convince the pack that he is part of their family? Readers will be eager to discover the answers in this perfect addition to the series that takes them right back to the beautiful landscapes of the Lazy Dog Hacienda.

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#13 Animals You’ll Learn to Love by Benessa Harrison

Animals You'll Learn to Love by Benessa Harrison
This charming children’s book presents the stories of a couple of house pets and their lives with their loving owners. In the first story, readers meet a young girl named Lynn who finds an affectionate puppy she names Bully. After convincing her parents she is responsible enough to take care of Bully, it marks the beginning of a wonderful relationship between the two. In the second story of the book, readers follow housecat Thumbelina who adores her owner but longs for an adventure outdoors. Young readers will enjoy the beautifully illustrated stories presented in the book as they learn more about the importance of taking care of animals.

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#14 Undersea Adventures of Olli and Friends by Renate Schalk Schreiner

Undersea Adventures of Olli and Friends by Renate Schalk Schreiner
Olli, the young octopus, is a curious and smart creature living in the ocean. He is always looking for adventures and meeting new friends.. His classmates, the guppies, are usually hanging out with him. They get invited to King Neptune’s party for their teacher, a mermaid. They meet a hungry shark and help Olli find a new home. They have a silly day, a trip into the abyss; meet humans, a stingray and many more interesting underwater animals. One important task for them and their teacher is their help to clean up the ocean, a small group accomplishing a large task to free their underwater home from the litter in it. The rhyming stories are most entertaining with a few sprinkles of actual facts woven into them. The splendid illustrations will bring it all to life and soon Olli finds his way into everyone’s heart.

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#15 Tebow Tails: Parker’s Pride by Tracey Sullivan

Tebow Tails: Parker's Pride by Tracey Sullivan
It’s the day before the Fourth of July and there’s a big party brewing over on Dog Bone Island. Parker, the pelican, invites Tebow, the boxer, and his friends from Barkington Bluffs for a sleepover to celebrate this special day. While gathered at the campsite, Oscar, the owl, teaches everyone about the history of the American flag and why America’s birthday is celebrated on the Fourth of July. One in a series, this picture book teaches children about the origins of the American flag and are encouraged to display it with pride. Tebow Tails shares important historical lessons as well as a strong message about patriotism, belonging, and friendship.

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#16 Caleb and Shallow by Susan Troutt

Caleb and Shallow by Susan Troutt
Caleb and Shallow, a heartwarming story for anyone who has ever owned a dog or wanted one, tells of the trusting friendship and unconditional love between a boy and his dog. Shallow prides himself on being the boss, which turns out to be his downfall. Twelve-year-old Caleb, who has persevered through trials of his own, rescues Shallow from near death and nurses him back to health. But Caleb’s troubles are just beginning, and they are all because of his new best friend, Shallow

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#17 Bug Dance (MathStart 1) by Stuart J. Murphy

Bug Dance (MathStart 1) by Stuart J. Murphy
Bug Dance by Stuart J. Murphy with illustrations by Christopher Santaro. In this book, a gym class of bugs learn a new dance that Centipede finds hard to do. Despite bullying and failure, he doesn’t give up and eventually he masters the dance.

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#18 McDuff Moves In by Rosemary Wells

McDuff Moves In by Rosemary Wells
McDuff Moves In by Rosemary Wells with illustrations by Susan Jeffers. A little white dog on his way to the pound finds himself free and in a strange neighborhood. He faces rejection, danger and the elements to find exactly what he needs — a loving home.

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#19 Imani’s Moon by Janay Brown-Wood

Imani's Moon by Janay Brown-Wood
Imani’s Moon by JaNay Brown-Wood with illustrations by Hazel Mitchell. Imani is the smallest child in her village and she is the subject of bullying and doubt by all save her mother. Imani decides to find a way to get to the moon and does so despite failure and disappointment.

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#20 Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton

Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton
Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton. Katy is a strong and beautiful tractor who is not put off by hard work. When her town experiences a heavy snow storm, Katy’s drive and work ethic saves the day.

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#21 Mama Lion Wins the Race by Jon J Muth

Mama Lion Wins the Race by Jon J Muth
Mama Lion Wins the Race by Jon J. Muth. Mama Lion and Tigey enter a car race and things look good until they have an accident. Through friendship and determination they win the race, but not exactly in a way that might be expected.

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Contributors to this article
Lynda Owen from Shakespuss & Co Ltd

Erin Werley from Erinwerley

Leslie Kiel from USInsuranceAgents

Sharon Farnell from Finn Partners

Stefanie Lesser from Hope & Love Radio

Scott Watson from Wickfree Candles

Sugar Laytart from Avantpop Books

Hila Willing from SaturdayNightStitch

Adina Mahalli from Maple Holistics

Vicki Wilkinson from Babies to Bookworms

Courtney Vasquez from Lavidge

Professor E.A. Burlingame from A Taste of Anthropology

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