Building resilience: 8 books to help kids face challenges

By The Understood Team

Want to help kids build resilience? This trait helps kids learn from setbacks and move forward. One way you can teach resilience is by using books. When kids read or hear stories of how others face challenges, they learn from seeing resilience in action.

To help you get started, we asked our Understood Teacher Fellows to share their favorite books about building resilience in children and teens. The teachers also included questions to help kids talk, write, or make drawings about the books.

Picture books about resilience

After the Fall, by Dan Santat

What it’s about: This picture book tells the story of how Humpty Dumpty faces his fear of heights after he falls off the wall. 

What it teaches about resilience: This book encourages readers to work step by step to overcome a fear. 

What you can talk about with kids: After Humpty fell off the wall, why did he decide not to climb it again? What made him change his mind? Have you ever been afraid to try something? Why? How did you face your fear? 

Recommended by Ashlee Upp, first-grade teacher

Lubna and Pebble, by Wendy Meddour

What it’s about: In this picture book, a little girl named Lubna lives in a refugee camp with her father. While they wait for their chance to move to a new home, Lubna finds comfort in a pebble. She gives it to a boy to help him feel less alone.

What it teaches about resilience: This book celebrates the power of care and resilience during difficult circumstances. 

What you can talk about with kids: How did the pebble help Lubna feel safe? Why did Lubna give away the pebble even though she loved it so much? What helps you when you’re scared or worried?

Recommended by Jessica Cisneros, instructional coach 

Trying, by Kobi Yamada 

What it’s about: In this picture book, a young man wants to try sculpting but is afraid to fail. An older sculptor shares his own failures — and how much he loves them. This inspires the young man to keep trying. 

What it teaches about resilience: Kids can see that it’s OK for things not to be perfect. Failure is not failure when you learn from it. 

What you can talk about with kids: What is something you tried to do but failed? Did you keep trying or give up? What can we do to help each other keep trying?

Recommended by Brian Smith, kindergarten teacher

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