We’ve had the worst year in our history due to our mold toxicity. It’s been awful. At the same time, the awful has provided us with opportunities to dig deep and find our strength. That’s because we’re using our growth mindset (as well as our faith.) The idea of growth mindset isn’t that life is rainbows and unicorns but that when things get tough, we keep going. When we fall down, we get back up. And that we can work to make things better.
Maybe you have this same philosophy. You can encourage your kids (and yourself) to persist in a growth mindset with the following inspiring picture book stories. (Download this printable list here.)
Also, my list of growth mindset biographies is here. After all, most people who have done anything worthy of biography have this determined mindset, right? Read those, too. They are inspirational.
Growth Mindset Picture Books
The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi, illustrated by Lorena Alvarez
This story reminds children that just because they can’t do something, it’s not forever — it’s not YET. The magical yet means that you’ll start to see the possibilities in the future. Yet doesn’t mind mistakes or do-overs. With patience and an open mind to the magical yet, you can get where you want to be.
Jabari Tries by Gaia Cornwall
Jabari is making a flying machine today all by himself with his little sister Nika. When his flying machine crashes and he feels mad and sad, Jabari’s dad gives him good advice: “When I’m frustrated, I gather up all my patience, take a deep breath, and blow away all the mixed feelings inside.” That helps Jabari feel better. He and Nika try again. And, they get the machine to fly high! He and Nika are great engineers! This wonderful STEM story models emotional intelligence and growth mindset.
The Little Butterfly That Could by Ross Burach
A distressed butterfly gets lost from her migrating group. She talks with a whale about her fears and resistance. The whale encourages the reluctant butterfly to find its gumption and courage, kicking it out of his stomach and telling it to keep trying. It’s funny, emotional, and relatable — all narrated in dialogue bubbles. I ADORE witnessing this cute little creature’s adventures and valuable life lessons and know you will, too.
Molly’s Moon Mission by Duncan Beedie
Preschoolers will love this exciting adventure of a moth who wants to fly to the moon. Even when everyone tells her it’s impossible, Molly persists. She gets higher and higher and finally achieves her mission. Darling.
The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken
“It started // with a mistake.” The artist draws one eye too big. But adding glasses makes it look better. The artist draws elbows and a neck –that are too long. Even still, the artist adds a ruffled collar and elbow patches to make it work. Mistake after mistake makes the girl who she is. (And is a good example of a growth mindset.) Lots of white space makes Luyken’s exquisite artwork pop.
Catch That Chicken! by Atinuke, illustrated by Angela Brooksbank
While other kids might be speedy at spelling or braiding hair, Lami is the speediest, bravest chicken catcher. One day, she runs too fast up a baobab tree and falls down, spraining her ankle. Her Nana Nadie gives her some advice, “It’s not quick feet that catches chickens — it’s quick thinking.” How will she catch chickens with a hurt ankle? Lami takes the advice and figures out how to catch chickens by making them come to her.
What Do You Do With a Chance? by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom
Ish by Peter Reynolds
Learn to live “ish-ly” instead of “getting it right”. Inspiring for a life lived outside the lines and filled with risks. I’m a fan of anything Reynolds writes. especially this picture book about growth mindset.
It’s Okay to Make Mistakes by Todd Parr
I believe in the message of this picture book –that it’s okay to make mistakes. In fact not only will this book help remind kids that making mistakes is totally normal and okay, maybe it will help remind us to show our kids that we make mistakes, too. Another excellent book by the talented Mr. Parr.
Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg
A beautiful oops is making lemonade out of lemons. It’s making a mistake and then making it something beautiful. Saltzberg shows this exquisitely Beautiful Oops; he shows the beautiful possibilities of a ripped piece of paper, a coffee stain, smudges, and a hole. Visit this page where Barney shares several Beautiful Oops ideas on Imagination Soup.
How I Learned to Fall Out of Trees by Vincent X. Kirsch
Metaphorical and lyrical, Adelia teaches her friend Roger how to climb and also how to fall out of a tree. Roger practices climbing with success. This includes letting go of the branch so he can fall out, echoing his metaphorical letting go of their friendship when Adelia moves away.
Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki, illustrated by Qin Leng
Hana is a beginner violin player. But that doesn’t stop her from entering the school talent show. She practices and practices, determined to perform, surprising even herself.
Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
Rosie is an exuberant inventor who uses things around her to invent wonderful contraptions — like the flying machine she makes for her great-great-aunt Rose. When it doesn’t fly, Rosie thinks she’s failed. But her wise Aunt Rose shows Rosie that failure is a success — and that failure only happens if you quit.
How to Be a Bigger Bunny by Wendell and Florence Minor
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
Ashley wants to make the most magnificent thing. But as sometimes happens, her thing doesn’t turn out as she wants. So she gets mad and gives up. After a short walk, she starts to feel better. And when she goes back to her thing, she sees it with new eyes and makes the magnificent thing after all. A great life lesson! What do you do when faced with challenges?
The Girl Who Never Ever Made Mistakes by Mark Pett, illustrated by Gary Rubinstein
Beatrice is a perfectionist. She doesn’t make mistakes. Until she does. And that helps her learn the magic of making mistakes.
Flight School by Lita Judge
Little Penguin has the soul of an eagle. Only his body isn’t built for flying. Little Penguin’s friends at Flight School try to help him fly. Then flamingo has an idea that works — and penguin experiences flying. He’s so thrilled he brings a friend to flight school. A bird that has the soul of a swallow. Ostrich.
Cindy Moo by Lori Mortensen illustrated by Jeff Mack
Cindy Moo is persistently trying to achieve her goal of jumping over the moon. Fortunately, she doesn’t listen to all the other animals telling her she can’t because she has a dream. Just as she’s about to give up, she finds the reflection of the moon in a puddle and makes her big jump. Success at last!
Papa’s Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Boris Kulikov
Inspired by his daughter’s question of what it would be like to be a fish, Papa decides to invent a mechanical fish — a submarine. The picture book engineering story shows that most of Papa’s inventions don’t work properly but he still persists. (Growth mindset!) Based on the inventor Lodner Phillips.
How to Solve a Problem: The Rise (and Falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion by Ashima Shiraishi, illustrated by Yao Xiao
Written by one of the world’s youngest and best climbers, she shares her experiences with climbing difficult “problems” which is what climbers call the boulders that they climb. This personal narrative focuses on a growth mindset of perseverance and facing challenges like difficult climbs with grit.
Famous Fails! by Crispin Boyer
Did you know Play-Doh was a happy accident? The inventor was trying to make a wallpaper cleaner. But that was a failure that worked — and many ideas didn’t such as fortune cookies for dogs. There is lots of information to pour through and assimilate because we know that failures are life’s biggest teachers. (Growth mindset!)
I’m a BIG fan of the Growth Mindset Journal called The Big Life Journal. It’s an interactive, guided journal for children ages 7 and up. The prompts and reading are designed to help kids develop a growth mindset and other life skills. BUY The Big Life Journal and printables.
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