What books can you read to help your children become more resilient and persevere? Growth Mindset books!
What is growth mindset?
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 growth mindset picture book stories.
Also, my list of growth mindset biographies is here.
When I wrote this post in 2018, we’d had the worst year in our lives due to mold toxicity. It was awful. At the same time, AND the awful provided us with opportunities to dig deep and find our strength. That’s because we used our growth mindset (as well as our faith.)
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
Ramen for Everyone by Patricia Tanumihardja, illustrated by Shiho Pate
Hiro loves his dad’s ramen. He wants to make his own ramen and share it with his family. But his attempts fail — and with anger, he throws it all in the trash. His dad reminds him that Hiro’s family appreciates his cooking and it doesn’t have to be perfect. So Hiro starts again and customizes his bowls of ramen noodles for each person with things that they like, and that Hiro can cook.
The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi, illustrated by Lorena Alvarez
This growth mindset story reminds children that just because they can’t do something, it’s not forever — it’s just that they can’t do it 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. 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 his sister 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. Growth mindset & persistence!
The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken
“It started // with a mistake.” Mistakes allow the artist to create something unexpected. Mistake after mistake shows a shift in expectation and a hefty dose of growth mindset. Lots of white space makes Luyken’s exquisite artwork pop.
Donut the Unicorn Who Wants to Fly by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Andrea Zuill
Simple rhyming noun-verb combos show a persistent unicorn who keeps trying to fly and eventually… DOES! “Donut sails! Donut flails.” Enchanting, expressive illustrations narrate much of the story’s details. A brilliant, fun story. You can’t help but cheer Donut on!
The Power of Yet by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
Simplified for young readers, this encouraging book shows a little pig who wants to ride a bike but can’t…yet. With time, patience, practice, and growth, yet eventually arrives for the bike, math, cooking, and baseball.
Look, Grandma! Ni, Elisi! by Art Coulson, illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight
Uncle Ben says that Ben can help sell at their booth for Cherokee national holiday. He’s excited but needs a container to fit the marbles he’s decorated. Finally, after discouragement and looking everywhere, Ben finds just what he needs.
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.” Lami takes the advice and figures out how to catch chickens by making them come to her.
Fiona the Fruit Bat by Dan Riskin, illustrated by Rachel Qiuqi
I love this mesmerizing story of a young fruit bat who is ready to take her first flight–and doesn’t understand why she needs to listen. Listen to what? As Fiona explores the world, she begins understanding how echolocation helps her hear where she is. I like the way the illustrations go from dark to light and the great example of growth mindset.
What Do You Do With a Chance? by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom
When the boy feels like a failure, he starts ignoring the chances that come his way. Eventually, the chances stop coming around anymore. Soon, the boy regrets his decision and hopes to find a chance again and prepares to be brave, even just for a moment. The boy goes looking for a chance– a big one but he’s ready to grab hold!
Fly by Brittany J. Thurman, illustrated by Anna Cunha
Africa believes in herself so much that she knows she’ll be able to learn double Dutch in a week. Her brother doesn’t think she can do it because she’s never done it before. She tries to learn on her own but realizes it will be better to ask others. She learns stepping, cartwheels, handclaps, and soon she shows what she can do, just like her birthmark in the shape of Africa represents what she’s made of.
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, but maybe it will help remind us to show our kids that we make mistakes, too. Another excellent book by the talented Mr. Parr.
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.
Knitting for Dogs by Laurel Molk
Izzy loves to build things — and she’s good at it. So she assumes, she’ll be just as good at knitting. Except she’s not good at sizing sweaters. She perseveres with attempt after attempt. Finally, she reframes and shifts — because her sweaters work out perfectly for her dog, Max!
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.
Bubbie & Rivka’s Best-Ever Challah (So Far!) by Sarah Lynne Reul
Rivka and Bubbie want to make challah bread, so they try and fail but continue to persevere — enjoying their time together and the process of figuring out how to make the bread come out even tastier than before. I love this wonderful story of family, culture, and growth mindset.
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 growth mindset story is about letting go of the branch and letting go of a friendship.
Girls on Wheels written by Srividhya Venkat, illustrated by Kate Wadsworth
I love this energetic growth mindset story and the dynamic illustrations! Three friends meet in the morning at the skate park. But one friend, Anila, is worried about another broken bone, so she sits and watches her friends. Anila’s friends encourage her to try, even if she falls. “Skating is for anyone who wants to try,” says Damini. So Anila tries…and she flies! Three girls on wheels! Here they come!
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.
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?
How to Be a Bigger Bunny by Wendell and Florence Minor
Never give up is the motto of this growth mindset story about a little bunny who reads stories that teach her this valuable lesson. She uses this lesson when her older siblings are trapped in a log. She perseveres and rescues them. We always love when the littlest gets to be a hero!
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
In this growth mindset book, Little Penguin believes that he has the soul of an eagle. But 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 Little 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 picture book 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 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!)
Have you seen 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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30+ Biographies That Demonstrate Growth Mindset