The most recommended books about determination

Who picked these books? Meet our 16 experts.

16 authors created a book list connected to determination, and here are their favorite determination books.
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What type of determination book?


Book cover of Everything Is Figureoutable

Tissa Richards Author Of No Permission Needed: Unlock Your Leadership Potential and Eliminate Self-Doubt

From the list on leveling up your leadership.

Who am I?

I’m a TedX and keynote speaker, leadership expert, and corporate facilitator. I’m also a repeat software founder and CEO. I work extensively with Fortune 1000 and hyperscale organizations to connect leadership and culture directly to organizational outcomes, as well as diversifying C-suites and corporate boardrooms. I’m passionate about guiding leaders to measurable outcomes and helping others learn from failure (yes, it happens to all of us!) Over the years, I’ve learned the key is understanding and embodying your own values so you can build resilience for yourself as an individual, your team, and your organization as a whole. I hope my list of recommended books helps you do just that!

Tissa's book list on leveling up your leadership

Why did Tissa love this book?

For many entrepreneurs, Marie Forleo is practically a household name – for over a decade, she’s been coaching those souls brave enough to take the leap into business ownership.

As entrepreneurs will tell you, a huge part of success has to do with your mindset. In this book, Marie outlines a key strategy for training your brain to overcome uncertainty and actionable tips to overcome everyday challenges, both big and small.

By Marie Forleo,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Everything Is Figureoutable as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


"This book will change lives."
--Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

From the host of the award-winning MarieTV and The Marie Forleo Podcast, an indispensable handbook for becoming the creative force of your own life.

While most self-help books offer quick fixes, Everything is Figureoutable will retrain your brain to think more creatively and positively in the face of setbacks. In the words of Cheryl Strayed, it's "a must-read for anyone who wants to face their fears, fulfill their dreams, and find a better way forward."

If you're having trouble solving a problem…

Ten Thousand Tries

By Amy Makechnie,

Book cover of Ten Thousand Tries

Marcia Strykowski Author Of Roller Boy

From the list on featuring boys who crave success.

Who am I?

I’ve always been a fan of stories where the underdog makes good due to their own strength and determination. Although my book picks are all connected to sports I don’t happen to participate in, I feel the power of choosing the life you want by working hard encompasses all fields whether it be learning to sing or dance or becoming an expert in science, chess, juggling, or whatever one’s passion might be. For me, I guess it would be writing and not giving up even when it sometimes feels like playing the lottery each time one of my manuscripts is sent into cyberspace.

Marcia's book list on featuring boys who crave success

Why did Marcia love this book?

Golden Maroni is a well-drawn main character who dreams of success on the soccer field. At the same time, he tries to take care of those he loves in the best way he knows how. If he works hard and becomes a great soccer player, then maybe his dad can recover from ALS, and maybe his best friend won’t move away. There are several heavy topics in this book, but they are done with skill and sensitivity. I love the ten thousand hours theme of working towards your goals, but also the poignant truth that not all goals can be achieved by this method.

By Amy Makechnie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ten Thousand Tries as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A middle school soccer whiz’s determination to keep things from changing is tested when his father’s ALS symptoms worsen in this “heart-tugging and uplifting” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) story about growing up and facing loss, perfect for fans of Shouting at the Rain.

Twelve-year-old Golden Maroni is determined to channel his hero, soccer superstar Lionel Messi, and become captain of his soccer team and master of his eighth grade universe…especially since his home universe is spiraling out of orbit. Off the field, Golden’s dad, once a pro soccer player himself, is now battling ALS, a disease that attacks his muscles,…


By Kobi Yamada, Elise Hurst (illustrator),

Book cover of Trying

Martin Kearns Author Of Beneath the Veil

From Martin's 5-year-old's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Writer Theologian Reader Teacher

Martin's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Martin's 5-year-old's favorite books.

Why did Martin's 5-year-old love this book?

My son loves this book that’s a bit on the high-end for a five-year-old. It opens with a boy stumbling upon a master sculptor, and the artwork immediately pulls you into the story.

The boy is encouraged to try to sculpt and becomes discouraged because he’s not quite as good as he’d like to be. He quits but is told to try. I believe that failure isn’t failure but stepping stones to greatness and this book helps me turnkey this belief into my son.

We revisit this book often, and he’s even made me pick up sculpting clay to create his own sculptures. It’s pretty phenomenal.

By Kobi Yamada, Elise Hurst (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Trying as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How will you know what's possible if you don't try? This is a story for anyone who has ever felt like a beginner, or had doubts, or worried they weren't good enough. It's a story for those who have experienced the pain of trying something new and not having it turn out as they had hoped. Written by New York Times best-selling author Kobi Yamada, this captivating book celebrates the way failure is the just the beginning of the journey. With alluring black-and-white illustrations and a powerful message, this beautiful tale is about how failure has so much to offer--lessons…

The Naming

By Alison Croggon,

Book cover of The Naming

Hanna Howard Author Of Ignite the Sun

From the list on YA fantasy when you’re craving a journey or quest.

Who am I?

Journey stories were what first drew me to fantasy as a reader. I grew up doing a lot of amateur camping and hiking with my family, and liked to pretend—whilst tramping along rocky, Oklahoma paths through the woods—that I was lost in an enchanted forest, or trekking bravely across perilous lands with the hopes of many on my shoulders. In college I even taught a summer camp class called Mountain Man, which took students through the woods, teaching them about various plants and roots. Tolkien was my first fantasy love, and I never feel more at home than when I’m on a fictional journey to save the world.

Hanna's book list on YA fantasy when you’re craving a journey or quest

Why did Hanna love this book?

The Naming, which is the first in The Books of Pellinor quartet, was the first true YA quest novel I ever read. As a Tolkien nerd who was greatly inspired in high school by the Lord of the Rings—almost certainly the series which made me a fantasy writer myself—I had never encountered anything in YA that came close to the depth of landscape worldbuilding that Tolkien so masterfully executes in his books. And in The Naming I felt like I had finally entered a world as intricate and well-developed as Middle-earth—or as close as the faster pace of YA narrative would allow. What was more, our reluctant quester turned out to be a young woman, and I was both thrilled and relieved to see myself in Maerad as I joined her on her journey. 

By Alison Croggon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Naming as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"An epic fantasy in the Tolkien tradition, with a strong girl hero. . . . I couldn’t put it down!" – Tamora Pierce

Maerad is a slave in a desperate and unforgiving settlement, taken there as a child when her family is destroyed in war. She doesn’t yet know she has inherited a powerful gift, one that marks her as a member of the noble School of Pellinor and enables her to see the world as no other can. It is only when she is discovered by Cadvan, one of the great Bards of Lirigon, that her true identity and…

Book cover of The Little Engine That Could

Ari Gunzburg Author Of Someday Soon

From the list on to inspire hope.

Who am I?

I continue to find hope as a constant theme in my talks and my various media appearances. Hope is so integral to being able to fight for another day. When we can plant the seed of hope and perseverance in kids from a young age, by giving the gift of books that show them the true meaning of hope and aspirations, we give them a gift that carries them well through life.

Ari's book list on to inspire hope

Why did Ari love this book?

This book was originally published in 1930 and also goes back a long way in my own life as well. I have fond memories of my father reading this story to me when I was young, acting out all the parts of the story, using different voices, and more. Despite being little and unassuming, the Little Blue Engine uses hope and belief to get over the mountain. Without belief in ourselves we often can’t even begin to try, but the Little Blue Engine chose to trust in himself and it paid off - big time. We can all use a little more belief in our own abilities to create massive change in our lives.

By Watty Piper,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Little Engine That Could as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic story in a board book format

One of the true classics in children's books is now available in a sturdy board book edition perfect for little hands! The story has been slightly abridged and features the famous illustrations from the original Hauman edition. Now toddlers can cheer on the little blue engine and that "can-do" attitude that keeps her chugging along!

You Will Be My Friend!

By Peter Brown,

Book cover of You Will Be My Friend!

Anne Marie Pace Author Of Groundhug Day

From the list on picture books about navigating friendship.

Who am I?

I expect that the folks at approached me as a picture book author, since I’m the author of eleven picture books, including the four books of the Vampirina Ballerina series, which were adapted into the Disney Junior hit series Vampirina. But my thoughts and ideas about friendship and community really stem from once having been a child myself and from being a parent of four children, each of whom approached the roller coaster ride of childhood friendship in their unique ways. I was always happy to help them find answers in a book, even when those answers involved more, and deeper, questions.

Anne's book list on picture books about navigating friendship

Why did Anne love this book?

Lucy Bear is determined to make a friend, but it turns out to be a harder task than she anticipated. Her efforts startle, bother, annoy, and anger the other forest animals. She’s ready to give up but in the end, she finds a perfect friend—perfect for her, that is, and isn’t that what really matters? I adore Peter Brown’s colorful, jocular illustrations and the way the answer to Lucy’s desire is presented not in the text, but in the art. For a bonus friendship lesson, check out Brown’s bio on the dust jacket.

By Peter Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You Will Be My Friend! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Today is the day the exuberant Lucy is going to make a new friend! But she finds it's harder than she had thought--she accidentally ruins the giraffe's breakfast and is much too big for the frogs' pond. Just when she's about to give up, an unexpected friend finds her, and loves her just the way she is.

This heartwarming story offers a unique and humor-filled spin on the all-important themes of persistence and friendship.


By Molly Idle,

Book cover of Pearl

Emily Neilson Author Of Can I Give You a Squish?

From the list on underwater books for your little sea monster.

Who am I?

I am writing this list because I am a sea monster. I’m the sort of sea monster who loves merpeople, pirates, sharks, dolphins, octopuses, shipwrecks, and…did I miss anything? Oh yes, piranhas. Some people have pointed out that I look like a regular adult human, but really it’s just a trick of the light. I like to make stories, draw pictures, and build miniature environments for stop motion animated films. My typical day is spent gluing miniature flowers to miniature rocks, or screwing miniature chairs to miniature floors. It’s the sort of job that makes you feel like magic is around every corner. Because it is, probably.

Emily's book list on underwater books for your little sea monster

Why did Emily love this book?

This book has this soft slow kind of magic that would be wonderful for winding down right before bedtime. The images flow through the book and guide you down into the colorful glowing depths where a family of mermaids guard the secrets of the sea. The message is lovely as well. Little Pearl the mermaid discovers that even the smallest of responsibilities, when nurtured properly, can grow to be hugely impactful.

By Molly Idle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pearl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sometimes the tiniest light can shine the brightest! Like the other mermaids of the deep, Pearl longs to care for the endless beaches, coral reefs, and towering kelp forests of her vast ocean world. So when her mother asks her to tend to a mere grain of sand, Pearl is heartbroken. It takes all her patience and determination to discover how even the littlest mermaid can transform the world.

Caldecott Honor-winning author and artist Molly Idle has masterfully crafted a modern classic in this mesmerizing tale about the immense power of small actions.

The Best Beekeeper of Lalibela

By Cristina Kessler, Leonard Jenkins (illustrator),

Book cover of The Best Beekeeper of Lalibela: A Tale from Africa

Christine Ieronimo Author Of A Thirst for Home: A Story of Water across the World

From the list on stories from Africa with strong protagonists.

Who am I?

I am passionate about writing books for children that create windows to the world, teaching empathy. Children that are empathic grow up to be kind and compassionate adults. I write because I long for a world that is more accepting and compassionate.  

Christine's book list on stories from Africa with strong protagonists

Why did Christine love this book?

This is a story about a young girl named Almaz who dreams of becoming a beekeeper in Lalibela, Ethiopia. When she is told that beekeeping is a man’s job and that she should go back to cooking, cleaning, and gathering wood, she doesn’t give up. Instead, with the encouragement of a local priest, she becomes determined to continue toward her dream overcoming many obstacles. This is a story that is culturally accurate and gently explores gender roles in Ethiopia. In the end, Almaz’s perseverance pays off and she is welcome at the market, where she sells the best honey. I love this story also because of my love for Ethiopia, where women and girls are very strong, determined, and must overcome tremendous obstacles in daily life. I am in awe of their beauty and strength.  

By Cristina Kessler, Leonard Jenkins (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Best Beekeeper of Lalibela as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the Ethiopian mountain village of Lalibela, famous for its churches and honey, a young girl determines to find a way to be a beekeeper despite being told that is something only men can do.

Book cover of After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again)

Joan Budilovsky Author Of Floretta

From the list on to help grieving children open up about death.

Who am I?

I grew up living above our family funeral home. My parents were exceptionally compassionate people. I learned through their kind upbringing that heaven was and is, here and now. Death was not only an inevitable part of life but a daily part. As an adult, I became a Yoga Teacher. Yoga means union. It's an exploration into the intimate balance between body and mind. One particular yoga pose essential to every single class – Savasana or Corpse PoseA coincidence a young girl raised in a funeral home would end up teaching daily classes of corpse pose? I think not. And through it all bloomed Floretta. The story of life and death coming together into a magnificent circular experience. Bilingual yet parallel worlds amidst beautiful chakra colors.

Joan's book list on to help grieving children open up about death

Why did Joan love this book?

I firmly believe a great children’s book is a great adult’s book too. This one sure fits the bill. Humpty Dumpty has that infamous fall off the wall and what happens to him afterward is funny, healing, and magically majestic. If you know of a child (or adult) in the hospital or simply someone having difficult times, this is a book of humor, acceptance, and creative transformation. It’s a permanent fixture on my bookshelf.

By Dan Santat,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Everyone knows that when Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. But what happened after? This captivating picture book from Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat follows Humpty Dumpty, an avid bird watcher who loves to be high up on the city wall. But after his fall, Humpty is terrified of heights and can no longer do his favourite things. He finally pulls together the courage to climb back up the wall. In a surprise twist, Humpty transforms, turning into a magnificent bird, and learns that sometimes you have to fall... before you can fly.

The Thing Lou Couldn't Do

By Ashley Spires,

Book cover of The Thing Lou Couldn't Do

Mary Cay Ricci Author Of Nothing You Can't Do!: The Secret Power of Growth Mindsets

From the list on help kids develop stick-to-itiveness.

Who am I?

I am a mom and life-long educator who has often scratched my head and wondered why kids give up so easily when things become a little challenging. I learned about fixed and growth mindset principles and decided to apply them to an education setting. What I realized during this time is that both adults and kids give up too easily and demonstrate fixed mindset thinking way too often! As a result, I wrote a few books for teachers, parents, and kids about ways to develop a growth mindset! I am sharing some of my favorite books that can be a catalyst for discussing resiliency and perseverance with the kids in our life!

Mary's book list on help kids develop stick-to-itiveness

Why did Mary love this book?

One of the reasons that I love this book is because it doesn’t end with success. It ends with a “not yet” and maybe I will be back tomorrow to try again. That is what life is about-we don’t always have success, but we can persevere and try new things without always succeeding. Lou and her friends have great imaginations when they are playing and they decide to climb a tree and pretend it is a pirate ship. The challenge is that Lou has never climbed a tree before. Her excuses are funny: “The cat needs a walk,” “I stepped on a slug and his funeral is in 5 minutes,” and the one many of us recognize, “My tummy hurts.” She thinks of lots of ways to get up the tree without climbing - but they don’t work. She finally tries, gets a few feet up, and falls. She decides…

By Ashley Spires,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Thing Lou Couldn't Do as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An endearing story about a little girl who doesn’t think she can.

“Up there! The tree can be our ship!” one of Lou’s friends exclaims when they decide to play pirates. “Ummm …” responds Lou. Usually she loves adventures. But this is new. Lou has never climbed a tree before. And she knows she can’t do it. She doesn’t even want to try.

But this adventure does look fun, and when all her excuses run out, Lou realizes the bravest adventurers are those who TRY. An inspiring lesson for anyone who’s ever avoided something hard.

Sofia Valdez, Future Prez

By Andrea Beaty, David Roberts (illustrator),

Book cover of Sofia Valdez, Future Prez

Erin Dealey Author Of Dear Earth...from Your Friends in Room 5

From the list on making Earth Day every day.

Who am I?

I am a teacher, author, & parent, determined to help keep our earth healthy for future generations. A few Earth Days ago, my students asked why we only set aside one day a year to practice eco-healthy habits. Good question! As a teacher, I know how crucial it is for authors to get our facts right. Before writing Dear Earth… I read stacks of books and articles on our environment. I am indebted to science expert & author Melissa Stewart, and my friend Patricia Newman (Plastic Ahoy!; Planet Ocean / Lerner), as well. I sincerely hope Dear Earth… and the books on my list inspire Earth Heroes everywhere--every day.

Erin's book list on making Earth Day every day

Why did Erin love this book?

Sofia Valdez, Future Prez shows what an incredible difference “just a kid” can make, even when those in “power” don’t take her seriously. Not only would the kids in Room 5 support Sofia’s fabulous solution to the dangerous “Mount Trashmore” landfill, but I’m also certain they would learn a lot about the process of getting their own eco-conscious suggestions heard by the local government.

By Andrea Beaty, David Roberts (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sofia Valdez, Future Prez as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An instant #1 New York Times bestseller!

The newest picture book from the creators of Iggy Peck, Architect; Rosie Revere, Engineer; and Ada Twist, Scientist stars Sofia Valdez, a community leader who stands up for what she believes in!
Every morning, Abuelo walks Sofia to school . . . until one day, when Abuelo hurts his ankle at a local landfill and he can no longer do so. Sofia (aka Sofi) misses her Abuelo and wonders what she can do about the dangerous Mount Trashmore. Then she gets an idea-the town can turn the slimy mess into a park! She…

Toto's Apple

By Mathieu Lavoie,

Book cover of Toto's Apple

Simon Philip Author Of You Must Bring a Hat!

From the list on unexpected endings & terrific twists.

Who am I?

Simon is obsessed with picture books: reading them, writing them, buying them, smelling them. His own have been published in more than 20 languages. You Must Bring a Hat won the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book of the Year, and I Really Wany the Cake was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. He particularly enjoys funny, deadpan picture books. After gaining a 1st class degree in History, he put his skills to use as a barman at a local pub, grew tired of the owner calling him Andy, left to fail a teaching degree, then turned to writing. He lives in England, although occasionally leaves to buy milk.

Simon's book list on unexpected endings & terrific twists

Why did Simon love this book?

A worm wants an apple. 

The worm is down low, and the apple is up high. 

But Toto has a plan…

I love so much about this picture book: the simple but humour-laden premise; Toto’s inventiveness, creativity, and perseverance in his quest to reach his goal (and the apple); the bold illustrations and striking design; and, of course, the twist at the end that will leave readers chuckling.

By Mathieu Lavoie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Toto's Apple as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Creativity and perseverance lead to unexpected success for a little worm who goes after an apple high up in a tree

The apple is up high. Toto is down low.
A bird flies by. Toto has an idea.

And so this hilariously expressive little worm gets busy creating plan after plan to reach his desired meal. His crafty strategies are successfully executed but miserably unproductive... until the opportunity presents itself and Toto seizes the moment without foresight. With just the perfect balance of predictability and surprise, this tale reads like an animated short that the reader will want to see…