The best books about hope

3 authors have picked their favorite books about hope and why they recommend each book.

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Tomorrow I'll Be Brave

By Jessica Hische,

Book cover of Tomorrow I'll Be Brave

This inspirational book for young explorers offers uplifting messages for kids, encouraging them to try new things and not fret about failure. Hand-lettered words of wisdom help to define what it means to be brave and confident, while teaching patience and tenacity. The colorful illustrations are memorable and immersive, offering opportunities for discussion about each page of positive values.

Who am I?

I'm a world-class underwater explorer, writer, photographer, speaker, and filmmaker. A pioneer of technical rebreather diving, I have led expeditions into icebergs in Antarctica, volcanic lava tubes, and submerged caves worldwide. As a child, these fanciful places were just a part of my wildest dreams. The Aquanaut tells the story of how I turned my imaginative journeys into reality and became a celebrated underwater explorer.

I wrote...

The Aquanaut

By Jill Heinerth, Jaime Kim (illustrator),

Book cover of The Aquanaut

What is my book about?

This inspiring picture book encourages readers to explore their world, build their self-esteem and imagine what they can do and become when they grow up. Through beautiful, spare text, Jill Heinerth tells her story about a girl who feels too young, too little, and too far away from her dreams. But you don’t need to wait to grow up. It doesn’t take much to imagine all the things you can do and be. What if your bedroom were a space station? What would it be like to have flippers or tusks?

In your own home, you can explore new worlds and meet new friends. Jaime Kim’s luminous art transports readers back and forth through time to see how Jill’s imagination as a young girl laid the pathway to her accomplishments and experiences as an underwater explorer.

Rain Before Rainbows

By Smriti Prasadam-Halls, David Litchfield (illustrator),

Book cover of Rain Before Rainbows

A pet can be a powerful companion, which is why I've always adored books that convey the relationship between a person and their animal and how a furry friend can help us out of our darkest times. Written with a song-like rhyme and with animals portraying friendship, help, and hope, it tells the story of a girl and her companion fox, illustrated colorfully. I particularly like the background scenes. The book undoubtedly runs from a troubled stage to a place of hope.

Who am I?

I enjoy stories with morals & adventure! The animal kingdom has always been a favourite of children around the world, and a perfect way of conveying these fables without boring the reader. My particular love for foxes has always been there but also extends to other forest creatures. They are always my first choice when picking a book that kids will love and also for my video game designs.

I wrote...

When Fitch Lost Summer - Autumn's Halloween

By Kevin Asla,

Book cover of When Fitch Lost Summer - Autumn's Halloween

What is my book about?

One day a young fox named Fitch awakens in a mysterious and fantasy-filled land called Autumn. Now, all alone he must find his way back home, back to Summer. He happens upon a new friend and sets off on a journey to find his world. Encountering many strange and magical things, Fitch learns a lot on his adventure about Autumn, Halloween, harvest, and bravery; but will it be enough to get him back to Summer?

Nowhere Boy

By Katherine Marsh,

Book cover of Nowhere Boy

This very involving story centers on two boys who find themselves in Brussels. Max’s American family is here for his dad’s posting with NATO; Ahmed, a young Syrian, is broke and alone after losing his family in the civil war. Getting to know Ahmed brings a sense of purpose to Max’s life—but one he has to hide from almost everyone. Nowhere Boy pulls us in as its characters struggle and everyone is swamped by the confusing tension that the flood of Muslim refugees has brought to Europe. There are no simple answers here, but one simple truth: The vast majority of refugees are just people and families, not furthering violence but seeking safety from it.

Who am I?

I spent much of my twenties traveling, teaching, and writing in Asia, and ever since I’ve passionately searched out good novels that transport me into another culture, often another time. On author visits to schools across the U.S., I’ve talked with hundreds of young readers who are curious about the world but are caught up in the right-now intensity of their own lives. In writing Street of Storytellers, I sought to connect with that intensity—and through that connection to bring readers into a vivid experience that opens a window onto the history, humanity, and shared struggles that are out there to discover in the world. 

I wrote...

Street of Storytellers

By Doug Wilhelm,

Book cover of Street of Storytellers

What is my book about?

American teenager Luke is angry that he’s had to travel over school vacation with his divorced dad, a professor of ancient history, to the turbulent, very old capital of Pakistan’s fabled North-West Frontier. During a single week in late 1984, at a pivotal time and place in history, Luke and three more young people—an Afghan refugee who becomes his friend, and a quarreling local brother and sister—get swept into forbidden romance and the dangerous rise of religious extremism.

Street of Storytellers won three national indie book awards and was named a 2021 Notable Social Studies Trade Book. Kirkus Reviews called it “an absorbing, rich historical tale... Luke is a believable character who makes mistakes but also redeems himself with courage and generosity.”

Hope in the Dark

By Rebecca Solnit,

Book cover of Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities

The world is hell, so now what? By now we all know how easy it is to fall into despair. “Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting.” Solnit’s arguments and examples of a galvanizing hope are not naïve. They are nuanced, realistic, and give us something to cling to like a life raft as we scan for dry land.

Who am I?

I’m a librarian, writer, and proponent of the death positive movement. I’ve found some people assume that being death positive means a certain callousness. For me the opposite is true: I’m an anxious ball of feelings both for myself and towards others, and the death positive mindset helps me cope better with life’s curveballs. I can say with a degree of certainty that we’ve all been pitched some doozies lately, so I wanted to offer up some books that nourish in times of darkness without turning away in denial.

I wrote...

Dark Archives: A Librarian's Investigation Into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin

By Megan Rosenbloom,

Book cover of Dark Archives: A Librarian's Investigation Into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin

What is my book about?

In Dark Archives, Megan Rosenbloom seeks out the historic and scientific truths behind anthropodermic bibliopegy―the practice of binding books in this most intimate covering. Dozens of such books live on in the world’s most famous libraries and museums. Dark Archives exhumes their origins and brings to life the doctors, murderers, and indigents whose lives are sewn together in this disquieting collection. Along the way, Rosenbloom tells the story of how her team of scientists, curators, and librarians test rumored anthropodermic books, untangling the myths around their creation and reckoning with the ethics of their custodianship.

In Dark Archives―captivating and macabre in all the right ways―Rosenbloom has crafted a narrative that is equal parts detective work, academic intrigue, history, and medical curiosity: a book as rare and thrilling as its subject.

Getting to Maybe

By Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman, Michael Patton

Book cover of Getting to Maybe: How the World Is Changed

This was the book that introduced me to complex systems. Many people have become familiar with complex systems in recent years as we’ve been exposed to talk of feedback loops and probability through discussions on climate change. Little inputs can make a big difference and big inputs sometimes collapse under the weight of their own inertia. This book has one of those titles that work their way into your imagination – getting to maybe?

It does not suggest you set goals and work, head down, towards your personal mission. It suggests that you take a look around, gather with others, invite ideas based on people’s passions, and get started. It is all about experimenting and learning together. Then, maybe, something will good will happen. The book offers plenty of inspiring examples of significant social change as a result of genuine innovation and listening to many voices.

Who am I?

As a psychologist with environmental interests people often ask me about hope. It goes something like this: “Climate change is pushing us toward disaster! What is your source of hope?”  I finally figured out that I only have one source of hope. It is that we, as people, are able to work together just well enough to keep it all afloat. There’s a lot involved in working together – learning to listen with compassion, run good meetings, empower everyone to give of their best, and rebuild trust when it starts to break down. I’ve been researching these topics in community settings for the past 15 years. 

I wrote...

Psychology for a Better World: Working with People to Save the Planet

By Niki Harré,

Book cover of Psychology for a Better World: Working with People to Save the Planet

What is my book about?

Psychology for a Better World is for people who believe it is worth trying to make a world in which both ourselves and the ecological systems we are part of can flourish. It is based on the latest research in psychology and is jam-packed with action strategies. It offers new ways to think about how people interact in social settings, and how the same characteristics that keep us hooked into unsustainable practices can be used to move us forward. It includes a guide to help you analyse what you can do to contribute to a better world while simultaneously increasing your personal wellbeing.

Our intuitive approaches of arguing more aggressively with our perceived opponents, and telling others how wrong they are, are often not effective ways to get lasting behavioural change. Instead, Niki provides a wide range of evidence to show that boosting positive emotions, role modelling, understanding the power and dynamics of identity, and moral context all need to be authentically applied if we are to be effective change agents.


By Colleen Hoover,

Book cover of Hopeless

This book… Wow! I read it in one night. No joke. Could not put it down. Colleen Hoover has hit the mark with many #1 selling novels, but this particular novel was a favorite for me. Not many YA romances are this thrilling but Hoover’s writing and story building have a way of drawing you in. The flashback memories give you snapshots of why Sky Davis never feels anything for a guy, without giving away the BIG reveal. When she meets Dean Holder, her attraction to him is jarring because she’s used to feeling nothing. The reason why she’s drawn to him was such a thrill ride of suspense, drama, pain, and real love. If you’ve never read a Colleen Hoover novel, start with this book.

Who am I?

A lover of suspense thrillers and all things horror, my first introduction to romance novels was during book club. I love a good Rom-Com but as a reader, I used to shy away from erotica or meet-cute alpha male novels. Now I devour romance novels but they need very specific things. Strong heroines and suspense...and yes, great love scenes. Sparking my passion for the romance-suspense mash-up, I took a personal story and turned it into a suspense-driven romance full of angst. With 2 published novels, I continue to read and write romance thrillers hoping to change the stigma of romance as ‘fluff’ and ‘smut’ and show the strength in love.

I wrote...

A Heart's Salvation

By Dana Christy,

Book cover of A Heart's Salvation

What is my book about?

After a year free from pain and anguish, Madison Skye is jolted back into reality when her past catches up to her. Out of places to run, she is forced to return home desperate for help. As despair grips her mind, her encounter with the handsome young actor, Jackson Hunter, flusters her and turns her world upside down.

Feeling an immediate connection to the complicated beauty, Jackson refuses to accept her emotional disconnect and offers her an escape. A way to stay with him. Unaware of the secrets she keeps, he’s determined to break down her walls, convince her to stay but he doesn’t know could break his heart for good. Fated to meet. Destined to be together. Can their love endure the dark turmoil of Madison's tortured past?

Hues Of Hope

By Balroop Singh,

Book cover of Hues Of Hope: Selected Poetry

Hues of Hope is a captivating book of poetry centered around the theme of hope, which enchanted and moved me. Its pages are ones I will return to again and again, especially when the world seems at its darkest. This collection offers not only hope, but also self-reliance, courage, lessons learnt, and the beauty in the midst of a life lived with trials and tribulations and ultimate self-discovery. I cannot recommend this collection of poems highly enough.

Who am I?

I spent years trapped inside a devastating lack of self-esteem. To face my demons, and find the freedom and confidence to give expression to the creative soul buried within, I had to dive deep beneath life’s surface. After a life-changing injury, I began anew at age forty, and the writer and poet version of me was born. If I’ve learnt one thing, it’s that it’s never too late to be who you were meant to be. For me, poetry needs to inspire, make me think, and move me. I love to write poems that surprise, startle, reach the soul, and are layered with life, love, and meaning. 

I wrote...

Life & Soul: Book 2 in the Soul Poetry Series

By Harmony Kent,

Book cover of Life & Soul: Book 2 in the Soul Poetry Series

What is my book about?

Life & Soul is the second book in the Soul Poetry Series by acclaimed author Harmony Kent.

This beautiful collection of over fifty poems will take the reader through the highs and lows of everyday life via contemporary poetry in a range of styles and themes. Within these pages, you will find reflections on the Lonely Soul, the Seeking Soul, Brief Soul, Friendly Soul, and the Loving Soul—states of mind and living and longing we each experience over the course of a life. Life & Soul offers something for lovers of poetry from all walks of life. 

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