The most recommended books about perseverance

Who picked these books? Meet our 29 experts.

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


Book cover of Ricky, the Rock That Couldn't Roll

Simon Mills Author Of The Secret of Scrufflewood Wood

From my list on children’s stories written in rhyme.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have written poetry since I was a little boy. Rhyme came naturally to me, and I found it to be a world to escape to. This led me to songwriting and touring in bands, and it grew into my vocation as a jingle writer in Australia. Eventually, I wrote the jingle that won the World’s Best Jingle award in Hollywood, and this, in part, inspired me to move to New York City from Australia. The other driving force was getting my first book, How To Steal From Banks—an autobiography—published in America. Writing and rhyming are deeply embedded in my soul and cells. 

Simon's book list on children’s stories written in rhyme

Simon Mills Why did Simon love this book?

I love an underdog story. Overcoming adversity against all odds.

Ricky is a rockstar. Plus, I’ve been a rocker all my life, playing in bands all over the world, so when it comes to rock n roll, I clearly identify. I like the subtle use of color in the illustrations in this book, as it gives the rhyming verse a little room to shine.

Ricky, the Rock that Couldn’t Roll also points loosely to overcoming a disability and gently navigates the emotion of living with such a burden. 

By Mr. Jay, Erin Wozniak (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ricky, the Rock That Couldn't Roll as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

These rocks can really roll! Well, most of them, anyway...

Get ready to meet a new rock group! From zippy, little pebbles to big strong boulders, the rocks get together to play and roll around their favorite hill, only to find that one of their friends, Ricky, can't roll with them. Unlike all of the others, who are all round, Ricky can't roll because he's flat on one side.

Except for poor Ricky, who quietly sat.
You see, Rick couldn't roll, because one side was flat.

His friends didn't get it,
"Come Roll!" they would chant.
So Ricky tried, but…

Book cover of Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

Brandon Todd Author Of Bright Star: An Acorn Book

From my list on finding adventure in your backyard.

Why am I passionate about this?

My family and I moved to a new neighborhood a few years ago and for the first time we discovered what a community can feel like. We feel connected to a diverse group of people. We explore our park and surrounding streets, regularly supporting local shops and frequently bumping into our neighbors and other familiar faces. It’s given us a sense of place. All these books, as well as The Adventure Friends series, encourages this sense of wonder for your local community. You don’t have to go to far off lands to find adventure. Often, it’s right in your backyard!

Brandon's book list on finding adventure in your backyard

Brandon Todd Why did Brandon love this book?

All a kid needs for an adventure is a tool and the tool Sam and Dave have is a shovel.

I personally spent multiple recesses trying to dig a hole to the other side of the world or underground cave so this took me right back to that time. The words and pictures are in perfect balance with each other and each page turn reveals new and fun surprises, all the way to the very end!

This is a book that celebrates kids being kids and highlights the optimism and perseverance they have. Barnett and Klassen are probably also my favorite duo making books today.

By Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Sam & Dave Dig a Hole as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

With perfect pacing, the multiple award-winning, best-selling team of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen dig down for a deadpan tale full of visual humour.

From the award-winning team behind Extra Yarn, and illustrated by Jon Klassen, the Kate Greenaway-winning creator of This Is Not My Hat and I Want My Hat Back, comes a perfectly paced, deadpan tale full of visual humour. Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find ... nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all.…

Book cover of Trying

Martin Kearns Author Of Beneath the Veil

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

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Writer Theologian Reader Teacher

Martin's 3 favorite reads in 2023

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

Martin Kearns 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. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

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…

Book cover of Cat Kid Comic Club

Kate Temple Author Of The Underdogs Serve It Up

From my list on hilarious animal characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a big fan of two things… one is graphic novels and the other is funny stuff! When those two things come together I am in my zone. I read lots of graphic novels when I was a kid and I've never really stopped. They are a great part of anyone’s reading diet. Now I write funny graphic novels for kids with my writing partner Jol. We’ve written 20 books to date including The Underdogs series, but there’s more to come!

Kate's book list on hilarious animal characters

Kate Temple Why did Kate love this book?

The follow up from the smash hit Dogman.

Like Dogman this is a really fun read. What I really like about this one thought is all the mini comics inside the book.

I also love how they are shot photographically and that makes the look of this book feel really different from Dogman too. 

By Dav Pilkey, Dav Pilkey (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cat Kid Comic Club as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

The perfect present for DOG MAN fans - starring some
of your favourite characters from the series!
Welcome to the Cat Kid Comic Club, where Li'l
Petey (LP), Flippy, and Molly introduce twenty-one rambunctious, funny, and talented
baby frogs to the art of comic making.

As the story unwinds with mishaps and hilarity, readers get to
see the progress, mistakes, and improvements that come with practice
and persistence.

Squid Kid and Katydid, Baby
Frog Squad, Gorilla Cheese Sandwich,
and Birds Flowers Tree: A Haiku Photo Comic
are just some of the mini-comics that are included as stories-within-the-story,
each done in…

Book cover of Elena Rides

Elizabeth Verdick Author Of Bike & Trike

From my list on bikes and biking for kids.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Minnesota-based children’s writer focusing on a mix of books for kids ages baby to teen. I love writing stories as well as nonfiction books focused on Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). After more than 25 years spent writing for a young audience, I started thinking about how I may be old but don’t necessarily feel old. An image came to mind: a rusty, dusty old tricycle. How might “Trike” feel if a happy, snappy new bike were to appear in the garage? Bike & Trike is the story that arose, one about old vs. new and a daring challenge to determine which bike will be the winner on wheels.

Elizabeth's book list on bikes and biking for kids

Elizabeth Verdick Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Elena may be a big, bright purple elephant, but she’s determined to ride her bike successfully.

She’s got a bright red bird friend to cheer her on and loads of resilience to get her through every wobble, bobble, and fall. Simple language and onomatopoeia make this story a great read-aloud, perfect for early readers and riders. 

By Juana Medina,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Elena Rides as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Beginning readers—and beginning riders—will be drawn to this bright, buoyant story of a determined elephant and her loyal sidekick, from the award-winning creator of Juana & Lucas.

Elena wants to ride her bike. She steadies, she readies. She wobbles, she bobbles . . . KA-BANG! Learning to ride a bike is hard. But Elena can do it. She just has to try, try again. With this reassuring story of childlike persistence, Juana Medina, creator of the acclaimed Juana & Lucas series, introduces Elena, a plucky elephant, and the little red bird who is Elena’s faithful cheerleader. Simple, energetic text and…

Book cover of Rosie Revere, Engineer

Judith V.T. Wilson Author Of Growing Smarter

From my list on embracing your mistakes and a growth mindset.

Why am I passionate about this?

My perspective as a parent, grandparent, and teacher has changed since I’ve read Mindset. I only wish I had heard about this book sooner. After I read Mindset, I felt like I had discovered the secret sauce for learning. As a teacher, I was always searching for new ways to motivate my students. I adopted innovative strategies and new trends that were engaging. As a result, I was named Teacher of the Year in my school district. Because Dweck’s messages about how the brain learns, the value of mistakes, and perseverance are key to improving a child’s achievement, I annually present this topic at both teacher conferences and parent meetings.

Judith's book list on embracing your mistakes and a growth mindset

Judith V.T. Wilson Why did Judith love this book?

I was like Rosie growing up. I loved to build with my brother’s Lincoln Logs, Legos, and blocks. I even tried my hand at building a tree “fort” once, quite unsuccessfully.

But unlike Rosie, I was creating for fun with no one around. Rosie, however, was showing her inventions to her uncle and aunt, and they loved them. She had a great imagination. I loved the book’s illustrations of Rosie’s gizmos and gadgets created out of treasures found in the recycling bins.

Even though her inventions often failed, her great, great aunt would exclaim it was a brilliant first flop…a perfect failure. But Rosie never quit. As a teacher I often select this book for a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) read-aloud, since it’s a great example for girls.

By Andrea Beaty, David Roberts (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Rosie Revere, Engineer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

From the powerhouse author/illustrator team of Iggy Peck, Architect comes Rosie Revere, Engineer, another charming, witty picture book about pursuing your passion. Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she's a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her Great, Great Aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal--to fly--Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt's dream come true. Her invention complete, Rosie attempts a test flight--but after a moment, the machine crashes to the ground. Discouraged, Rosie deems…

Book cover of Warrior Scarlet

Wendy J. Dunn Author Of The Light in the Labyrinth

From my list on Rosemary Sutcliff for history loving teenagers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Australian author passionate about history. Alas, not Australian history. That would make my life so much easier. As a child, I loved tales of ancient Greece. That love took me in two directions—Ancient Egypt and Ancient Rome—Ancient Rome introduced me to Roman Britain, and the Roman Britain novels of Rosemary Sutcliff. My love of history probably explains why a childhood friend gave me a child’s book of English history for my tenth birthday. One of the book’s chapters told the story of Elizabeth I. As she wont to do in her own times, Elizabeth hooked me, keeping me captured ever since, and enslaved to writing and learning more about Tudors.

Wendy's book list on Rosemary Sutcliff for history loving teenagers

Wendy J. Dunn Why did Wendy love this book?

From her earliest years, Sutcliff knew firsthand what it was to live with and surmount painful disability. She understood what it was to be ‘the other’—to be looking from the outside on those able to live ‘normal’ lives. It is not surprising then that many of her stories include main characters who powerfully prove you do not need to be able-bodied to triumph over life. Set in the British Bronze age, this novel is one of those stories. Dem wants to take his place as a warrior of his tribe but must kill a wolf single-handedly to claim his warrior’s scarlet cloak. How can kill his wolf when he was born with a withered arm? With great sensitivity, skill, and prose often close to poetry, Sutcliff brings the Bronze age and its people alive in this wonderfully told story.  

By Rosemary Sutcliff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Drem longs for the day he will win his Warrior Scarlet. But with a withered spear arm, how will he take part in the ritual Wolf Slaying which will prove his worth as a man of the tribe?

With over forty books to her credit, Rosemary Sutcliff is now universally considered one of the finest writers of historical novels for children. Winer of the Carnegie Medal and many other honours, Rosemary was awarded a CBE in 1992 for services to children's literature.

Book cover of All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook

Nora Raleigh Baskin Author Of Ruby on the Outside

From my list on stories for and about children of incarcerated parents.

Why am I passionate about this?

There are 2.2 million people behind bars in the United States—more than any other country in the world —in greatly disproportionate demographic numbers. There are mandatory drug sentencing laws that put fathers and mothers, sometimes both, away for many years regardless of their actual direct involvement in a crime. I wrote this book because no matter how one feels about these laws, or these crimes, if 2.2 million adults are incarcerated, there are at least as many children without mothers or fathers. Having lost my mother to suicide there are many connections, stigma, shame, and the hardship of reconciling a mother’s love in spite of the events that took her away from me.

Nora's book list on stories for and about children of incarcerated parents

Nora Raleigh Baskin Why did Nora love this book?

On the other end of the spectrum is a light and funny, extremely well-written, and poignant middle grade novel about a boy growing up with his mother inside prison walls. (Full disclosure, I cried at the end of the book.)

While it’s not realism, it brings attention to its readers, that the law is not perfect, and often the wrong people are in prison. The happy ending helps make this realization palpable for young readers, who nonetheless will get the message about criminal justice and being quick to judge. 

By Leslie Connor,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Junior Library Guild Selection * Kids' Indie Next List Pick From Leslie Connor, award-winning author of Waiting for Normal and Crunch, comes a soaring and heartfelt story about love, forgiveness, and how innocence makes us all rise up. All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook is a powerful story, perfect for fans of Wonder and When You Reach Me. Eleven-year-old Perry was born and raised by his mom at the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility in tiny Surprise, Nebraska. His mom is a resident on Cell Block C, and so far Warden Daugherty has made it possible for them…

Book cover of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Mike Schnaidt Author Of Creative Endurance: 56 Rules for Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Your Goals

From my list on books to help you achieve your creative goals.

Why am I passionate about this?

As both a professor of graphic design and creative director of Fast Company, I’m dedicated to helping others be more creative. At Fast Company, my job is to ensure the visuals for the world’s leading business media brand are consistently innovative. (Yea…no pressure.) Honestly, sometimes it’s tough to be innovative when I’m faced with a squeezed schedule, a towering to-do list, and a bargain basement budget. But, as a marathoner, I’ve learned that if you want to be successful, you need to push through sub-optimal circumstances. That’s where these five books come into play: they all provide relatable stories and insights into achieving success, despite tough odds. Let’s do this.

Mike's book list on books to help you achieve your creative goals

Mike Schnaidt Why did Mike love this book?

Chapter 3: “Effort Counts Twice” makes me feel seen. I don't consider myself to be the most talented designer or writer, but I’ll rewrite a story over and over until it’s just right.

Hard work is a common theme in Grit, and this chapter provides examples of teachers, artists, and businesspeople, all achieving success through hard work, instead of relying on natural talent.

By Angela Duckworth,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Grit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


In this must-read for anyone seeking to succeed, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth takes us on an eye-opening journey to discover the true qualities that lead to outstanding achievement. Winningly personal, insightful and powerful, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that - not talent or luck - makes all the difference.

'Impressively fresh and original' Susan Cain

Book cover of The Wanderer

Coralie Bickford-Smith Author Of The Fox and the Star

From my list on children’s stories that adults will love as well.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an author, illustrator, and book designer. I never lost my childhood wonder at the printed page. When I write my own books, I create stories for both adults and children with deep meaning weaved into seemingly naive text and images. I enjoy creating worlds in which stories are told for children's and adults' imaginations to coexist. I think being dyslexic led me to enjoy aspects of visual storytelling so much. I have worked in publishing for many years and I am well known for my work on the Penguin clothbound classics where I use my visual illustration style to entice readers new and old to read classic stories and escape into new worlds.

Coralie's book list on children’s stories that adults will love as well

Coralie Bickford-Smith Why did Coralie love this book?

This book has recently been published, so I have only known it as an adult. When I opened its pages, I got lost in the complexity of the illustrations, there was much minute detail in the images. I was mesmerized. I just know I would have adored this book as a child. There are no words, just pictures to take you on an adventure. I find this an absolute treasure of a book that inspires me to make my own story to fill in the narrative. I imagine looking at this book with a child and the fun of piecing the story together using our combined imaginations. 

By Peter Van den Ende,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Wanderer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

"Wonderfully strange and strangely wonderful, Peter Van Den Ende's Wanderer is an epic dream captured in superbly meticulous detail."-Shaun Tan

As with Shaun Tan's The Arrival, it gives us collective goosebumps to introduce the singular talent and imagination of Peter Van Den Ende to North America. Without a word, and with Escher-like precision, van den Ende presents one little paper boat's journey across the ocean, past reefs and between icebergs, through schools of fish, swaying water plants, and terrifying sea monsters. The little boat is all alone, and while its aloneness gives it the chance to wonder at the fairy-tale…