Books to Inspire Resiliency

photo of 2 children who inspire and build resilience

As parents and educators, we are always looking for books for young children that are well written, have wonderful illustrations and that will appeal to them. And if we can find books that they enjoy and that also provide comfort and demonstrate ways to cope with their everyday world, then that is even better.

Here is a selected list of books for young children that will help inspire and build their resilience. Through excellent story telling and well developed characters, these books deal with a number of issues such as resiliency, self-esteem, emotions, attachment and friendship. This list features 26 of our favourites. There are MANY more. For a longer list, have a look at the printable pdf link at the bottom of this article, or explore titles from Reaching IN... Reaching OUT.

  •  Giraffe and Bird by Rebecca Bender (2010): Giraffe and Bird don't get along and they don't even try. But when faced with a difficult situation realize that they are much better together.
  • When Sophie Gets Angry, Really Really Angry by Molly Bang (1999): All children will be able to relate to Sophie and how she copes with her feelings of anger.
  • Me and You by Genevieve Cote (2009): A gentle story of friendship and individuality where Rabbit and Pig realize they are best just being themselves.
  • I Know Here by Laurel Croza (2010): A little girl is fearful of moving from the only place she has ever known and gets wonderful advice from a caring teacher.
  • Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney (2009): Told in delightful rhyme, it's Llama Llama's first day at nursery school and he is missing his mama. Another in this series is Llama Llama Mad at Mama.
  • Ben Over Night by Sarah Ellis (2005): Ben loves playing at Peter's house, but the thought of a sleep over has him feeling very anxious. Find another story about how Ben copes when a friend moves away in Ben Says Goodbye.
  • Bernice Gets Carried Away by Hannah Harrison (2015): Everyone at the birthday party is having a good time except Bernice. Can this underdog turn her day around?
  • Extraordinary Jane by Hannah Harrison (2014): Jane is an ordinary dog in an extraordinary circus, or so she thinks. But her qualities of loyalty, friendship and kindness set her apart from the ordinary.
  • Little Owl Lost by Chris Haughton (2013): Little Owl has fallen from his nest and can't find his mother. With the help of the forest animals, they are reunited.
  • Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes (2000): Wemberly is a worrier! He worries about everything, especially starting school.
  • A Bargain for Frances by Russell Hoban (1970): Frances and Thelma are friends... at least most of the time. Thelma tricks Frances and that seems to be the last straw, but can Frances convince Thelma that losing a bargain is better than losing a friend?
  • Stuck by Oliver Jeffers (2011): When Floyd's kite gets stuck in the tree, he tries everything he can think of to get the kit down and his ideas just keep getting sillier and sillier.
  • Swimmy by Leo Lionni (1963): Swimmy and the other fish live in fear of being swallowed up by bigger fish but Swimmy shows his friends how, with teamwork and smart thinking, they can overcome danger. Other great books by Lionni are A Color of His Own, Frederick and Tillie and the Wall.
  • Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin (2012): One by one, Pete the Cat loses a button from his jacket, but is he upset? Oh no, because he always has his belly button!
  • Two Speckled Eggs by Jennifer K. Mann (2014): It's Ginger's birthday and she has to invite everyone in her class to the party, even Lyla who isn't like the others. But she learns that being different isn't such a bad thing.
  • Fox and Squirrel Make a Friend by Ruth Ohi (2014): Fox and Squirrel are best friends. But when Yellow Bird appears, it changes their dynamics. Is there room for one more friend?
  • I Don't Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty (2015): This frog wants to be warm and cute, not wet and slimy, but soon learns that being a frog has its advantages.
  • The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper (1954): The classic story of the little train engine that never gives up. I think I can... I think I can...
  • Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss (1990): With classic humorous verse and illustrations, readers are encouraged to find success that lies within. Also look for Dr. Seuss' My Many Colored Days.
  • The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires (2014): This young girl is going to make the most magnificent thing but learns it is harder than she thinks. She runs the gamut of emotions but will perserverance and creativity pay off in the end?
  • Red is Best by Kathy Stinson (1982): Kelly loves red... juice tastes better in the red cup; red mitts make better snowballs. No doubt about it: red is best!
  • Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard (2007): Bird wakes up feeling grumpy for no reason at all. Before he knows it, a walk and his friends help him shake his bad mood. Also look for the second in this series: Boo Hoo Bird.
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst (1972): Alexander is having a really bad day and learns that some days are just like that!
  • My New Friend is So Fun by Mo Willems (2014): Gerald the Elephant and Piggie are best friends. Is there room in their lives for other friends? Look for other books in the Elephant and Piggie series. They are all great for beginning readers.
  • How Do Dinosaurs Say I'm Mad by Jane Yolen (2013): With warmth and humour, these dinosaurs learn how to handle their emotions and are reminded that they are loved.
  • Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon (2012): Penguin learns that friends come in all shapes and sizes and when you give love it grows.


Target Age
0-3 , 3-6