Kids struggle with things all the time, but one way we can help them learn to not give up is to use mentor texts with themes of determination and perseverance. Literature that models these skills can make a huge difference. In this post, I’ll share two books that I love that help model and build perseverance.
Modeling Perseverance with Thank You Mr. Falker:
The first choice for me is Thank You Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco. In fact, I think many of her books include themes of perseverance. I start with this book every year, and my favorite scene is when her grandfather pours the honey on the book to show the sweetness of reading. I’ve thought about doing that in class many times, but I treasure my library so much that I hate the thought of ruining the books. When I share it, I swear, I look a little like this by the end. Anyone else?
The thing about this book that gets to me is the image of Patricia actually living through years of heartache and no one noticing. I think it’s honestly a book that has motivated me to be the teacher I am today. I just can’t bear the thought of a child leaving my class with reading issues going unnoticed. (so I’m off the topic of perseverance a bit there…sorry). Anyway, children who struggle need to realize they are not alone and that through hard work and focused assistance, they are not destined to a life of poor reading. Click HERE to check out my unit or use the buy now button below.
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
The second book I just love is Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman. The book has a black female named Grace as the main character, and Grace has grown up spending most of her life in dramatic play. She shoots up her hand when her class is getting ready to assign roles for Peter Pan, and Grace wants to be Peter. Naturally, there are some who believe she has no place in the cast much less in the lead because A: She’s a girl. AND B: She is black.
Grace has moments when she fails to believe in herself, but when this happens, her grandmother, who has been her mentor for a long, long time, calls her on it. She pushes her to believe in herself and work harder to earn the role (perseverance). There are so many life lessons in this one, and it is a must teach in third to fourth grades.
Girls need strong leaders, and this book is one of those books girls need to hear. But really, Grace is an example for all. If you’d like to check out this unit, just click the image to the right. You can also grab it from my shop using the direct link below.
What are your favorite books for teaching perseverance? Share them in the comments below.