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Teaching Resilience and Resourcefulness with Literature

May 3rd, 2018

“The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse.”

~ Helen Keller

This month is another two-for-one when it comes to character traits – here’s what we’ll focus on for May:

Resilience: The ability to recover strength, determination, spirit, flexibility, and good humor in the face of change, mistakes and trials.

Catch phrase: The only real failure is to not try again.

Resourcefulness: To act effectively and imaginatively, to use information and available resources wisely and efficiently.

Catch phrase: You can figure this out!

Once again, we’ve compiled a short book list with suggested titles that highlight this month’s character traits: resilience and resourcefulness – two essential traits for succeeding at anything! Sometimes we need to be resilient or resourceful in order to make reading time happen. For instance, we love the photo above, of one of our SLOCA moms reading while pushing kids on the swings – very resourceful!

Keep trying to carve out that time to enjoy literature together, even when schedules are hectic or kids aren’t so enthusiastic. We hope you not only have a chance to nurture character through literature, but that you also have fun reading with your kids and talking about the big ideas in books!

Walk On!: A Guide for Babies of All Ages by Marla Frazee 

Suggested ages: 2-5

This is a handy and adorable guide for anyone about to take a big step into something unfamiliar, connecting new adventures to a task even the youngest child can relate to – learning to walk.

What! Cried Granny by Kate Lum

Suggested ages: 3-8

My kids LOVED this book when they were little. It's a hilarious story about a very prolonged bedtime ritual, featuring the most resourceful Grandma ever.

Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats

Suggested ages: 4-8

Here’s another story about Peter, the main character from The Snowy Day by the beloved author Ezra Jack Keats. In this tale of resilience, Peter tries and tries to learn how to whistle so his dog will come to him.

Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen 

Suggested ages: 4-8

The author of this story is a Pulitzer-prize winning editorial cartoonist, and the detailed illustrations are fun. Enjoy this story of a spunky science-loving girl who invents flying machines. If your kids like this book, also try Rosie Revere, Engineer, and Ada Twist, Scientist.


After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) by Dan Santat

Suggested ages: 4-8

Here’s an epilogue to the well-known nursery rhyme, about how Humpty confronts his fears after his great fall – and there’s a surprise ending!


Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman 

Suggested ages: 4-8

This adaptation of a Jewish folktale describes how a baby blanket is transformed over the years into other useful items, until it eventually becomes a beautiful story.

Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzber

Suggested ages: 4-8

A best-selling interactive book that teaches kids it’s okay to make a mistake, and that mistakes can spark creativity and create an opportunity to make something wonderful.

The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills 

Suggested ages: 5-9

Here’s a classic that is probably familiar to those who have read books from the Five in a Row curriculum. Even if you’ve read it before, this is a perfect time to enjoy this heartwarming story again. Set in the Appalachian mountains, it’s about a resourceful girl's special coat that testifies to the love and friendship of the people in her life.

Pippi Longstocking series by Astrid Lindgren

Suggested ages: 8-12

The crazy adventures of Pippi Longstocking delight all ages, and she certainly is resourceful!

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Suggested ages: 8-12

This Newbury Honor book is a humorous graphic novel memoir in which the author tells about her experience of losing her hearing at a young age, having to wear a bulky, awkward hearing aid, and longing to fit in.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Suggested ages: 10-14

An award-winning adventure story about a young teen who is the sole survivor after a plane crash in the wilderness. With only his hatchet, his resilience, and his resourcefulness, he manages to survive in the wild for 54 days.


The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

Suggested ages: 10-14

Talk about resilient and resourceful! This is the young readers version of the inspiring The New York Times bestselling memoir about the heroic young inventor William Kamkwamba, who brought electricity to his Malawian village. Click here for a short video about him. There’s also a feature film called William and the Windmill.

Here are this month’s downloadable mini-posters that you can print – click on the images to the right for the full-size PDFs:


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