Books for Raising Resilience in Kids of All Ages

Grandfather reading a book to two young girls Every good story has ups and downs. And when the characters overcome those ups and downs, they build resilience.

Use the books on our reading lists below to teach your child about resilience (the ability to handle life's ups and downs). Whether you're reading these books with your child, or encouraging them to read on their own, have an open conversation about the books using our reflection questions below. Talk about how the characters felt, or how they expressed and coped with their feelings. Help your child see how the characters were resilient, and how they can learn to be resilient, too.

We're piloting our Raising Resilience book program with the DeKalb County Public Library. Visit your DeKalb County library branch, or any public library, to check out the books on our reading lists below.

Use these reflection questions to start a conversation, think about the book and share feelings and thoughts.

  1. Resilience is the ability to handle life’s ups and downs.
    • What ups and downs did the main character face?  
    • How did they handle the ups and downs?  
    • What would you do if you were in a similar situation? 
  2. What are some of the feelings the characters felt? When do you feel any of those feelings?
  3. Did any of the characters experience more than one feeling at the same time? If you were in their shoes, how would you handle that?
  4. Were you able to relate to anything the main character thought or felt? If yes, how so?
  5. What’s something that surprised you about this book?
  6. Did any of the characters remind you of yourself? If yes, how so?
  7. What’s one thing you learned from this book that you’d like to try?
  8. Did this book give you any new ideas about yourself? If so, what?
  9. Did this book make you think differently about any situations you’ve been in or any experiences you’ve had? 
  10. Who helped the characters? Who helps you in your life?
  11. If you were one of the characters, would you have done anything differently?
  12. If you could only tell someone one thing about this book, what would you tell them? 

Reading to your baby, even at this young age, promotes their brain, language and emotional development. It can also be a great way for you and your baby to bond. Try making it part of your baby’s daily routine, such as before naps or bedtime. Here are some recommended books for infants that can help build resilience.

  • Making Faces by Abrams Appleseed
  • Crayons' Book of Feelings by Drew Daywalt
  • Yoga Baby by Amy Hovey
  • In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek

Reading books to your toddler can improve their language skills and emotional development. It can also be an opportunity for you to spend quality time together bonding. Whether it’s before bed to help your toddler wind down for the night or anytime during the day, reading together is a great way to bond. Here are some books that our therapists and librarians from DeKalb County Public Library recommend for building resilience in toddlers.

  • Making Faces by Abrams Appleseed
  • Calming Music Book by Usborn Books
  • Crayons' Book of Feelings by Drew Daywalt
  • The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerilizzi
  • Yoga Baby by Amy Hovey
  • ABC of Feelings by Bonnie Lui
  • Tough Guys Have Feelings Too by Keith Negley
  • A Perfectly Messed Up Story by Patrick McDonnell
  • Today I Feel by Madealena Moniz
  • The Feelings Book by Todd Parr
  • Ruby Finds a Worry by Tom Percival
  • The ABCs of Yoga for Kids by Teresa Anne Powers
  • The Wind May Blow by Sasha Quinton
  • In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek
  • What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada
  • I Am the Storm by Jane Yolen

Did you know that reading to your preschooler helps them grow mentally and emotionally? Reading can also be an opportunity for caregivers and kids to bond and wind down before bed. But your preschooler can benefit from reading together anytime, anywhere. Check your local library to see if they carry any of these books that our therapists and DeKalb County librarians recommend for building resilience in preschoolers.

  • Sometimes You Fly by Katherine Applegate
  • Calming Music Book by Usborn Books
  • Calm at the Resturant by Alexandra Cassal
  • Little Elliot Big Fun by Mike Curato
  • Today I Feel Silly by Jamie Lee Curtis
  • The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerilizzi
  • Daniel Vists the Doctor by Becky Friedman
  • Tomorrow I'll Be Brave by Jessica Hische
  • How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers
  • Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats
  • My Feelings and Me by Holde Kreul
  • Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang
  • The Color Monster by Anna Llenas
  • ABC of Feelings by Keith Negley
  • Tough Guys Have Feelings Too by Bonnie Lui
  • A Perfectly Messed Up Story by Patrick McDonnell
  • Today I Feel by Madealena Moniz
  • Yoga for Kids: Simple Animal Poses for Any Age by Lorena Pajalunga
  • The Feelings Book by Todd Parr
  • Just Because I Am: A Child's Book of Affirmations by Lauren Payne
  • Ruby Finds a Worry by Tom Percival
  • The ABCs of Yoga for Kids by Teresa Anne Powers
  • The Wind May Blow by Sasha Quinton
  • Niko Draws a Feeling by Robert Raczka
  • It's Brave to Cry by Rebecca Robinson
  • Visiting Feeling by Lauren Rubenstein
  • After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Up Again by Dan Santat
  • The Thing Lou Couldn't Do by Ashley Spires
  • The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
  • Am Courage: A Book of Resilience by Susan Verde
  • What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada
  • I Am the Storm by Jane Yolen

Whether you’re reading together with your elementary schooler, or your child is beginning to read on their own, reading can help your child grow mentally and emotionally. And reading together, or talking about books they’ve read, can be a great way for you and your child to bond. Visit your local library to see if they carry any of the following books for building resilience in elementary schoolers. 

  • Sometimes You Fly by Katherine Applegate
  • Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
  • Calming Music Book by Usborn Books
  • The Way I Feel by Janan Cain
  • Calm at the Resturant by Alexandra Cassal
  • Little Elliot Big Fun by Mike Curato
  • Today I Feel Silly by Jamie Lee Curtis
  • The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerilizzi
  • Daniel Vists the Doctor by Becky Friedman
  • Listening to My Body by Gabi Garcia
  • Find Your Calm by Gabi Garcia
  • When Lions Roar by Robie Harris
  • I Think, I Am!: Teaching Kids the Power of Affirmations by Louise Hay
  • Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
  • Tomorrow I'll Be Brave by Jessica Hische
  • How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers
  • Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats
  • My Feelings and Me by Holde Kreul
  • Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang
  • The Color Monster by Anna Llenas
  • Tough Guys Have Feelings Too by Keith Negley
  • A Perfectly Messed Up Story by Patrick McDonnell
  • Today I Feel by Madealena Moniz
  • I Am Darn Tough by Licia Morelli
  • Yoga for Kids: Simple Animal Poses for Any Age by Lorena Pajalunga
  • The Don't Worry Book by Todd Parr
  • The Feelings Book by Todd Parr
  • Just Because I Am: A Child's Book of Affirmations by Lauren Payne
  • Ruby Finds a Worry by Tom Percival
  • The ABCs of Yoga for Kids by Teresa Anne Powers
  • The Wind May Blow by Sasha Quinton
  • Niko Draws a Feeling by Robert Raczka
  • It's Brave to Cry by Rebecca Robinson
  • Visiting Feeling by Lauren Rubenstein
  • After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Up Again by Dan Santat
  • Feelings from A to Z by Todd Snow
  • The Thing Lou Couldn't Do by Ashley Spires
  • The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
  • Am Courage: A Book of Resilience by Susan Verde
  • What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada

Reading can be a relaxing activity for middle schoolers (at bedtime or any time during the day). And it can be a great way for kids to cope when they’re stressed. . Reading the same book and talking about it together can also create an opportunity to connect with your preteen. Here are books recommended by our therapists and librarians from DeKalb County Public Library for building resilience in middle schoolers.

  • The Water Bears by Kimberly Baker
  • El Deafo by Cece Bell
  • Across the Desert by Dusti Bowling
  • Efren Divided by Ernesto Cisneros
  • New Kid by Jerry Craft
  • Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz
  • Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
  • The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart
  • Real Friends by Shannon Hale
  • Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  • When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson
  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
  • 13 Things Strong Kids Do: Think Big, Feel Good, Act Brave by Amy Morin
  • In a Flash by Donna Napoli
  • Pax by Sara Pennypacker
  • The Red Pencil by Andrea T. Pinkney
  • Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
  • Land of the Cranes by Aida Salazar
  • Counting by 7s by Holly Sloan
  • Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

Reading can help your teen to calm their body and mind or cope with stress. It can also help your high schooler relax before bed or any time during the day. Try reading the same book and talking about it together to connect with your teen. Check out our recommend books for building resilience in high schoolers.

Non-fiction

  • Shout: A Poetry Memoir by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • The Stress Survival Guide for Teens: CBT Skills to Worry Less by Jeffrey Bernstein
  • Say Her Name by Zeta Elliott
  • Apple: Skin to the Core; A Memoir in Words and Pictures by Eric Gansworth
  • Activist: A Story of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Shooting by Lauren Hogg
  • Call Me American by Abdi Nor Iftin
  • We Are Not Broken by George M. Johnson
  • Living Beyond Borders: Growing up Mexican in America by Margarita Longoria
  • Collateral Damage: The Mental Health Effects of the Pandemic by Carla Mooney
  • Ain't Burned All The Bright by Jason Reynolds
  • Rad American History A-Z by Kate Schatz
  • Somebody Give This Heart a Pen by Sophia Thakur

Fiction

  • With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • How It All Blew Up by Arvin Ahmadi
  • The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Allyson Braithwaite Condie
  • Dancing at the Pity Party by Tyler Feder
  • Trees of the Road by Rachel Hartman
  • Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
  • The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson
  • Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart
  • We Are Not From Here by Jenny Sanchez Torres

Parent guides

  • Swimming Upstream: Parenting Girls for Resilience in a Toxic Culture by Laura Hensley Choate
  • A Parent's Guide to Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Your Child Roots and Wings by Kenneth Ginsburg
  • Ready or Not: Preparing our Kids to Thrive in an Uncertain and Rapidly Changing World by Madeline Levine
  • The Resilient Teen by Sheela Raja
  • The Yes Brain: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity, and Resilience in Your Child by Daniel J. Siegel
  • The Unlikely Art of Parental Pressure: a Positive Approach to Pushing Your Child to Being Their Best Self by Chris Thurber