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Picture Books About Courage And Perseverance

I finally read Pink Fire Trucks to my first grade class. I read it in conjunction with several picture books where the overarching message or theme was courage. Courage (as defined by dictionary.com) is the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty or to have the courage of one’s convictions, to act in accordance with one’s beliefs, especially in spite of criticism.

We discussed instances where we have been afraid and where we have had to put on our “brave hat” in order to move forward and persevere.  I shared that I was deathly afraid of jumping off the high diving plank when I was taking swimming lessons as a young kid.  The students shared they are afraid of sleeping in the dark, sleeping alone, swimming in the ocean because a shark could bite you and of being called on by the teacher when they don’t know the answer. My heart melted at this last comment and I told them, “Get comfortable with not knowing the answer. It’s OK because none of us will ever know all of the answers. What matters is that we keep on trying, learning and most importantly, don’t ever give up.”

As we read the different picture books, the students were able to see how the characters faced difficult challenges and how through hard work they found the courage to persevere.  One student commented, “That’s hard work, huh Ms. Barbieri?”  I responded, “Sure is. There are two types of people. People that make it happen and people that come up with a bunch of excuses. Which one do you want to be?”

They all said they wanted to make things happen. On the back of the fire truck art project they wrote what they want to be when they grow up. I have a few doctors, astronauts, fire fighters, teachers and future Presidents of the United States of America. I hope so!

These are the books that I read:

1. Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman

2. Grace For President by Kelly DiPucchio

3. Unspoken by Henry Cole

4. The Little Seahorse by Sheri Fink