Being determined means taking one step at a time until you reach your goal. It is doing something you want to even if it is really hard.

This is a list of children’s picture books that are about determination. I’ve included these books because, in addition to a positive message, they are fun to read. Some are funny, or have great illustrations, and all of them held my attention and the attention of my kids. I hope you enjoy them, too.

Here is an idea to help jump-start a discussion about this virtue with kids:

Try the VirtueGame! It teaches 10 virtues in a fun, engaging way.



Sink or Swim by Valerie Coulman, illustrated by Roge Girard

This is a cute book with fun illustrations. Ralph is a cow who wants to swim. Everyone tells him that cows don’t swim, but he tries and tries again.

Oliver Finds His Way by Phyllis Root

When Oliver gets lost he cries and is scared, but his determination helps him find his way home.

The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper

The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Iza Trapani

The bravest Dog Ever, The True Story of Balto by Natalie Standiford

Balto is the lead sled dog on an experienced team that runs through a terrible storm to bring medicine to a small, remote town in Alaska during an outbreak.

A chair for my mother by Vera B. Williams

A child, her waitress mother, and her grandmother save dimes to buy a comfortable armchair after all their furniture is lost in a fire.