In partnership with Greater Richmond SCAN, HCPL is observing Resilience Week by contributing to a virtual bookshelf highlighting titles that contain themes of resilience and growth. Young people can be inspired to nurture their own resilience by reading about the experiences and actions of others – fictional or not. Read on for picks from SCAN and HCPL librarians for children and teens – all available online through OverDrive, Libby, or Hoopla with your HCPL card.
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires – For grades Pre-K-2, this picture book features a girl and her dog who want to make the most magnificent thing. Disappointed with their first attempt, they go for a walk, and discover what they need to do! Available on OverDrive.
After The Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) by Dan Santat – For Grades Pre-K-3, this inspiring picture book continues where the popular children’s rhyme leaves off. Available on OverDrive.
Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats – Recommended for children around Kindergarten age, this is a short story about Peter, who wants to whistle for his dog Willie, and doesn’t give up until he can. Available as an audiobook from Hoopla.
The Things Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires – Recommended for children in grades 1 and 2, this book follows Lou and her adventurous friends. When Lou is faced with a seemingly insurmountable new challenge, she learns the value of trying, even when something seems hard. Available on Hoopla.
Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln by Margarita Engle – Recommended for children in grades 1 and 2. Sometimes, all it takes is a little kind reassurance to know you can be great. Teresa Carreño was a gifted pianist who survived war in Venezuela and the United States. This short story, based on real events, shows how with kindness, compassion, and music we can support each other. Available as an audiobook on Hoopla.
A Different Pond by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thi Bui – Recommended for children in grades 2-4. This story is utterly heartwarming... a beautiful glance into the lives of a Vietnamese refugee family. Semi-autobiographical and told from the perspective of a young boy, it highlights the quiet struggles parents sometimes face in order to provide a food and a loving household. Available on OverDrive.
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson – Recommended for children in grades 3 and up. This wonderfully illustrated poem honors the many African American individuals who shaped American history. Alexander's powerful words along with Nelson's stunning, iconic illustration pays tribute to those overcame adversity to shine, as well as those who were lost. Brief biographies are included at the end, so you can learn more about the people featured. Available on OverDrive.
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park – Recommended for children in grades 4 and 5, this short novel is based on a true story of Salva Dut, who is separated from his family during the civil war in South Sudan. He undertakes a dangerous journey to find a refugee camp near the Gilo River, eventually resettling in New York state, reuniting with his father, and founding a nonprofit to help people in South Sudan access clean water. A parallel narrative follows Nya, a fictional character, who must walk long distances to access clean water, until a well is built in her village. Available on OverDrive.
El Deafo by Cece Bell – Recommended for children in grades 4-8, this award-winning autobiographical graphic novel tells the story of a young girl whose hearing aids give her superpowers – like hearing when the teacher is coming down the hall! She imagines herself as superhero El Deafo, and overcomes challenges to realize her inner strength. Available on Hoopla and OverDrive.
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper – Recommended for children in grades 4-8, this novel tells the story of Melody, a young girl with cerebral palsy who cannot speak, move, or write. Though she is highly intelligent, she cannot communicate this to those around her until she gets a special communication device, which allows her to ace a school trivia competition. Melody’s tenacity and bravery inspire the reader to never give up. Available on OverDrive in ebook and audiobook format.
Call Me Hope by Gretchen Olson – Recommended for grades 4-8, this novel follows Hope Elliot as she develops strategies to cope with her verbally abusive mother. She creates a support network and a points system for her mother, and displays resilience throughout. Available on OverDrive.
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen – Recommended for grades 4-8, this novel is a classic tale of survival and adventure, as young Brian Robeson must fend for himself in the Canadian wilderness after being the sole survivor of a plane crash. He learns survival skills and builds mental fortitude and maturity. Available on OverDrive in ebook and audiobook format.
One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt – Recommended for grades 4-8, this novel features Carley Connors, a twelve-year-old raised by her bon vivant mother in Las Vegas, until her mother’s actions land Carley in foster care. Her foster family, the Murphys, are busy, happy, and regimented. Carley learns how it feels to belong for the first time. Available on OverDrive in ebook and audiobook format.
This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Earl – Recommended for grades 6-12, this is a collection of journal entries, drawings, letters, and writings by Esther Earl as she faced terminal cancer before passing away at the age of 16. Esther’s bravery and kindness inspired John Green to dedicate The Fault In Our Stars to her, and will surely inspire you, too. Available on OverDrive.
Swing by Kwame Alexander – Recommended for grades 7-12, this acclaimed novel follows friends Walt and Noah, who have big dreams of athletic and romantic success that don’t always come true. Turning to art, jazz music, and friendship, the friends keep their dreams alive in the face of prejudice and unrest in their community and relationships. Available on OverDrive in ebook and audiobook format.
Dig by A.S. King – Recommended for grades 8-12, this is an award-winning examination of class and race privilege, family conflict, and the price the Hemmingses pay to maintain the veneer of respectability in a suburban community. Available on OverDrive in ebook and audiobook format.
What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel – Recommended for grades 8-12, this novel explores dating violence, victimhood, survivorship, and sexism in contemporary society, as a conflict unfolds at North Bay Academy high school. Available on OverDrive.
The Bite of the Mango by Mariatu Kamara – Recommended for grades 8-12, this memoir, set during the civil war in Sierra Leone, tells the author’s story of losing her family and home, while fiercely maintaining her will to live. She endures extraordinary hardship, and displays inimitable resilience, as she builds a new live in Canada. Available on OverDrive.
History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera – Recommended for grades 8-12, this moving meditation on loss and mental illness is heartbreaking and relatable – and demonstrates that acknowledging past trauma is essential to healing. Available on OverDrive.
If you are interested in learning more about Greater Richmond SCAN and resilience week, you can visit their website and check out their virtual library. To get more book recommendations featuring resilient characters and themes, try using My Next Read from HCPL for personalized reading list from our librarians.