Theme Study: Perseverance

Jessica Miller

For 1st-4th Grade Teachers:

The following books are great stories about what it means to have perseverance. This list includes a variety of texts so that you can choose one that best fits your class. Any of these books would be great to introduce perseverance to your students. After reading a book aloud, you can facilitate a class discussion about what perseverance means and how the character in the book displayed perseverance. Following the class discussion, your students should think of a challenge in their own life and brainstorm ways they can persevere through that challenge. They can write about their challenge and how they plan to persevere through it. When each student is finished they can share their thoughts and plans to the class. This is a great way to motivate students and show them how important it is to have perseverance.

D.W. Flips by Marc Brown

D.W. was excited for her gymnastics class until she discovered she was in the baby class. She wanted to do flips and she thought she was ready. On the first day of class they learned how to do the forward roll. D.W. was so confident but when she tried it out she realized it was harder than she thought. She went home and practiced every chance she could. When the time came for the next class D.W. was ready and she showed the class how she could roll. Her hard work paid off and she learned how to do the forward roll.

Giant Steps to Change the World by Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee

This is a book that provides inspiration about activism and taking the big steps to set things right. By highlighting people throughout history who have taken giant steps, this book motivates children to follow in their footsteps and not be afraid that they aren't good enough. Taking giant steps is not easy but even small actions can make a huge difference. This is great book to challenge students with making giant steps in their own life. How can they make a difference in their community?

Martin de Porres the Rose in the Desert by Gary O. Schmidt

Martin de Porres was the son of a Spanish nobleman and a former slave and was born into extreme poverty. His mother wanted the church to allow him into the priesthood. However Martin was instead accepted to be a servant boy. Martin began performing miracles by healing people and everyone soon heard the astonishing news. Soon enough Martin was finally received by the Dominican Order and no longer known as a worthless son of a slave, but rather a saint and the rose in the desert.

Django by Bonnie Christensen

The main character, Django Reinhardt, was a man who was born into extreme poverty in a Gypsy encampment. Moving from place to place he didn't have any schooling, reading or writing. He had to work to catch his food and went through several hardships along the way. Dreaming of playing music and determined to learn the guitar, he found himself in Paris where he became known as "Gypsy Genius" and "Prodigy Boy". Although he was given several opportunities he always chose to return back home. One night something unexpectedly happened and Django found himself in danger. After this tragic accident, Django was told he could never play the guitar again. He couldn't be stopped and he overcame tremendous obstacles and debilitating injuries to become the world's most renowned jazz guitarist.

Practice Makes Perfect for Rotten Ralph by Jack Gantos & Nicole Rubel

The carnival is in town! Ralph is so excited and ready to win prizes. Ralph's friend Percy seems to be better than him because he has been practicing for days but Ralph claims he does't need to practice because he's a natural. When they get to the carnival and start playing games things aren't looking too good for Ralph but Percy keeps winning prizes. Ralph begins to get tired of losing and he decides to cheat his way to victory. But when Ralph's friends find out they are not very happy with him. Will Ralph decide practice is important and work hard to become better?