Children’s Literature and Guided Questions



 Picture Book for K-3

Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Osafa Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson and Sean Squalls (Schwartz and Wade, 2018

Summary: Emmanuel, a boy from Ghana, born with a disability, persists in his dreams to ride a bicycle across Africa, overcoming the dismissals of others.


1. What dream or wish would you be willing to work hard for in order to do?

2. Why does encouragement help people achieve their dreams? Do you think Emmanuel could have achieved his dream without his mother’s encouragement?

3. What accomplishment of Emmanuel’s required the most persistence? Why do you think so?

4. When you persist are you always successful? If you fail, does that mean you can’t succeed? How long should you keep trying when you don’t succeed? When do you know you should stop?

5. How did the people around Emmanuel affect him as he worked toward what he want to do?


For Grades 4-7

For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai’s Story by Rebecca Langston-George and illustrated by Janna Bock (Capstone Press, 2016)

Summary: A true story of Malala’s persistence for the education of girls.


1. Why do you think Malala was willing to risk her life to help herself and all young women get educational opportunities?

2. When have you been persistent? When have you seen someone else persist?

3. Can you think of a time when you wish you’d been more persistent? What was it? Can you think of something where you were persistent where you wish you hadn’t tried as hard as you did?

 4. Has there been a time when someone has been persistent to get you to do something? What happened?

5. How was Malala’s persistence helped by others? How does encouragement help you in getting something done?


Other Worthy Books

Grades K-3 She Persisted: 13 Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger (Philomel Books, 2017) Biographies on persistent women.

Grades K-3 She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History by Chelsea Clinton, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger (Philomel Books, 2019)  More stories of women who persisted and how this affected others.

Grades 1-4  I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debby Levy, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley (Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016)  The Notorious RBG as presented to children.

Grades K-3 Brave Irene by William Stieg (Square Fish, 2011)  The classic book of a young girl who helps her sick mother by delivering a gown to a duchess despite a raging snowstorm.

Grades K-3 Anything is Possible by Guilia Beloni and illustrated by Marco Trevisan (Owl Kids, 2013)  A sheep and wolf dream to create a flying machine.

Grades K-4 Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss (Random House Books for Young Readers, 1954)   Horton persists when others don’t believe him.

Grades 4-7 Hidden Figures (Young Readers’ Edition) by Margot Lee Shetterley (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2016)  The stories of three African-American women who made huge contributions to the efforts to get to outer space

Grades 3-7 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith (Avon Camelot, 1969)  Two dogs persist in finding their stolen puppies.

Grades 4-7 Holes by Louis Sachar (Yearling, 2001)  A reluctant Stanley Yelnats persists against all odds to change his life.

Grades 4-7 Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford (Yearling, 1997)  Two dogs and cats persist in a journey across Canada to find their owner.

Grades K-5 Shingebiss: An Ojibwe Tale retold by Nancy Van Laan (HMH Books for Young Readers, 1997)  A small duck quietly persists through a winter and the angry North Wind

Grades 1-6 The Garden of Abdul Gasazi by Chris Van Allsburg (HMH Books for Young Readers, 1979) When persistence goes wrong….