Mentor Texts for Teaching Perseverance

Picture books are an important part of my character education lessons for perseverance!

These picture books are great read alouds for morning meetings or any time you focus on social-emotional learning!

I love using each one as a springboard for a discussion about having perseverance and how we need to keep trying and be determined, even when things get hard!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you purchase through one of these links, The Teacher Next Door, LLC receives a few cents on the dollar. This commission directly supports us as a small business and ensures that we can continue to create high-quality content for upper elementary teachers, like yourself! As always, the products shared are tried, true, and tested. Enjoy!


Songbird Mentor Text

1. Songbird

Songbird by Jenn Larson (that’s me!) is a story about Sydney Sparrow, a small bird with an out-of-the-ordinary dream! Sydney wants to become a conductor after hearing the New York Philharmonic Orchestra play in Central Park near her home. With some courage and lots of determination, she works hard to make her dream come true.

I LOVE using this as a discussion about how to set a goal and work hard to make that dream come true! 


Sam and Dave Dig a Hole Mentor Text

2. Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett is a humorous picture book in which boys Sam and Dave embark on a quest to find that spectacular something. In the book, they start to dig, and dig, and dig, until they find… absolutely nothing!

This book is a great book to share with students about how failures are part of the journey and may lead us to new understandings and insights along the way.


Cloudette Mentor Text

3. Cloudette

Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld is a cute picture book about a small cloud who is able to do big things, with lots of work and pure determination!


Jabari Jumps Mentor Text

4. Jabari Jumps

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwell is about a young boy, Jabari, who has tried and tried to find the courage to jump off the big diving board. One day, after finishing swimming lessons, he decides to try one more time! His friends wonder, will he make it this time?


The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires Mentor Text

5. The Most Magnificent Thing

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires is a charming story in which a girl and her dog set out to make the most magnificent thing. Feeling defeated after much hard work and lots of failures along the way, the girl goes for a walk and soon realizes what she must do to succeed!


Flight School Mentor Text

6. Flight School

Flight School by Lita Judge is the fun tale of an eager penguin who is determined to fly. Penguin has a clear goal and is tenacious as he enrolls in flight school to make his dreams come true.


Stuck Mentor Text

7. Stuck

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers is a silly but fun story of a little boy whose kite gets stuck up a tree. At first, he tries to get his kite down by throwing a shoe at it, but then it gets stuck too.

Students love this book and its surprise ending. It’s a great book to use as inspiration for a “chain of events” type of narrative writing.


8. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by Bryan Mealer and William Kamkwamba, is a heart-warming true story about how fourteen-year-old William Kamkwamba figured out how to build a windmill to bring electricity to his village during a terrible drought. You’ll enjoy this amazing story of determination!


A Chair for My Mother Mentor Text

9. A Chair for My Mother

A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams is based on a true story and is written in memory of the author’s mother. In Williams’ colorful picture book, she writes about a family whose home is destroyed by a fire. Rosa, her mother, and grandmother work together to save their coins to buy a comfortable chair they’ll all enjoy.


Joan Proctor, Dragon Doctor Mentor Text

10. Joan Proctor, Dragon Doctor

Joan Proctor, Dragon Doctor by Joan Valdez is a picture book biography about scientist Joan Procter. Procter, named Curator of Reptiles at the British Museum, works tirelessly to learn about reptiles and forms a lifelong bond with a Komodo Dragon in the process.


I hope these read alouds have given you a few new ideas for some mentor texts to share with your students.

Besides mentor texts, I love to do other social-emotional activities in the classroom.

Character Education Perseverance - SEL Perseverance Activities in Print and Digital

This Perseverance Unit includes discussion task cards, a self-reflection quiz, a mentor text list, a perseverance activities page, a sort, a character trait poster, perseverance awards, and detailed teacher notes. To find out more, CLICK HERE.

Character Education Bundle in Print and Digital

If you’d like to take a look at the very complete Character Education Unit, which has enough materials to help you teach Character Education for the entire year, CLICK HERE



Thanks for stopping by!


The Teacher Next Door - Creating upper elementary resources that target standards for busy teachers


You might also like...

The Teacher Next Door - Creating upper elementary resources that target standards for busy teachers

Hi, I’m Jenn, CEO and owner of The Teacher Next Door!

I know that you strive to be an effective upper elementary teacher while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

In order to do that, you need resources that are impactful,
yet simple.

The problem is that most resources and curriculums out there are far from simple. The pages upon pages of daily lesson plans are just plain overwhelming.

At TTND, we believe teachers should be living their lives outside of the classroom, and not spend hours lesson planning and searching for resources.

We understand that now, more than ever, teachers need space to be themselves which is why we create and support teachers with timesaving tips and standards-aligned resources.

Want access to TTND's Free Resource Library? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll email you the exclusive password!





* Please note: If your school has strong email filters, you may wish to use your personal email to ensure access.

Cookie Consent Banner by Real Cookie Banner