Booklists | June 15, 2021

4 Inspirational Books with Life-Changing Lessons for Kids


Book Covers

Books are invaluable tools that can help harness children’s immense potential. They teach kids crucial life skills that set them up for success later in life. These stories also provide kids with the inspiration to change their communities and the world.

Youth represent tremendous potential for our collective future. The ones that we’ve been lucky to meet are often incredibly ambitious and optimistic  – no matter the challenges they face. If each of these individuals was equipped with the right skills, they could be change makers not only in their communities, but across entire countries, and the continent.

Over the past years, we’ve seen a growing number of youth taking a stand for what they believe – youth who aren’t afraid to change the world. Greta Thunberg famously said “you’re never too small to make a difference.”  At the age of 15, she began a solo climate protest by striking from school. Since then, she has become one of the world’s most visible campaigners for action on climate change. William Kamkwamba was only 13 years old when he built a wind turbine to power electrical appliances in his family’s house in Kasungu, Malawi. All he used was bicycle parts, blue gum trees, and materials collected in a local scrapyard.

We’ve come up with a list of 4 BookSmart books teaching important life skills like resilience, critical thinking, and communication to help more kids make a difference.

The Forward and Backward City

The Forward and Backward City by Diwa Boateng

Published by Voices of Future Generations

Ages 6-8

Kabwe and Tatenda live in the same city but have completely different lives: one boy has all the food and gadgets in the world while the other goes to bed hungry and plays with cardboard toys. Once they become friends, however, no one can stop them in their fight for justice and equality.

► Read it here.

► Leer en español aquí.

The Small Sparrow Hero

The Small Sparrow Hero by Huang Yun-Hung

Published by Voices of Future Generations

Ages 6-8

In this inspiring story, the Small Sparrow Hero, Ruei-Ruei, learns about the dangers of human interference with nature. His human friend, Xiao-Yu, learns about the Sustainable Development Goals and how to put them into practice. And both the bird and human communities learn the importance of working together for the common good.

► Read it here.

Graça's Dream

Graça’s Dream by Melissa Fagan, Karlien de Villiers, and Marike le Roux

Published by Book Dash

Ages 6-8

The inspiring story of Graça Machel, and her dream to instill a love for reading and learning in the children of Mozambique and the rest of Africa.

► Read it here.

The Wooden Camel

The Wooden Camel by Wanuri Kahiu

Published by Lantana Publishing

Ages 6-8

Etabo dreams of being a camel racer. But with the price of water rising, Etabo’s father must sell the camels, and his siblings must find work. What will Etabo do now? This story of love and hope centres on the inspiring Turkana people of north-west Kenya.

► Read it here.

Love our recommendations? Get them in your inbox.