Young Adult Novels that Teach Growth Mindset

5 Young Adult Novels that Teach Growth Mindset

Resilient! That's what we want to teach our students to be. When faced with adversity, it's important to help your students have a growth mindset. This means that instead of an attitude of "I can't" or "This is too hard" (a fixed mindset), students are encouraged to keep trying and have a "growth mindset". This concept can be illustrated through these young adult novels that teach growth mindset. Share these as read-alouds, literature circle selections, class novels, or independent reading selections with your upper elementary and middle school readers!

Young Adult Novels that Teach Growth Mindset

Clap When You Land

by Elizabeth Acevedo Camino Rios lives through something no child should have to go through. Not only is she separated from her father for months at a time, but on the way to one of his anticipated visits, he dies in a plane crash. Camino's world is shaken to its core, but in the process she grows and learns more about her family. Overcoming adversity is part of developing a growth mindset. Read this engaging novel to find out how Camino survives in a world without her father.

13 Little Blue Envelopes

by Maureen Johnson When her Aunt Peg dies, Ginny receives a letter with some cash and a plane ticket, ready to take her on an adventure she'll never forget. It's not just about discovering her aunt's story, but during her journey, Ginny learns more about herself than she could have ever imagined. Developing a growth mindset in itself is a journey that Ginny chooses to embrace throughout the story.

Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963

by Christopher Paul Curtis This historical fiction piece takes place in two places, Flint, Michigan and Birmingham, Alabama (and the stops in between). Kenny Watson is facing a lot of struggles in his young life with bullying (even from his big brother). When he goes on a trip with his family to Alabama to visit grandma and straighten his brother Byron up, he sees the world through a different lens when the events of 1963 rock the community, country, and the world. Watch Kenny and his Byron grow and change as they learn what it means to be empathetic and experience their own differences. Even the last chapter is all about the true theme of the story and growth mindset.

Dogs Don't Tell Jokes

by Louis Sachar Gary gets picked on a lot! What he really wants to do is make kids laugh. When he signs up for the school talent show, he is able to learn some lessons about self-esteem and respect that help him grow as an individual. Sachar's books always have a great message for upper elementary readers, and this story is no exception! Many of our students have struggled to stand out in a positive way and develop that "I can do this" growth mindset. This story speaks to that mentality.

Hello, Universe

by Erin Entrada Kelly Virgil, Valencia, Kaori, and Chett all tell their own stories in this novel about the choices people make and unexpected friendships. All four young people grow in this charming novel that focuses on bravery even when it's hard to be the brave one. Their lives become intertwined when Virgil is in a lot of trouble and the other three have to attempt to rescue him. Read more to find out what happens when four kids choose to be brave and grow together.

Growth Mindset Extension Activities

In addition to sharing these engaging texts, give your students a chance to explore more about fostering a growth mindset! I love using escape rooms with upper elementary and middle school students. Escape rooms are reading activities combined with puzzles and clues that lead to a solution. Students can play in teams or independently. Since many teachers may find themselves participating in remote learning in the fall, the growth mindset escape roomhas gone digital! All your students need is a Google account to participate. This particular escape room focuses on famous figures that have prevailed using a growth mindset. Check out readings and puzzles featuring:
  • Frida Kahlo
  • Taylor Swift
  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
  • Mahatma Gandhi
  • To begin, the Digital Escape Room includes 4 sets of activities: 1. Reading, Quiz, Cryptogram 2. Reading, Quiz, Maze 3. Reading, Quiz, Cipher 4. Reading, Quiz, Jigsaw Not only do the puzzles reveal interesting facts about growth mindset, it also takes a growth mindset to solve the escape room. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are all part of maintaining a positive growth mindset for your learners! If your students rush through the passages without reading, they won't solve the puzzles. Plain and simple. That encourages reading skills and focus, all part of a growth mindset. For learners with special needs in the area of reading or vision, there is a special "Read to Me" option available. Check out these engaging young adult novels that teach growth mindset. Your upper elementary and middle school readers will enjoy these stories and extend their learning with an exciting growth mindset escape room!

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