Short Stories on Success for Kids

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Teaching children about success through literature can be a great way for them to reflect on what the concept means. The books in this lesson will help you get started taking this approach to teaching about success.

Why Read Stories about Success?

Are you trying to get your students or children to think positively and work toward success in different ways? Success can be a difficult issue to take on with children, since it's not simple to define and can mean different things for different people. One way to help kids think about what success means to them and why it matters is to provide them with literary examples. When kids read stories based around the theme of success, they can talk about the concept at a safe distance and talk about their own ideas and struggles through the characters. Meanwhile, reading about success can also be a wonderful way for kids to get deeply engaged in literature. Use the stories in this lesson as a starting point for talking about success with kids.

Stories about Success for Kids

This section offers the stories' titles, authors, and brief summaries, as well as ideas about what audience might find them appealing.

Mumbet's Declaration of Independence by Gretchen Woelfle

This story tells the powerful narrative of a slave woman named Mumbet. Mumbet lived in Massachusetts and was mistreated by her owners for many years. All the while, she dreamed of attaining freedom. Finally, she went to a lawyer who took on her case and helped her stand up for what she firmly believed was right. Mumbet wins freedom for herself and her daughter, showcasing the success that can come with determination and bravery! The story is based on a true story, and children who love history will find it especially meaningful.

Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester

Rodney is a rat whose speech difficulties make it hard for him to properly pronounce his own name. He really struggles with pronunciation, and this leads to social difficulties as well, since others make fun of him. Yet Rodney, in spite of sadness, never really lets go of his belief in himself, and this helps him achieve success on personal as well as social levels. The story is simple and humorous and will appeal to young readers.

A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams

The main character in this book lives with her mother, and they lose everything they have to a fire in their apartment. The girl and her mother are buoyed up by the support of others in their community, who bring them things for their new apartment. The narrator becomes determined to get her mother a new, comfortable chair, and she saves coins until they have enough to get the perfect one. Williams' beautiful illustrations will draw children in, and the story might be especially meaningful in teaching kids about success in spite of poverty and other adverse circumstances.

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