Monday, June 26, 2017

My Favorite Books to Encourage Risk-Takers

One of the first lessons I do in my class at the beginning of a new school year is about taking risks. I explain very clearly that I am encouraging risk-taking like skateboarding off the roof of your house into a pool or anything, but risks like raising your hand even if you are not sure of the answer or getting up in front of people to speak. I was not much of a risk-taker growing up, if I'm being honest. I wish I had more of that in me when I was young. I always sat in the back of the class, never had the confidence to raise my hand or speak up. I envied people who had those traits. I think my fear of failing overtook my innovative thoughts.

 I would like to think that I am helping to empower my students to stand up in this world that encourages you to just go with the crowd.

These are my favorite books to echo those lessons:

This is a story of some chickens who are scared of EVERYTHING but they keep going on and in the end realize maybe they were braver than they thought.

This book is my all-time favorite book published in recent years. The penguin wants to fly and even though everyone tells him it just isn't in the stars, he makes it happen anyway.

I love the message of this book! Woolbur is who he is regardless of how much it makes his parents worry and everyone else look at him strangely. Sometimes just being an original is taking a risk.

A true story of a little girl in Cuba who wanted to play drums when only men were allowed to do that. She persisted and became a huge influence in music there.

Oddrey is a little, well, odd. Instead of changing herself to be more like the others (even if it would please her teacher) she ends up saving the day.

The boy stutters often, unless he is talking to animals. Another true story of someone taking a risk to do what they really believe in.

Ada has an innate curiosity which often gets her in trouble, but that she never gives up!

I had never heard this story before. Katherine Sessions was the first woman to graduate from the University of California with a science degree. She loved growing things and put that talent to use. When she moved to San Diego it made her sad that there was such a lack of vegetation-so she fixed that! Her work still makes the city beautiful.

I love this story about boys playing soccer with their new ball. Some bullies come to steal it away, but they use their minds and trick them so they get to keep the ball. Sometimes we have to take risks where we really feel scared.


  1. Your blog contains an amazing amount of helpful information for teachers. Such an inspiration and source of creativity. Thank you for sharing your gifts and talents Miss Trayers!

    1. Oh my goodness-thank you so much Debra! What kind words-very much appreciated. :)

  2. Your thoughts mirror so well the ideas in A Mindset for Learning. Our kids need opportunities to learn these skills while they're young.

    1. Yes! I wish I had been taught that more-just learning now. :)

    2. Yes! I wish I had been taught that more-just learning now. :)