50 Best Inspiring Books For Kids and Teens in 2023

What are some inspiring books for kids?

Are you looking for ways to inspire your kids?

And not just in the hopes of better teeth brushing and cleanliness.

We know that our kids are made for great things (even with peanut butter on their faces and stinky feet).

Featured image book collage; inspiring books for kids

This article will give you the best list of inspiring books for kids and teens. No matter what age your kids are, they could all use inspiration to become the people we KNOW they are capable of becoming.

These books are handpicked by a reading specialist for that!

*Use the Table of Contents to hop around for your child’s age level and interest.

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Inspirational Children’s Books

These inspiring picture books for younger kids are entertaining to read and will help you have great conversations with your child.

1. Ricky, The Rock That Couldn’t Roll by Mr. Jay and Erin Wozniak (Ages 2-6)

Ricky, The Rock That Couldn't Roll; inspirational children's books
Find it here!

When Ricky’s friends discover that he can’t roll with them on their favorite hill, they set out on a mission to help him. This is an inspiring and heartwarming book for young children.

2. The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi (Ages 5-8)

For young readers who feel frustrated with all the things they can’t do, comes an inspirational picture book that reminds them of the “yet”. After all, we all have things we haven’t learned to do….yet!

3. Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman (Ages 4-8)

Amazing Grace

Inspired by the stories her Grandma tells her, Grace doesn’t let anyone stop her when she wants the lead in the school play. Read Amazing Grace here.

4. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell (Ages 3-6)

*Teacher’s Pick

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon; short inspiring stories for kids

Anyone that has ever felt out of place will relate to Molly Lou Melon. She’s short, clumsy, and has buck teeth. When she starts a new school, Molly Lou will have to remember all she has learned about believing in herself.

5. She’s Got This by Laurie Hernandez (Ages 3-6)

*New York Times Bestseller

She's Got This

When Zoe sees a gymnast on TV, she discovers a new dream of Olympic size. But big dreams require work and bravery. This inspiring picture book is from Olympic gold medalist, Laurie Hernandez.

6. Inspiring Stories for Amazing Kids by Nadia Ross

Inspiring Stores for Amazing Kids; inspirational kids books for children
Get Yours Here!

This book is a great read aloud for young kids. It has 10 inspiring stories for boys and girls about inner strength, courage, and self-esteem. All kids will be able to connect with the stories and identify with the characters.

Inspirational Biographies For Kids: Ages 5-10

Biographies tell the story of someone’s life. From athletes to scientists, these inspiring kids biography books highlight people that overcame hardships to impact the world.

“I read a book one day and my whole life was changed.” Orhan Pamuk

7. Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson (Ages 5-9)

*Best Nonfiction Inspiring Books For Kids

Emmanuel's Dream: inspiring kids books for students

Emmanuel was born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg. Still, Emmanuel hopped two miles to school each day, played soccer, and became a cyclist. And all the while he was communicating a clear and inspiring message through action and word.

Emmanuel continues to champion on behalf of the disabled today.

<<Read this inspiring book for kids here!>>

8. Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis by Jabari Asim (Ages 5-8)

Preaching to the Chickens

John has dreams of becoming a preacher when he grows up, so he starts to preach to his family’s flock of chickens!

This book includes an inspiring author’s note about John Lewis who is a congressman and an activist still today.

9. Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille by Jen Bryant (Ages 3-10)

Six Dots; inspirational books for students and kids 7 year olds, 8 year olds

When Louis Braille lost his sight at the age of five, he invented his own alphabet so that he could read. His brilliant alphabet is still used by the blind community today.

<<Read this story here!>>

10. The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned To Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard (Ages 5-8)

*5 Stars on Amazon

The Oldest Student; inspirational kids books for 10 year olds

This book tells the story of Mary Walker, born in 1848 as a slave. At age 116, she learned how to read.

Read about Mary’s life and be inspired by this kids picture book biography.

11. On A Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne (Ages 3-8)

On A Beam of Light; inspiring books for kids 5 year olds

The curious or scientific child in your life will enjoy learning about Albert Einstein through this easy to understand picture book.

“In the middle of a difficulty lies opportunity.”-Albert Einstein

12. The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles (Ages 6-9)

Read the inspiring story of Ruby Bridges as she starts to attend an all-white school in 1960. She shows bravery and strength in the middle of chaos.

Ruby Bridges, Nothing Stopped Sophie, Mae Among the Stars; inspiring kids picture books
Inspiring books for kids with big dreams

13. Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain by Cheryl Bardoe (Ages 4-8)

Read this book about the woman who made the way for modern architecture and the challenges she overcame in order to accomplish so much.

Find Nothing Stopped Sophie here!

14. Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed (Ages 2-6)

Mae’s dreams of becoming an astronaut when she is young. Read about her determination and hard work that helped her become the first African American woman to travel in space.

15. Salt In His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream by Deloris Jordan (Ages 5-10)

*Teacher’s Pick

The legendary Michael Jordan almost gave up on his basketball dreams because he didn’t think he would grow tall enough. Read his inspiring story for kids here told by his mom and sister.

Salt in His Shoes, Pele, The William Hoy Story; inspirational and motivational books for children
Inspiring books for kids that love sports

16. Young Pele: Soccer’s First Star by Lesa Cline-Ransome (Ages 4-8)

Explore the story of the world champion soccer star Pele. He went from kicking balls made from rags to become the greatest soccer player of all time.

17. The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game by Nancy Churnin (Ages 6-10)

William Hoy’s love and determination for baseball earned him a position on a professional team, but he was unable to hear the umpire’s calls. He asked the umpire to use hand signals and changed the game of baseball to this day.

18. Ronaldo: A Boy Who Became a Star by Steve Herman (Ages 6-8)


Soccer fans will love this inspiring story of Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo was born into a poor family but worked hard to become one of the best soccer players in history.

Get your copy here!

19. I am Marie Curie by Brad Meltzer (Ages 5-8)

*Part of the bestselling Ordinary People Change The World Series!

I am Marie Curie; inspirational and inspiring short books for kids
Get this book here!

Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize as a physicist and chemist.

Read all the books in this bestselling picture book biography series about heroes. Included are timelines, engaging photos and illustrations, and the story of an American who has inspired others with their lives.

20. Who Was Babe Ruth? by Joan Holub (Ages 7-10)

*Part of the Who Was? series with over 250 books

Who Was Babe Ruth?
Look here for this book and more in the series!

When Babe Ruth discovered his talent for baseball, his big heart along with his talent made him the Home run King! Read more inspiring biography books for kids in this series!

21. I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy (Ages 5-9)

I Dissent; inspiring biography books for kids

Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg disagreed with inequality and unfair treatment. In this biographical picture book, learn her story through her disagreements or dissents.

22. Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle (Ages 3-8)

*5 Stars on Amazon

Drum Drum Girl; short inspiring stories and books for kids 11 year olds

This book is inspired by the life of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who was able to do the unthinkable and become a female drummer in Cuba.

23. The Boy Who Grew A Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng (Ages 5-8)

*2020 Green Earth Book Award

When Jadav Payeng became upset about the deforestation and erosion happening on his island in India, he started planting trees. A small thicket of bamboo grew into a 1300 acre forest.

This story inspires and reminds us that one person can make a difference.

24. Manjhi Moves a Mountain By Nancy Churnin (Ages 5-11)

*South Asia Book Award

Majhi Moves A Mountain; inspiring books for kids and middle schoolers

This book tells a real life story of an Indian sage who became known as the Mountain Man. He worked for 20 years to carve a path through a mountain to connect his village to others.

This beautiful picture book will inspire children and readers to persevere over any obstacle.

Inspirational Books For Students: Ages 8-12

Older readers will find a mix of nonfiction biographies, memoirs and inspiring fiction books for kids on this list.

25. Never Too Young! 50 Unstoppable Kids Who Made a Difference by Aileen Weintraub (Ages 7-12)

Anyone-no matter how young-can make a difference!”

Never Too Young: short inspirational books for students

Readers will be inspired with stories from Picasso, Anne Frank, Louis Armstrong, Helen Keller, Stevie Wonder and more. See this book here!

26. Making a Difference: An Inspirational Book About Kids Changing the World! by Stacy C. Bauer (Ages 7-10)

*5 Stars on Amazon

Making a Difference: Inspirational books for children

Read this nonfiction book about 12 young change makers from around the world, how they made their dreams a reality, and how you can become a change maker too.

Teachers and kids are loving this book!

27. Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change: Courageous Actions Around the World by Garth Sundem (Ages 9+)

“What kind of hero lives inside of me?”

Enjoy this book with 30 true stories about kids from all over the world. They are standing up for what is right and solving problems that impact their community.

28. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer (Ages 9+)

*“An inspiring, incredible story.”School Library Journal

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind
See It Here

This is the inspiring memoir of William Kamkwamba and his search for a way to help his family get the water they needed to farm their land.

29. Greta’s Story: The Schoolgirl Who Went on Strike to Save The Planet by Valentina Camerini (Ages 8-12)

Greta's story: motivational and inspiring kids books for tweens and teens

Read the true story of Greta Thunberg who set out on a solo mission to protest for climate change. It ended up becoming a movement of millions of people.

Get your copy here!

30. Latin Americans in History: 15 Inspiring Latinas and Latinos You Should Know by Monica Olivera (Ages 8-12)

Latin Americans in History; inspirational books for students and teenagers

Explore 15 in-depth biographies of Latin American people who used their talents, intelligence, and determination to achieve their dreams.

31. Gertie’s Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley (Ages 8-12)

Gertie's Leap To Greatness

Gertie Foy is determined to become the best fifth grader in the universe when her mother decides to move away from their town. But, another fifth grader, Mary Sue Spivey, has already decided she wants that same thing. And there’s not room for them both.

Gertie’s Leap to Greatness is a fiction tale of hope that any reader will enjoy.

32. Wonder by R.J. Palacio (Ages 9-11)

*Editor’s Inspirational Pick: Best Books for ages 9-12

Read about Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an unusual face. Auggie inspires an entire community to discuss what kindness, empathy, and compassion truly mean.

33. A Long Walk To Water by Linda Sue Park (Ages 10-12)

*New York Times Bestseller

A Long Walk to Water

This inspiring book follows two Sudanese children who overcome great dangers and hardships to improve the lives of themselves and others. A Long Walk To Water is based on a true story.

34. Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan (Ages 9-12)

*#1 Best Seller in Children’s 1900s American Historical Fiction

esperanza rising

When Esperanza’s lavish lifestyle and world turn to rubble, her family is forced to flee to California and work in a Mexican farm labor camp. Although they face many challenges, Esperanza finds the determination and hope she needs to embrace a new type of future.

Read this inspirational and heartwarming kids book here.

35. Inspirational Sports Stories for Young Readers by Kurt Taylor

inspiring sports books for kids

The sports enthusiast in your life will enjoy reading 12 inspirational sports stories of favorite athletes from a diverse variety of sports.

Unique information, quotes from the athletes, and illustrations engage any reader. Find this book here.

36. World War II Inspiring Stores for Kids: A Collection of Unbelievable True Tales About Goodness, Courage, and Rescue to Inspire by Ennis Jemmy

This book is a collection of 10 inspiring stories based on real-life events during World War II. It is told in a kid-friendly way.

Related: Awesome list of books for 10 year olds

Inspiring Books for Teenagers

Teenagers will be motivated by this great mix of inspiring fiction and nonfiction books.

37. Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (Ages 10+)

*Newbery Honor winner

Brown Girl Dreaming; inspiring books for teenagers

Written in poetry, the author paints a picture of what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 60’s and 70’s. She also shares her inspiration to become a writer. Read it here.

38. Teen Trailblazers: 30 Fearless Girls Who Changed the World Before They Were 20 by Jennifer Calvert

Teen Trailblazers

Teens will be inspired by the true stories of young girls who accomplished big things all before they were twenty years old.

Some of the stories in this book are well-known and some will be new to readers. All of them are inspiring to teens!

39. It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired, and Get Going! by Chelsea Clinton

Teens face some big challenges. In this book, Chelsea Clinton shares ideas to inspire readers to make a difference in many areas that impact our world today.

You can make a difference. You can make a change. It’s your world.

40. I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousafzai

*A memoir by the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize

I Am Malala; inspiring books for young adults
Read it here

Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced in her fight for an education when the Taliban took over Pakistan. When she was shot in the head riding the bus home from school and miraculously survived, she started to change the world.

Read this inspirational memoir and be inspired to find your voice.

41. Courage To Soar: A Body in Motion, a Life in Balance by Simone Biles

Courage To Soar; motivational books for teenagers and young adults

Read Olympic gold-winning gymnast Simone Biles autobiography about how perseverance and overcoming obstacles helped her accomplish her dreams.

Her inspiring story will encourage you to rise above your own challenges and get the most out of your life.

42. Becoming Kareem: Growing up on and off the Court by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Becoming Kareem: motivational books for teenagers
Find it here

In his memoir, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shares how he overcame setbacks to become a leader on and off the court.

Related: Best Books for 11, 12, & 13 Year Olds

43. Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina by Michaela and Elaine DePrince

Taking Flight; motivational and inspiring books for kids and teenagers

Read this memoir of an orphan who found a picture of a beautiful ballerina. She was inspired to work to become one of ballet’s rising stars.

44. Turning 15 on the Road To Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom

Lynda Blackmon Lowery was the youngest marcher in the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. In fact, she was in jail eleven times before her 15th birthday.

In her memoir, she shows readers how to stand up for what they believe in nonviolently and how that act can change history.

45. Step Into Your Power: 23 Lessons on how to Live your Best Life by Jamia Wilson

“You are not alone, even if it feels that way sometimes.”– Jamia Wilson, author

Through stories, activities, resources, and action prompts, older kids can learn how to step into their power-especially when things aren’t going so great.

Find this book here!

More Motivational Books for Young Adults

Check out more inspiring kids books for teenagers and young adults with the nonfiction picks in this section.

Shoot Your Shot, Live Fearless, Trust The Grind; inspiring books for teenagers students
Inspirational books for teenagers

46. Shoot Your Shot: A Sport-Inspired Guide to Living Your Best Life by Vernon Brundage, Jr.

What have the world’s BEST basketball players done to achieve and live an inspiring life?

Shoot Your Shot discusses key principles they have have used in their lives and how you can use them too. This is a great read for any teen whether they play sports or not.

47. Live Fearless: A Call to Power, Passion, and Purpose by Sadie Robertson Huff

*New York Times bestselling author

Sadie Robertson will inspire you to recognize and resolve fear as well as live confidently into your purpose.

This book is for teens wanting to use their faith to let go of their fears, stop comparing themselves to others, and live authentically.

48. Trust The Grind: How World-Class Athletes Got To The Top (Motivational Book for Teenagers) by Jeremy Bhandari

*#1 Bestseller in Teen & Young Adult Fitness & Exercise and Sports

Each chapter in this book tells a different athlete’s story. It explores their successes and the lessons they have learned along the way to reach the height of their sport.

<<Read Trust the Grind here>>

49. Be A Changemaker: How To Start Something That Matters by Laurie Ann Thompson

If you are wishing you could make a difference in the world, Be A Changemaker will give you the knowledge you need to make that change.

With step-by-step exercises and practical ideas, you an apply the lessons in this book to become a savvy activist and solve problems.

50. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey

*Endorsed by Steve Young and Michael Phelps

This book applies the principles of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It gives teens a step-by-step guide to get to where they want to be.

Get The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens here.

To Consider with Inspiring Kids Books

title book collage; inspiring kids and teens books 2023

All of our kids face challenging days ahead when working toward their dreams and goals.

Arm your kids with inspiring books that will motivate them to move mountains in their own life, schools, and communities.

Encourage your kid or teen to join us in our reading challenge for the year! ⬇️

Looking for inspiration on the screen? Read these inspirational movies for kids and students!

<<Also see 100 fierce quotes about overcoming adversity.>>

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Inspirational Kids & Teens Books (2023)

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