Five Stories to Inspire Hope this Holiday Season

We are proud to partner with Story Shares, a non-profit organization that inspires the reading lives of young people by providing readable and relevant content for students who read below grade level beyond elementary school. Taking inspiration from the LitWorld 7 Strengths, our friends at Story Shares have curated a reading list to celebrate the season of hope.

The stories we read allow us to practice wild hope by exploring possibilities beyond the current context of our lives, and by experiencing the journeys, challenges and growth of the characters we meet. Hope is one of the most important elements of our humanity.

The Story Shares library is filled with books that center around this theme and feature characters who practice optimistic thinking, and believe that the work they do today will produce good things in the future. We’ve gathered a handful of these stories below to inspire you and yours this holiday season.

It is our hope that these books remind you that the first step in achieving any sort of success is believing that you can.

1. Bully

Bully is about a teenager named Holly who hides her loneliness beneath her anger. She believes that respect comes from fear, and goes out of her way to antagonize classmates and teachers so that they learn to leave her alone. Her perspective changes, however, when she stumbles across a lost ring. She begins to see the effects of her actions, and questions whether respect couldn’t actually come from kindness. This inspiring story offers hope to readers by showing how people are able to learn from their actions and that they have the power to write a new story about their identity – who they are, what they believe, and how they treat others. It reflects the possibility of changing to become better.

2. The Heart of a Runner

This is the story of Max, a fifteen-year-old boy training for a 15k marathon with his dad. When he loses his dad in a tragic accident, Max nearly quits running but is encouraged by his friends and family to continue. It’s the prospect of honoring his father’s memory that pushes him to keep running. This moving tale helps readers to understand that even in the face of tremendous loss, there is hope. It is possible to find strength in tragedy.

3. A Skateboarding Story

This story follows skateboarding enthusiast Luke as he navigates his teenage years. One day, his decision to accept a friend’s dare sends a rock flying from his hand and through the window of an elderly, neighbor. That neighbor is Miss Wanda Rose, a woman who ultimately changes Luke’s life for the better. Readers will witness a relationship transform from “rocky” to respectful and trusting, and be left with the knowledge that good things can develop from bad.

4. A World on Fire

This epic fantasy adventure features fifteen-year-old Tammy, an average girl, or at least, that’s what she’d always believed she was. When a man on fire arrives speaking to her of a prophecy, she learns that the world is much larger than she’d ever imagined, and that it is in trouble. What’s crazier still is that only she can save it. Hope pours from this story at every turn: the hope that Tammy can rise to the occasion, hope that civilization will survive, and hope that good will emerge victorious over evil.

5. Leap of Faith

This story follows Eleanor, a teenager with the ability to time travel. During one of her jumps, she is accidentally thrown into the future, where she meets Chase. Traveling forward is dangerous and illegal, and she is quickly pulled back to her own time. She must learn to live without him, or risk everything to find him. This tale offers hope by exploring the power of love, and by telling readers that even in the bleakest of situations, there are possibilities. We are the authors of our futures.

This blog post is part of an on-going 7 Strengths Blog Series created by LitWorld and Story Shares, two organizations who are coming together to spread joy and hope through literacy. Read previous posts in this series here:

Stories Make Us Strong

6 Inspiring Stories About Confidence for the New School Year