Books that Help us Teach—Problem Solving

by Meghan Fitzgerald

There is little doubt that the ability to identify and invent solutions to problems is a skill our children will need to thrive in any setting. And, we can help them get there by helping them develop problem-solving mindsets.  One of the most helpful, and easy, ways to do this is to read, fall in love with and make sense of books that help support these mindsets. Here are but a few of our favorites along with just a smidge about why we love them and how they each support problem solving. 

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beatty and David Roberts
MIndset: There are problems to solve all around us.

The only thing better than Beatty’s masterful rhymes are her marvelous characters. In Ada Twist, Scientist, she nails the curiosity and inquiry that drives a true problem seeker and solver. Our kids love this one, and we hope it inspires them to take on the mindset that there are problems to solve all around us. As parents, we love how this book both acknowledges some of the lumpier parts that come along with supporting genuine problem solving in our kids and reminds us that it’s so worth it in the end.


Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
Problem solving can be fun (or at least quite silly).

Although we would never advocate throwing objects into trees, we cannot help but love this book. This whimsical tale shows a young boy, Floyd, as he attempts to solve an all too familiar problem—his kite is stuck in a tree! The approach Floyd takes makes kids of all ages to smirk and squeal with delight. When we read this, we enjoy acting amazed as the situation grows more and more outrageous. The book also really gets kids our talking too. Even our youngest has ideas about why Floyd’s plan is not the ideal solution and can share how she’d go about getting that kite un-stuck. 

What Do You Do With a Problem by Kobi Yamada and Mae Besom
Mindset: I have the resources to solve problems.

Even though our goal is for problem solving to be joyful, sometimes real problems are daunting, especially to kids who may not yet realize that they have the capacity to solve them. This beautiful follow up to Yamada and Besom's What Do You Do with an Idea helps kids see a child really wrestle with a problem and gives both kids and adults a way to talk about the opportunity available in every problem, even the ones that seem hard.