5 Stories to Inspire Hope this Holiday Season
By Angela Dell'Isola
It’s a word you hear often throughout the holiday season, spoken in conversation, sung in choruses, and written in glittery font across store windows. It’s a feeling that pushes us forward and gives meaning to our days and direction to our actions. It’s something that every one of us has, even when we’ve nothing else at all. It is 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, and that’s why we’re excited to feature it this month in our 7 Strengths blog series. Our partners at LitWorld focus on seven core ideas that are crucial for educational success, healthy friendships, and to live an overall happy and satisfying life. They are: belonging, friendship, kindness, confidence, courage, curiosity, and our current focus: hope.
The Story Shares library is filled with books that center around this theme. We have dozens of stories filled with 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 the 7 Strengths Blog Series created by Story Shares and LitWorld, two organizations who are coming together to spread joy and hope through literacy.
You can read the other posts in this series here: