Best Children's Books About Finding your passion

42 Children's Books About Finding your passion

Updated Jan. 18, 2019
You! book
#1
You!
Written and illustrated by Sandra Magsamen
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-10

A life full of adventure first requires big dreams. And big dreams need big encouragement. From world-renowned author and artist Sandra Magsamen comes YOU!, offering inspiration and hope to readers from 1 to 100. Includes colorful, lively illustrations along with whimsical rhyming text that can be cherished in almost any setting.

Keith Haring book
#2
Keith Haring
Written and illustrated by Kay Haring
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Iconic pop artist Keith Haring comes to life for young readers in this picture book biography lovingly written by his sister This one-of-a-kind book explores the life and art of Keith Haring from his childhood through his meteoric rise to fame. It sheds light on this important artist’s great humanity, his concern for children, and his disregard for the establishment art world. Reproductions of Keith’s signature artwork appear in scenes boldly rendered by Robert Neubecker. This is a story to inspire, and a book for Keith Haring fans of all ages to treasure.

Firebird book
#3
Firebird
Written by Misty Copeland and illustrated by Christopher Myers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

In her debut picture book, Misty Copeland tells the story of a young girl–an every girl–whose confidence is fragile and who is questioning her own ability to reach the heights that Misty has reached. Misty encourages this young girl’s faith in herself and shows her exactly how, through hard work and dedication, she too can become Firebird. Lyrical and affecting text paired with bold, striking illustrations that are some of Caldecott Honoree Christopher Myers’s best work, makes Firebird perfect for aspiring ballerinas everywhere.

Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe book
#4
Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe
Written by Deborah Blumenthal and illustrated by Laura Freeman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A beautiful picture book about Ann Cole Lowe, a little-known African-American fashion designer who battled personal and social adversity in order to pursue her passion of making beautiful gowns and went on to become one of society’s top designers. Wisps of cloth would fall from their worktables like confetti, and Ann would scoop them up and turn them into flowers as bright as roses in the garden. Ann’s family came from Alabama. Her great grandma had been a slave, so her family knew about working hard just to get by. As soon as Ann Cole Lowe could walk, her momma and grandma taught her to sew. She worked near her momma in their Alabama family shop in the early 1900s, making glorious dresses for women who went to fancy parties. When Ann was 16, her momma died, and Ann continued sewing dresses. It wasn’t easy, especially when she went to design school and had to learn alone, segregated from the rest of the class. But the work she did set her spirit soaring, as evidenced in the clothes she made, including Jackie Kennedy's wedding dress and Olivia de Havilland's dress at the Oscars when she won for Best Actress in To Each His Own. Rarely credited, Ann Cole Lowe became “society’s best kept secret.” This beautiful picture book shines the spotlight on a little-known visionary who persevered in times of hardship, always doing what she was passionate about: making elegant gowns for the women who loved to wear them.

Polka Dot Parade book
#5
Polka Dot Parade
Written by Deborah Blumenthal and illustrated by Masha D'yans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

"Beautifully rendered and told, the book brings to life the work of a gifted 20th-century artist whose creative vision will always be in vogue." Kirkus Reviews, Starred review This is a moving and impassioned picture book about the iconic fashion photographer Bill Cunningham that will inspire young readers to go discover their own ideas of beauty and embolden the world with their own creativity! He found "sheer poetry" in the drape of an evening dress, delight in the swoosh of a knife-pleated skirt, and sartorial splendor in Jazz Age garb. Every day, Bill Cunningham pedaled his bike through New York City searching for beauty. As he took picture after picture, Bill found beauty not in people, but in their clothes. Drawn to bold and creative choices, Bill's photos captured the attention of the New York Times. He traveled to Paris for Fashion Week, and admiration for his work grew. With his sense of creativity and daringness, his own personal style of photography came to be known as street art photography. His photos left a lasting impression on all those who came across his work and they continue to inspire creativity today. This is the story of the legend who created street fashion photography and left behind a legacy of glorious pictures. Bill Cunningham used his passion and talent to capture the beauty he saw in fashion and the ultimate freedom that it represents to each and every person. This is an inspiring picture book about finding your path and being creative.

Power Forward book
#6
Power Forward
Written by Hena Khan and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

From the critically acclaimed author of Amina’s Voice comes the first book in an exciting new chapter book series about a fourth-grader with big dreams of basketball stardom. Fourth grader Zayd Saleem has some serious hoop dreams. He’s not just going to be a professional basketball player. He’s going to be a star. A legend. The first Pakistani-American kid to make it to the NBA. He knows this deep in his soul. It’s his destiny. There are only a few small things in his way. For starters, Zayd’s only on the D-team. (D stands for developmental, but to Zayd it’s always felt like a bad grade or something.) Not to mention, he’s a bit on the scrawny side, even for the fourth grade team. But his best friend Adam is on the Gold Team, and it’s Zayd’s dream for the two of them to play together. His mom and dad don’t get it. They want him to practice his violin way more than his jump shot. When he gets caught blowing off his violin lessons to practice, Zayd’s parents lay down the ultimate punishment: he has to hang up his high tops and isn’t allowed to play basketball anymore. As tryouts for the Gold Team approach, Zayd has to find the courage to stand up for himself and chase his dream.

The Audition book
#7
The Audition
Written by Maddie Ziegler
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

Bunheads meets The Kicks in this first novel in a brand-new middle grade trilogy from New York Times bestselling author, dancer, model, and actress Maddie Ziegler! Twelve-year-old Harper has been dancing practically since she could walk. She loves her dance studio and team, and just won her first ever top junior solo in a regional competition. But right before the school year starts, Harper’s parents drop a bombshell—the family has to relocate from their cozy town in Connecticut to sunny Florida for their jobs. That means goodbye to her friends, dance team, trips to see shows in NYC—and did she mention dance team? When she arrives at her new dance school and new team, it feels like everyone has better feet, quicker turns and faster taps than Harper. And it doesn’t help that a group of girls, who nicknamed themselves The Bunheads, wonder how the heck she made the team if she can’t even do a simple turn sequence in front of the class. Thankfully, Harper befriends Lily, a fellow newbie in the studio who is just as eager to make her mark and find a friendly face. With a big competition coming up for the dance team, Harper is determined to show everyone—especially those Bunheads—what she’s made of. And when a very badly timed injury threatens all of the work they have done, The Bunheads, Lily, and Harper must learn to truly work together to give them their best shot at the top spot!

Herstory book
#8
Herstory
Written by Katherine Halligan and illustrated by Sarah Walsh
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Move aside history—it’s time for herstory. Celebrate fifty inspiring and powerful women who changed the world and left their mark in this lavishly illustrated biography compilation that’s perfect for fans of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls and She Persisted. Throughout history, girls have often been discussed in terms of what they couldn’t or shouldn’t do. Not anymore. It’s time for herstory—a celebration of not only what girls can do, but the remarkable things women have already accomplished, even when others tried to stop them. In this uplifting and inspiring book, follow the stories of fifty powerhouse women from around the world and across time who each managed to change the world as they knew it forever. Telling the stories of their childhood, the challenges they faced, and the impact of their achievements, each lavishly illustrated spread is a celebration of girl power in its many forms. From astronauts to activists, musicians to mathematicians, these women are sure to motivate young readers of all backgrounds to focus not on the can’ts and shouldn’ts, but on what they can do: anything!

A Dash of Dragon book
#9
A Dash of Dragon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A thirteen-year-old master chef has a lot to prove as she tries to run a five-star restaurant, cook the perfect dragon cuisine, repay a greedy loan shark, and outsmart the Elven mafia in this entertaining novel that combines all of the best ingredients—fantasy, humor, adventure, action, cute boys, and a feisty heroine! Lailu Loganberry is an expert at hunting dangerous beasts. And she’s even better at cooking them. For years Lailu has trained to be the best chef in the city. Her specialty? Monster cuisine. When her mentor agrees to open a new restaurant with Lailu as the head chef, she’s never been more excited. But her celebration is cut short when she discovers that her mentor borrowed money from Mr. Boss, a vicious loan shark. If they can’t pay him back, Lailu will not only lose her restaurant—she’ll have to cook for Mr. Boss for the rest of her life. As Lailu scrambles to raise the money in time, she becomes trapped in a deadly conflict between the king’s cold-blooded assassin, the terrifying elf mafia, and Mr. Boss’ ruthless crew. Worst of all, her only hope in outsmarting Mr. Boss lies with the one person she hates—Greg, the most obnoxious boy in school and her rival in the restaurant business. But like Lailu always says, if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. And she’s determined to succeed, no matter the cost!

Today I'm a Dancer book
#10
Today I'm a Dancer
Written and illustrated by Marisa Polansky
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Every day is an opportunity for a new adventure—and a new aspirational career—with the Today I'm a . . . board book series. This one is about being a dancer.

Today I'm a Racecar Driver book
#11
Today I'm a Racecar Driver
Written and illustrated by Marisa Polansky
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Every day is an opportunity for a new adventure—and a new aspirational career—with the Today I'm a . . . board book series. This one is about being a racecar driver.

Wangari's Trees of Peace book
#12
Wangari's Trees of Peace
Written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A paperback picture book based on the true story of Wangari Maathai, an environmental and political activist in Kenya and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. As a young girl growing up in Kenya, Wangari was surrounded by trees. But years later when she returns home, she is shocked to see whole forests being cut down, and she knows that soon all the trees will be destroyed. So Wangari decides to do something--and starts by planting nine seedlings in her own backyard. And as they grow, so do her plans . . . This true story of Wangari Maathai, environmentalist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, is a shining example of how one woman's passion, vision, and determination inspired great change. Includes an author's note.

Today I'm a Construction Worker book
#13
Today I'm a Construction Worker
Written and illustrated by Marisa Polansky
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Every day is an opportunity for a new adventure—and a new aspirational career—with the Today I'm a . . . shaped board book series. This one is about being a construction worker.

Katie Finds a Job book
#14
Katie Finds a Job
Written by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

As Career Day at school approaches, Katie has great ideas for helping her friends present their future professions, but cannot think of a job that she would like to do.

Smarty Marty Steps Up Her Game book
#15
Smarty Marty Steps Up Her Game
Written by Amy Gutierrez and illustrated by Ariana Killoran
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-11

Smarty Marty, and her little brother Mikey, are back in the first in a series of illustrated chapter books, about a girl who loves baseball, written by San Francisco Giants in-game reporter Amy Gutierrez. Smarty Marty is the official scorekeeper for her little brother’s Little League team. But when the game announcer fails to show up for the first game, Marty is called to announce the game, inspiring her dream not only to score but to announce. But not everyone is happy about a girl getting to announce a baseball game.

Worth a Thousand Words book
#16
Worth a Thousand Words
Written by Brigit Young
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Ever since Tillie Green's car accident left her with a severe limp, she's kept herself hidden behind her camera. Through the lens, she watches her family and classmates, spotting the small details and secret glances that tell a much bigger story than what people usually see. Students call her "Lost and Found," because her camera knows when you last had your headphones. Tillie is good at finding things, but she isn't prepared for Jake's request: to find his father. In a matter of days, Tillie goes from silent observer to one half of a detective duo, searching the college-town community for clues to explain Jake's dad's disappearance. When the truth isn't what Jake wants it to be, and taking photographs starts exposing people's secrets, Tillie has to decide what (and who) is truly important to her.

Edward Hopper Paints His World book
#17
Edward Hopper Paints His World
Written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Wendell Minor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

As a boy, Edward Hopper knew exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up: on the cover of his pencil box, he wrote the words EDWARD HOPPER, WOULD-BE ARTIST. He traveled to New York and to Paris to hone his craft. And even though no one wanted to buy his paintings for a long time, he never stopped believing in his dream to be an artist. He was fascinated with painting light and shadow and his works explore this challenge.

Singing Superstar book
#18
Singing Superstar
Written by Jacqueline Jules and illustrated by Kim Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Sofia's family does not want to hear her singing anymore, so she must find the appropiate place to use her new superstar-sing box machine.

My Life as a Gamer book
#19
My Life as a Gamer
Written by Janet Tashjian and illustrated by Jake Tashjian
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Derek Fallon gets the chance of a lifetime when he is asked to test software for new video games, but he soon discovers that his dream job isn't all it's cracked up to be.

What's Your Favorite Color? book
#20
What's Your Favorite Color?
Written and illustrated by Eric Carle
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

In this board book, Eric Carle and fourteen other best-loved picture book artists answer the classic kid question: what's your favorite color? Everybody has a favorite color. Some like blue balloons or brown buildings or mint green ice cream cones. Eric Carle loves a yellow sun because children often include one in the corner of their pictures. Beautiful, funny, and heartfelt, these artists' charmingly personal answers to "what's your favorite color?" will inspire readers to answer the question themselves. Artists include: Lauren Castillo, Bryan Collier, Mike Curato, Etienne Delessert, Anna Dewdney, Rafael Lopez, William Low, Marc Martin, Jill McElmurry, Yuyi Morales, Frann Preston-Gannon, Uri Shulevitz, Philip C. Stead, Melissa Sweet Godwin Books

Jasmine Toguchi, Drummer Girl book
#21
Jasmine Toguchi, Drummer Girl
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

It’s talent show time at school, and eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is excited to show her stuff. But as she thinks about her strengths—tree-climbing, mochi making, collage—none of them feel quite right to perform on-stage. Jasmine’s friends already have a talent: Tommy yo-yo’s, Daisy dances, and Linnie plays piano. Plus, Maggie Milsap (aka Miss Perfect) is saying she'll have the best talent. When Jasmine’s mom introduces her to the taiko, a traditional Japanese drum, Jasmine finally finds an activity that feels just right. But will she be good enough at taiko in time to beat Maggie Milsap? Join Jasmine as she discovers her talent—and the difference between being the best and trying your best.

What's Your Favorite Animal? book
#22
What's Your Favorite Animal?
Written and illustrated by Eric Carle
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

A board book edition of a popular picture book combines vibrant illustrations and engaging personal stories in a celebration of favorite animals that includes contributions by such popular children's book artists as Jon Klassen, Tom Lichtenheld, Lucy Cousins and Mo Willems.

Lola Dutch book
#23
Lola Dutch
Written and illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright, Kenneth Wright
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Meet Lola Dutch, a delightfully creative girl who is bursting with grand ideas. From the best ways to serve breakfast -- an elegant feast! -- to the ideal sleeping spot -- a majestic blanket fort, of course! -- Lola is inspired all day long. Her dear companion Bear sometimes says she is just too much, but Lola is rich with imagination and originality, which even Bear will agree is AMAZING.The unstoppable Lola Dutch is about to show you how to make every day grand and full of fun. You'll love her so much! Inspired by their own four gorgeously feisty children, Sarah Jane and Kenneth Wright are thrilled to introduce the unstoppable Lola Dutch and her fresh, fun, commercial, character-driven series.

Soccer Score book
#24
Soccer Score
Written by C. C. Joven and illustrated by Ed Shems
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Mia runs fast. Mia kicks hard. But does Mia score a soccer goal? Goal or not, everyone is a winner when they read a book from the Starting Line Reader series.

Allegro: A Musical Journey Through 11 Musical Masterpieces book
#25
Allegro: A Musical Journey Through 11 Musical Masterpieces
Written by David Miles and illustrated by Anita Barghigiani
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Classical music comes to life like never before in this magical journey through 11 beloved classical pieces. Meet Allegro, an ordinary boy who can’t stand practicing the piano. Those black dots on the page drive him crazy—until the music itself whisks him away on a breathtaking journey. Each beautifully illustrated scene on Allegro’s journey is accompanied by a famous classical theme that can be played with the press of a button. Hear Grieg’s “Morning Mood” while meandering through a misty meadow, Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” while exploring uncharted lands, Debussy’s “Claire de Lune” while pondering a shimmering night sky, and 8 more! Beautiful gold foil, lavish illustrations, and high-quality sound make this a musical masterpiece to treasure forever.

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