Best Kids Books About Finding your passion

23 Kids Books About Finding your passion

Updated Jan. 18, 2019
Wangari's Trees of Peace book
#1
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.

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.

Edward Hopper Paints His World book
#6
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
#7
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.

Lola Dutch book
#8
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
#9
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
#10
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.

Isabella book
#11
Isabella
Written by Jennifer Fosberry and illustrated by Mike Litwin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The purple-haired star of the New York Times bestselling picture book series is back, and her imagination is turning her life into a wondrous work of art! When Isabella has a day off from school, her mother suggests doing something special. Instead, Isabella walks her parents through all of the exciting things they could do as she imagines herself in famous paintings ranging from Degas' Dancers in Blue to Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans. Through her musings, Isabella creates a wondrous museum of her own making, showing how home can be the most special place of all!

The Art Collector book
#12
The Art Collector
Written by Jan Wahl and illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Oscar’s Great-Granny showed him how to draw. Oscar was not good at drawing. But he loved art, so he kept the drawing of a red chicken that Great-Granny gave to him and he loved to look at it. He bought another drawing at a flea market, and he loved looking at that one, too. As he grew up, Oscar collected more drawings and paintings, filling his bedroom with color and shapes and scenes. Oscar collected and collected until a museum had to be built to hold all of his drawings and paintings. Not everyone can become an artist, but as Oscar learned, everyone can love looking at art. Oscar’s passion for the stories in paintings and the thoughts they provoke will inspire young readers to see art in a new way—even if they don’t enjoy making it themselves.

The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito book
#13
The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito
Written by Tomson Highway and illustrated by Sue Todd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Timely, Fun, Challenging and Wise! Tomson Highway's musical cabaret, The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito, couldn't be more vividly presented unless you were sitting in the middle seat of the front row watching the Cree playwright, performer, musician and poet himself. The story of a wingless little mosquito from Manitoba has all the whimsy and wise humour any audience could ask for. The ageless theme of a misfit, who finds her voice through song and who learns to make friends by communicating directly with her audience, is a timely treat for anyone who has felt like an outsider, dealt with bullying, moved to a new place, or was different from the rest of the pack. The entire script is here, complete with song lyrics, stage directions, Cree vocabulary, and challenging tongue twisters to delight all ages. A perfect book for drama students, teachers, and theatre enthusiasts, this beautiful full-colour volume serves as an interactive read-aloud for the young, or a great way to introduce students to the joys of staging a musical production.

Steam! Taming the River Monster book
#14
Steam! Taming the River Monster
Written by Pat Perrin, Wim Coleman and illustrated by Sue Todd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

In 1807, folks living along the Hudson River saw a strange fire-breathing monster churning the waters. The sight of Robert Fulton's Clermont created havoc on the shore and river. One of the on-lookers, a young Brenton Dixon, got a job aboard the steamboat and assisted Fulton and his crew. Brenton continued working on steamboats throughout their great pre-Civil War heyday. One of ten plays in the Setting the Stage for Fluency series.

Antonio's Music book
#15
Antonio's Music
Written by Joanna Emery and illustrated by Sue Todd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-8

Antonio loved to create music, and everyone loved to listen to it. But then, Antonio's music was forgotten for many years. Was Antonio's music gone forever?

Irving Berlin book
#16
Irving Berlin
Written by Nancy Churnin and illustrated by James Rey Sanchez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Irving Berlin came to the United States as a refugee from Tsarist Russia, escaping a pogrom that destroyed his village. Growing up on the streets of the lower East Side, the rhythms of jazz and blues inspired his own song-writing career. Starting with his first big hit, Alexander's Ragtime Band, Berlin created the soundtrack for American life with his catchy tunes and irresistible lyrics. With "God Bless America," he sang his thanks to the country which had given him a home and a chance to express his creative vision.

Charlie Takes His Shot book
#17
Charlie Takes His Shot
Written by Nancy Churnin and illustrated by John Joven
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Charlie Sifford loved golf, but in the 1930’s only white people were allowed to play in the Professional Golf Association. Sifford had won plenty of black tournaments, but he was determined to break the color barrier in the PGA. In 1960 he did, only to face discrimination from hotels that wouldn’t rent him rooms and clubs that wouldn’t let him use the same locker as the white players. But Sifford kept playing, becoming the first black golfer to win a PGA tournament and eventually ranking among the greats in golf.

Antsy Ansel book
#18
Antsy Ansel
Written by Cindy Jenson-Elliott and illustrated by Christy Hale
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

As a child, Ansel Adams just couldn't sit still. He felt trapped indoors and never walked anywhere—he ran. Even when he sat, his feet danced. But in nature, Ansel felt right at home. He fell in love with the gusting gales of the Golden Gate, the quiet whisper of Lobos Creek, the icy white of Yosemite Valley, and countless other remarkable natural sights. From his early days in San Francisco to the height of his glory nationwide, this book chronicles a restless boy's path to becoming an iconic nature photographer.

Reptile Club, The book
#19
Reptile Club, The
Written by Maureen Fergus and illustrated by Elina Ellis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

There are lots of clubs for Rory to join at his new school, but none seem quite right for him. So when his parents suggest he start his own club about something he loves, Rory knows exactly what it will be: a Reptile Club! He's positive that there are other kids out there who share his passion. He sets up his first meeting and then waits and waits for students to show up. Just as he is about to give up, Rory hears whispering in the hallway and hurries over to see who it is. To his astonishment, it's not his schoolmates who have arrived to attend the first meeting, but a crocodile, an anaconda and a gecko!

What Will I Do When I Grow Up? book
#20
What Will I Do When I Grow Up?
Written and illustrated by Margherita Borin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Let's take a walk down High Street and discover the variety of jobs that grown-ups do. We will pop into each building to see what they wear, what tools they use and what they make and do. What will I do when I grow up? invites children to discover the diversity of occupations including teachers, chefs, builders and scientists.

Most Marshmallows book
#21
Most Marshmallows
Written and illustrated by Rowboat Watkins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Most marshmallows are born into marshmallow families, play with marshmallow friends, and go to marshmallow school where they learn to be squishy. Most marshmallows read a book before bed and then fall asleep to dream ordinary marshmallow dreams. Is this book about most marshmallows? It isn't. Because Rowboat Watkins knows that just like you, some marshmallows have big dreams, and just like you, these marshmallows can do anything they set their minds to. This sweet and silly book is an inspiring reminder that by being true to ourselves each of us can be truly extraordinary.

Frank Pearl in the Awful Waffle Kerfuffle book
#22
Frank Pearl in the Awful Waffle Kerfuffle
Written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Erwin Madrid
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Frank Pearl is chasing a prize in this Judy Moody® story for newly independent readers. Just once, Frank Pearl would like to win at something! He is going to win a prize if it’s the last thing he does. Could an amazing yo-yo trick or Cookie the parrot land him a prize? Could a blue ribbon be his at the Great Third-Grade Breakfast Bash? With three shots at a prize and Judy Moody cheering him on (sort of?), there’s no way that Frank can miss out on a trophy this time.

Out of This World book
#23
Out of This World
Written by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Amanda Hall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A gorgeously illustrated picture book biography about the fascinating life of surrealist artist Leonora Carrington, from Michelle Markel and Amanda Hall, the acclaimed team behind The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau. Ever since she was a little girl, Leonora Carrington loved to draw on walls, in books, on paper—and she loved the fantastic tales her grandmother told that took her to worlds that shimmered beyond this one, where legends became real. Leonora’s parents wanted her to become a proper English lady, but there was only one thing she wanted, even if it was unsuitable: to be an artist. In London, she discovered a group of artists called surrealists, who were stunning the world with their mysterious creations. This was the kind of art she had to make. This was the kind of person she had to be. From life in Paris creating art alongside Max Ernst, to Mexico where she met Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, Leonora’s life became intertwined with powerful events and people that shaped the twentieth century. Out of This World is the powerful, stunningly told story of Leonora Carrington, a girl who made art out of her imagination and created some of the most enigmatic and startling works of the last eighty years.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.