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Following Your Dreams: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about following your dreams?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to following your dreams. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about following your dreams.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about following your dreams, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Wonderful Things You Will Be to popular sellers like Iggy Peck, Architect to some of our favorite hidden gems like Caterpillar Dreams.

We hope this list of kids books about following your dreams can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

The Wonderful Things You Will Be
Written & illustrated by Emily Winfield Martin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Illustrations and simple, rhyming text reveal a parent’s musings about what a child will become, knowing that the child’s kindness, cleverness, and boldness will shine through no matter what, as will the love they share.

The Almost Impossible Thing
Written & illustrated by Basak Agaoglu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Nothing is so impossible that it shouldn’t be tried. Even if you’re a bunny hoping to fly. A tribute to teamwork, big dreams, perseverance, and those who don’t listen when others say their goals are unreachable. The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.—Chinese Proverb Most of us want to fly—even if we know we’re rooted to the ground. Especially if we know we’re rooted to the ground! So when a rabbit spots a bird soaring in beautiful, colorful loop-de-loops, a dream is born. Though her friends tell her “You can’t do that!” our rabbit is undeterred. Through comical ski jumps, trampoline bounces, swings on the trapeze, and experiments with kites . . . somehow, some way, there must be a way to fly. And there is! Teamwork. Debut author/illustrator Basak Agaoglu delivers a story of faith, persistence, and humor—along with some of the most adorable, child-friendly art ever seen. For fans of Extremely Cute Animals Operating Heavy Machinery.

This Little Dreamer: An Inspirational Primer
Written by Joan Holub & illustrated by Daniel Roode
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Learn all about dreamers who changed history in this engaging and hopeful board book perfect for dreamers-in-training!

In this sixth book in the This Little series, now even the youngest readers can learn all about important people in history who dared to dream big for a better future! Highlighting ten memorable dreamers who paved the way, parents and little ones alike will love this inspirational primer full of fun, age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations.

Caterpillar Dreams
Written & illustrated by Clive McFarland
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The Very Hungry Caterpillar meets Giraffes Can’t Dance in this sweet coming of age story about finding one’s courage. All Henri the Caterpillar has is a dream. It’s an amazing, incredible, impossible dream. And to chase it, Henri will have to leave the safety of his garden and embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Written and illustrated by the award-winning creator of A Bed for Bear, Clive McFarland, Caterpillar Dreams is the inspiring story of what can happen when you dare to believe in yourself.

I Can Dream
Written & illustrated by Betsy Snyder
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Dream big! Young readers help characters pursue their aspirations—from driving a race car to traveling to Mars— just by wiggling their fingers! But wait! There’s even more fun. In an impressive gatefold finale, kids help a firefighter, astronaut, artist, and more come together to follow their dreams. With interactive holes on every page and a satisfyingly funny touch-and-feel cover, this charming board book offers a uniquely entertaining way to play and read together.

  • Iggy Peck, Architect - This beloved New York Times bestselling picture book is a fun-filled, inspiring story about the power of teamwork and the importance of celebrating individual gifts and self-expression. And now you can follow Iggy’s further adventures—with his friends Rosie Revere and Ada Twist—in the instant New York Times bestseller Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters, an all-new chapter book starring The Questioneers! Some kids sculpt sand castles. Some make mud pies. Some construct great block towers. But none are better at building than Iggy Peck, who once erected a life-size replica of the Great Sphinx on his front lawn! It’s too bad that few people appreciate Iggy’s talent—certainly not his second-grade teacher, Miss Lila Greer. It looks as if Iggy will have to trade in his T square for a box of crayons . . . until a fateful field trip proves just how useful a mast builder can be.

  • A Dance Like Starlight - Little ballerinas have big dreams. Dreams of pirouettes and grande jetes, dreams of attending the best ballet schools and of dancing starring roles on stage. But in Harlem in the 1950s, dreams don’t always come true—they take a lot of work and a lot of hope. And sometimes hope is hard to come by. But the first African-American prima ballerina, Janet Collins, did make her dreams come true. And those dreams inspired ballerinas everywhere, showing them that the color of their skin couldn’t stop them from becoming a star. In a lyrical tale as beautiful as a dance en pointe, Kristy Dempsey and Floyd Cooper tell the story of one little ballerina who was inspired by Janet Collins to make her own dreams come true.

  • The Darkest Dark - Inspired by the childhood of real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield and brought to life by Terry and Eric Fan’s lush, evocative illustrations, The Darkest Dark will encourage readers to dream the impossible. Chris loves rockets and planets and pretending he’s a brave astronaut, exploring the universe. Only one problem—at night, Chris doesn’t feel so brave. He’s afraid of the dark. But when he watches the groundbreaking moon landing on TV, he realizes that space is the darkest dark there is—and the dark is beautiful and exciting, especially when you have big dreams to keep you company.

  • Brick by Brick - A striking debut celebrating the warm bond between a little boy and his dad as they work hard to achieve their dreams Papi is a bricklayer, and he works hard every day to help build the city, brick by brick. His son, Luis, works hard too—in school, book by book. Papi climbs scaffolds, makes mortar, and shovels sand. Luis climbs on the playground and molds clay into tiny bricks to make buildings, just like Papi. Together, they dream big about their future as they work to make those dreams come true. And then one Saturday, Papi surprises Luis with something special he’s built for their family, brick by brick.

Thank You, Garden
Written by Liz Garton Scanlon & illustrated by Simone Shin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

From the author of the Caldecott Honor–winning picture book All the World comes an exuberant, lyrical celebration of the plants—and people—that grow and thrive in a busy community garden.

A community garden unites children and neighbors in this celebration of all the things that grow there, from flowers and fruits to friendships. In the spirit of her Caldecott Honor­–winning picture book All the World, this ode to friendship, community, and working together for a better world will have young readers gathering their friends young and old to plant something together.

Penguin Flies Home
Written & illustrated by Lita Judge
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Penguin mastered his quest to soar with the eagles in Flight School—now he’s heading home to teach his friends in this sweet and inspiring stand-alone companion story!

Penguin loves everything about flying: the wind beneath his wings, the song that rises from his belly, and the sight of new and wonderful places.

Still, he misses his penguin friends in the South Pole. So, he flips and flaps back home, ready to teach them the magic of flight!

But when he arrives, his enthusiasm for flying doesn’t get quite the reaction he expected. Will Penguin’s friends still like him, even if they don’t share his soaring dreams?

Red Knit Cap Girl
Written & illustrated by Naoko Stoop
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-7

Red Knit Cap Girl is a little girl with a big dream — to meet the Moon. Red Knit Cap Girl lives with her animal friends in an enchanted forest. There is so much to see and do, but more than anything Red Knit Cap Girl wishes she could talk to the Moon. Join Red Knit Cap Girl and her forest friends on a journey of curiosity, imagination, and joy as they search for a way to meet the Moon. Gorgeously illustrated on wood grain, Red Knit Cap Girl’s curiosity, imagination, and joy will captivate the hearts of readers young and old as her journey offers a gentle reminder to appreciate the beauty of the natural world around us.

Nara and the Island
Written & illustrated by Dan Ungureanu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-9

Nara lives with her father on a tiny island and dreams of visiting the island across the waves. So when she gets the opportunity to visit the mysterious island, an amazing adventure unfolds. This stunning story is the debut of exciting author-illustrator talent Dan Ungureanu.

Martin and Anne
Written by Nancy Churnin & illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Anne Frank and Martin Luther King Jr. were born the same year a world apart. Both faced ugly prejudices and violence, which both answered with words of love and faith in humanity. This is the story of their parallel journeys to find hope in darkness and to follow their dreams.

  • Most Marshmallows - 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.

  • Flying High - A lyrical picture book biography of Simone Biles, gymnastics champion and Olympic superstar. Before she was a record-breaking gymnast competing on the world stage, Simone Biles spent time in foster care as a young child. Nimble and boundlessly energetic, she cherished every playground and each new backyard. When she was six years old, Simone’s family took shape in a different way. Her grandparents Ron and Nellie Biles adopted Simone and her sister Adria. Ron and Nellie became their parents. Simone was also introduced to gymnastics that same year, launching a lifelong passion fueled by remarkable talent, sacrifice, and the undying support of her family. From her athletic early childhood to the height of her success as an Olympic champion, Flying High is the story of the world’s greatest gymnast from author Michelle Meadows and illustrator Ebony Glenn.

  • Rodney - Rodney is a small turtle with a BIG dream. All he wants is to be larger. Then one day, Rodney’s dream comes true - or does it? It’s all a matter of perspective!

  • Reaching for the Moon - I walked on the moon. This is my journey. But it didn’t begin when I stepped on board Apollo 11 on July 1, 1969. It began the day I was born. Becoming an astronaut took more than education, discipline, and physical strength. It took years of determination and believing that any goal is possible—from riding a bike alone across the George Washington Bridge at age ten to making a footprint on the Moon. I always knew the Moon was within my reach—and that I was ready to be on the team that would achieve the first landing. But it was still hard to believe when I took my first step onto the Moon’s surface. We all have our own dreams. This is the story of how mine came true.

Tag Your Dreams: Poems of Play and Persistence
Written by Jacqueline Jules & illustrated by Iris Deppe
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Whether just trying out for the team or reaching for the Olympics, there’s something for every reader in this playful poetry collection! From baseball, basketball, and football to double-dutch, mini-golf, and turning a cartwheel, these poems look at facing fears, dreaming big, and never giving up. This well-rounded collection explores sports and play across all abilities and backgrounds.

On Wisdom and Virtues
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From helping others in times of need, to keeping and maintaining friendships, to having a positive attitude, Laura’s words of wisdom in Writings to Young Women from Laura Ingalls Wilder: On Wisdom and Virtues are applicable even in today’s world. As she shares stories and experiences from her own life, she encourages readers to live lives of integrity and to realize their dreams.

Heart of a Tiger
Written by Marsha Diane Arnold
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

As the Name Day celebration approaches, a young kitten tries to deserve a noble name, by following the path of the beautiful Bengal tiger.

Anywhere Artist
Written & illustrated by Nikki Slade Robinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-10

Anyone can make art anywhere, anytime, with anything! Follow a young artist as she moves through a number of natural environments, creating gorgeous artworks along the way from natural materials. Stunning hand-crafted illustrations with handlettered text. An ideal springboard for your own creations!

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