Picture books about achieving your dreams

Thanks for joining my “Mommy and Me” Book Club. I hope you’re enjoying my ongoing “stay in bed and read” series. See my previous post on Where’d You Go, Bernadette for a book summary and “quotable quotes”.

As you’re reading Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple in bed (or in your favorite armchair), feel free to share these picture books with your children.

For every “mommy book” read, I’ll suggest a “me book” for your children with a similar theme. It is my hope that this “Mommy and Me” book club is a fun activity for you and your children.

Picture Books About Achieving Your Dreams

Oh, Baby, the Places You'll Go!

1. Oh, Baby, The Places You’ll Go! (2015) | Tish Rabe 

Designed to be read aloud to babies and babies in utero, author Tish Rabe explains the joys awaiting newborns including the Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Yertle the Turtle, the Great Birthday Bird, the Grinch, and twenty-five other Seussian characters. It’s a must-read for parents-to-be and new babies, and the perfect gift for baby showers and newborns! This book includes an introduction by Mrs. Dr. Seuss, Audrey Geisel, pointing out how she and Ted were interested in the idea that babies could respond to the voices of their parents in the womb! (Age Range:  2 years and up)

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

2. Oh, The Places You’ll Go! (1990) | Dr. Seuss

From great heights and sights to being left “in a Lurch on a prickle-ly perch”, Dr. Seuss’s perennial classic covers much ground. Life’s a “Great Balancing Act”, but “There’s fun to be done.” This book addresses life’s ups and downs, encouraging readers to find success somewhere in the middle. (Age Range:  4-8 years)

Oh the Thinks you can think

3. Oh, The Thinks You Can Think! (1975) | Dr. Seuss

In this classic Dr. Seuss book, the possibilities are endless! Graduates from kindergarten to college will appreciate the story. This beginner book celebrates imagination and promotes creative thinking:  “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the Thinks you can think up if only you try.” (Age Range:  3-7 years)

what do you do with an idea

4. What Do You Do With an Idea? (2014) | Kobe Yamada

A New York Times Best Seller, this is the story of one big idea and a child who brings it into the world. As the child’s confidence grows, so does the idea. This book helps anyone who’s ever had an idea that seemed a too big, odd, or difficult to not shy away from that idea and instead give it space to grow and see what happens next. (Age Range:  5-8 years)

almost impossible thing

5. The Almost Impossible Thing (2017) | Basak Agaoglu

Most of us want to fly, even though we’re tethered to the ground. When rabbit sees a bird soaring through the air, a dream is born – even though her friends say “You can’t do that!” Through a series of ski jumps, trampoline bounces, trapeze swings, and kite experiments, the rabbit – and the reader – remain undeterred. (Age Range:  3-7 years)


6. Ish (2004) | Peter H. Reynolds 

A young boy, named Ramon, draws whenever he can – even on the potty. He’s hard on himself and thinks his drawings don’t look real enough. When his older brother laughs at his works, Ramon is ready to give up, but he’s urged on by his sister who’s been saving all of his crumpled discarded artwork. This book teaches us there’s more to like than “getting it right” and pursuing a dream looks different for everyone. (Age Range:  5 years and up)

How to Catch a Star

7. How to Catch a Star (2004) | Oliver Jeffers

Oliver Jeffers, a young boy and a lover of stars, wants to catch one for himself. He comes up with a variety of plans to capture his star:  waiting for the stars to get tired and fall, climbing to the top of the tallest tree, launching a paper rocket ship. One by one each approach fails, and Oliver wants to quit. In the end, he learns that things sometimes happen in ways we least expect. This book invites readers to not give up on our dreams and “reach for the stars”. (Age Range:  3-7 years)

Giraffes Can't Dance

8. Giraffes Can’t Dance (2012) | Giles Andreae

Gerald, the giraffe, desperately wants to learn how to dance, but his crooked knees and thin legs make it difficult. The other animals laugh at Gerald when he gets tripped up, but in the end he perseveres. Ultimately, Gerald learns “to dance to his own tune.” This book has a wonderful message:  follow you heart and don’t let others get you down. (Age Range:  4 years and up) 

Dream Big, Princess!

9. Dream Big, Princess! (2016)

Your daughters (and sons too!) follow the stories of their favorite Disney Princesses. Little readers draw, write, and imagine all the things they want to be, as they follow the Princesses in pursuit of their greatest dreams. (Age Range:  3-7 years)


10. The Paper BagPrincess  (1980) | Robert Munsch

This isn’t your classic “damsel in distress” tale. Yes, there is a “damsel”, Princess Elizabeth. Yes, she is “in distress”. A mean dragon captures her fiancé, Prince Ronald. But no, she doesn’t need “a knight in shining armor” to save the day. This book empowers young girls to go after what they want and to make their own “happily ever afters”. (Age Range:  3-7 years)

For more reading suggestions, see previous post on picture book biographies about achieving your dreams.

A Final Thought – From the Pillow

Keep your children dreaming.

So choose books and media that promote dreaming. (I’m in love with Disney’s Dream Big Princess campaign. Sometimes if I need a little boost, I pull up a video on YouTube.) We all want to know the secret to encouraging our children to achieve their dreams. While I can’t pretend to know the mystery, I can offer you a list of books, which will hopefully inspire you and your children to go in pursuit of their passions.

What other picture books would you add the list?

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