21 Books That’ll Inspire Your Kids to Dream Bigger
When it comes to dreaming big, kids are the experts! But that doesn’t mean they can’t use a little help along the way, too. As grown-ups, it’s our responsibility to foster their passions and give them a safe space to experiment — and these books can help.
Take a look at our expertly curated list for every age from toddlers to young adults, and help keep your child’s will to dream alive and well.
Picture Books for the Little Dreamers, Age 0-7
It’s never too early to inspire your little ones! These picture books are fun and engaging for elementary school aged kids and younger.
A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream, by Kristy Dempsey. Teach your kids the value of hope and perseverance when you read them this story about a young girl in growing up in Harlem who dreams of becoming a ballerina, like Janet Collins – the first African-American prima ballerina.
The Dot, by Peter Reynolds. This story will empower your kids to tap into their creative spirit, as it sends the message that there is no wrong way to begin the artistic process. Anything can be art when it’s born from inspiration!
Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, by Laurie Ann Thompson. Through this true story of a disabled boy born in Africa, your kiddos will learn that anything is possible if you believe in yourself.
Grace for President, by Kelly DiPucchio. A particularly powerful story for young girls, this book follows Grace, who decides she wants to be the first female president, but knows she’ll only get there through hard work, courage and independent thought.
Ish, by Peter Reynolds. Teach your children the valuable lesson that there’s no one “right way” to do things — it’s ok to be creative and different!
Odd Velvet, by Mary Whitcomb. Another great way to show your little one’s that there’s no harm in being different, this story is about a girl who lives to the beat of her own drum.
Stanza, by Jill Esbaum. Sometimes, bullies are mean because they’ve got a rough home life. Show your kids that there’s more to everyone than meets the eye with this insightful story.
Be Kind, by Pat Zietlow Miller. This thoughtful book explains the power of kindness — something every child should learn!
Wherever You Go, by Pat Zietlow Miller. Follow a rabbit and his friends as they partake on magical adventures, and inspire your children to explore the world around them.
Fun Reads for Your Kids, Age 8-12
If your kids are ready to transition away from the easier reads, consider stocking their shelves with these inspiring and thoughtful books.
Being Teddy Roosevelt, by Claudia Mills. In researching Teddy Roosevelt for school, Teddy learns valuable problem solving skills that anyone can adopt.
Better Nate than Ever, by Tim Federle. This tale follows a boy who has big dreams, and will do anything to make them come true — even if it means a daring overnight escape to New York City.
Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson. This critically acclaimed author tells stories about growing up as an African American in the ‘60s and ‘70s through vivid and powerful poetry.
Katerina’s Wish, by Jeannie Mobley. A story about a young immigrant girl with big aspirations, this will teach your kids that hard work and determination are key to making a dream reality.
Rules, by Cynthia Lord. 12-year old Catherine just wants a normal life. But what does it even mean to be normal? Her new friend shows her there’s no such thing.
Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. Born with a facial difference, August wants nothing more than to be treated like a normal kid. But his classmates can’t get past his differences. This book takes a deep look at empathy, compassion and acceptance.
Aspirational Novels for Your Young Adult, Age 13-18
Recommend these novels to your teens, and keep the inspiration flowing into adulthood.
A Time to Dance, by Padma Venkatraman. An inspiring story of a young girl’s struggle to regain passion in her life, which she eventually finds again through a spiritual awakening, art and courage.
Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something that Matters, by Laurie Ann Thompson. Following the stories of high schoolers who are answering to a higher calling, this read will empower your teen to make a difference in their community.
Fat Angie, by e. E. Charlton-Trujillo. This story offers a unique perspective on self-esteem, valuable friendships and the beauty that lies within us all.
Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli. Through this tale about the perils of popularity, we learn that nonconformity should be celebrated, not judged.
Taking Flight, by Michaela DePrince and Elaine DePrince. Going from an orphan in West Africa to the youngest principal dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Michaela DePrince teaches us about what it takes to fight for your dream.
Throw Like a Girl: How to Dream Big and Believe in Yourself, by Jennie Finch. Through this autobiography, Jennie teaches young girls to believe in themselves and go for it — even if it challenges the status quo.
Want more tips and motivation? Our collection of self-improvement tools and resources will help support and guide you (and your family) along any dream pursuit.