Picture Books About Dreams

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “I Have a Dream” speech, 1963.

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., here is a list of picture books about dreams.

Dream Street by Tricia Elam Walker

Everyone in Dream Street has a dream. Belle wants to become a lepidopterist, a scientist who studies butterflies. Zion wants to become a librarian. Cousins Ede and Tari wish to create a picture book about the people on Dream Street, and five brothers want to form their own jazz band someday.

Author: Tricia Elam Walker
Writing Style: inspiring, moving, uplifting
Illustrator: Ekua Holmes
Illustrations: collage, vibrant, diverse, striking,
Themes: dreams, professions, community, inspiration, joy
Publishing Year: 2021
Publisher: Anne Schwartz Books
Ages: 4 – 8
Lexile: 940L

Dare to Dream Big: Spark Growth Mindset With This Inspirational Book For Kids (Gifts for Graduation) by Lorna Gutierrez

This positive picture book inspires children to dream with their hearts and dares them to be themselves.

Author: Lorna Gutierrez
Writing Style: poetic, rhythmic, encouraging, motivational
Illustrator: Polly Noakes
Illustrations: expressive, cheerful, diverse, ink, watercolor
Themes: dreams, positivity, being yourself, helping others, imagination, growth mindset
Publishing Year: 2020
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Ages: 4 – 8
Lexile: 200L

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

Based on Yuyi Morales’ experience moving from Mexico to the United States, this award-winning picture book celebrates dreams and resiliency when moving to a new place.

Author-Illustrator: Yuyi Morales
Writing Style: sparse prose, Spanish words included, emotional
Illustrations: mixed-media, symbolic, colorful
Themes: dreams, resiliency, immigration, community, creativity
Publishing Year: 2018
Publisher: Neal Porter Books
Ages: 4 – 8
Lexile: 480L

That Is My Dream!: A picture book of Langston Hughes’s “Dream Variation” by Langston Hughes

An African American boy dreams of a world free of racial discrimination and segregation in a picture book about Langston Hughes’ 1924 poem “Dream Variation.”

Author: Langston Hughes
Writing Style: poetic, aspirational, hopeful, powerful
Illustrator: Daniel Miyares
Illustrations: watercolor, historical, sweet colors, radiant
Themes: dreams, freedom, equality, hope, better life
Publishing Year: 2017
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books
Ages: 4 – 8
Lexile: 250L

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle

A Cuban girl of Chinese, African, Taíno, and Spanish heritage wishes to become a drummer. For her dream to come true, she will have to break the gender stereotypes people follow in Cuba. The story is based on Millo Castro Zaldarriaga’s life.

Author: Margarita Engle
Writing Style: poetic, inspiring, hopeful, rhythmic
Illustrator: Rafael López
Illustrations: acrylic painting, colorful, folk-art
Themes: dreams, breaking gender stereotypes, heritage, community, grit
Publishing Year: 2015
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Ages: 4 – 8
Lexile: Not Yet Rated

God’s Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams

What do you dream? God dreams about people getting along and sharing, but sometimes people get angry with one another. Understanding in the face of people’s differences and forgiveness is the path to making God’s dream come true.

Author: Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams
Writing Style: religious, spiritual, heartfelt, easy
Illustrator: LeUyen Pham
Illustrations: graphite, watercolor, ink, vibrant color palette, multicultural, diverse
Themes: dreams, God, a better world, empathy, forgiveness, kindness
Publishing Year: 2008
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Ages: 4 – 8
Lexile: Not Yet Rated

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