100 books like Dream Big

By Joyce Wan,

Here are 100 books that Dream Big fans have personally recommended if you like Dream Big. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Garden Animals

Lorie Ann Grover Author Of I Love All of Me (Wonderful Me)

From my list on children's board books to cut your teeth on.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the course of everyday life, when I’m writing books for middle grade and young adult readers, board books spring to my mind. Sometimes they come from catching a glimpse of a child hugging a parent, or they may spring from a phrase I overhear or say myself. That sounds like a board book, I think, and I write it down quickly. Sometimes, I’ll wake in the night, and a board book text will come to me in rhyme. Along with writing board books, I’ve been recommending quality works at the readertotz blog since 2009 in order to raise the profile of the format. Authors, illustrators, and publishers must create the very best quality, and then we must support, enjoy, and celebrate the works. A simple eight words may introduce a first reader to a love of books for life.

Lorie's book list on children's board books to cut your teeth on

Lorie Ann Grover Why did Lorie love this book?

Garden Animals by Lucy Cousins was our number one favorite when my daughters were babies. The graphic images of small friends they might meet in their own garden were loved. Hand-lettered with rough edges, characters pop from the pages with their own free renderings. Counting the bee on the cover, there are only 12 words to the work, and with many, many readings, we created a spoken rhythm for Lucy’s creatures. Today, we can all still recite Garden Animals with delight.

By Lucy Cousins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Garden Animals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4.

What is this book about?

Small children are fascinated by animals and bright colours, and Lucy Collins has created here vivid and fun images of familiar animals that are just the rigt size for tiny hands. Now touchy and feely too, these books have fluffy covers that are perfect for babies and parents to share.


Book cover of Big Little

Lorie Ann Grover Author Of I Love All of Me (Wonderful Me)

From my list on children's board books to cut your teeth on.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the course of everyday life, when I’m writing books for middle grade and young adult readers, board books spring to my mind. Sometimes they come from catching a glimpse of a child hugging a parent, or they may spring from a phrase I overhear or say myself. That sounds like a board book, I think, and I write it down quickly. Sometimes, I’ll wake in the night, and a board book text will come to me in rhyme. Along with writing board books, I’ve been recommending quality works at the readertotz blog since 2009 in order to raise the profile of the format. Authors, illustrators, and publishers must create the very best quality, and then we must support, enjoy, and celebrate the works. A simple eight words may introduce a first reader to a love of books for life.

Lorie's book list on children's board books to cut your teeth on

Lorie Ann Grover Why did Lorie love this book?

There are many Leslie Patricelli books featuring Baby but Big Little is an early work in the series. Leslie is a master in teaching concepts with an unexpected twist of humor. “Ladies are big. Ladybugs are little.” Baby is charming with his lemon-shaped head and ever-present diaper. Below his square nose, his smile is contagious. The work is hand-lettered and imagery is emphasized with a heavy black outline. Your baby will love this baby!

By Leslie Patricelli,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Big Little as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Whether you’re big or little, learning about opposites has never been more fun — or funny — than with this winning board book.

Ladies are big, but ladybugs are little. Amiably illustrated in a bright, graphic style, Leslie Patricelli’s spirited board book, Big Little, stars an obliging, bald, and very expressive toddler who acts out each pair of opposites with comically dramatic effect.


Book cover of This Little Artist: An Art History Primer

Lorie Ann Grover Author Of I Love All of Me (Wonderful Me)

From my list on children's board books to cut your teeth on.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the course of everyday life, when I’m writing books for middle grade and young adult readers, board books spring to my mind. Sometimes they come from catching a glimpse of a child hugging a parent, or they may spring from a phrase I overhear or say myself. That sounds like a board book, I think, and I write it down quickly. Sometimes, I’ll wake in the night, and a board book text will come to me in rhyme. Along with writing board books, I’ve been recommending quality works at the readertotz blog since 2009 in order to raise the profile of the format. Authors, illustrators, and publishers must create the very best quality, and then we must support, enjoy, and celebrate the works. A simple eight words may introduce a first reader to a love of books for life.

Lorie's book list on children's board books to cut your teeth on

Lorie Ann Grover Why did Lorie love this book?

Part of the This Little series, Joan Holub’s This Little Artist is an introduction to art history for our wee ones. Daniel Roode’s stylized figures with big round eyes illustrate greats such as Michelangelo, Mary Cassatt, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. A rhyme and portrait give an introduction on the left-hand page, and several facts follow to accompany the artist in their own setting on the right page. The book concludes with eighteen other artists and their techniques, as well as questioning what your reader might create. This is a little treasure of creativity and inspiration.  

By Joan Holub, Daniel Roode (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Little Artist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

Learn all about artists who changed history in this engaging and colorful board book perfect for creators-in-training!

Painting, shaping, making art.
With creative joy, hands, and heart.

Little artists have great big imaginations.

In this follow up to This Little President, This Little Explorer, This Little Trailblazer, and This Little Scientist now even the youngest readers can learn all about great and empowering artists in history! Highlighting ten memorable artists who paved the way, parents and little ones alike will love this creativity primer full of fun, age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations.


Book cover of Antiracist Baby

Christine Ieronimo Author Of The Purple Pail

From my list on bringing children together in acceptance and kindness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm passionate about a world of kindness and inclusiveness. Growing up, I loved to write stories, but reading was hard. My eyes would go over the words but the meaning wouldn’t get to my brain. So I stopped writing. We must start with little children, making sure they believe in themselves, presenting issues of acceptance, diversity, and social justice. I've published two books on this theme and am working on two more. I talk to school classes and the media, and travel to Ethiopia, where I'm involved with their clean water project. I 'm involved in sustainable projects that improve health and education for children and young women. Please visit my website to learn more.

Christine's book list on bringing children together in acceptance and kindness

Christine Ieronimo Why did Christine love this book?

This is a must for all babies and their readers! Ibram Kendi is the director of Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research. He was one of Time magazine’s Most Influential People, 2020. A New York Times bestseller, the book has sold more than half a million copies to date. Antiracist Baby includes nine steps for building world where everyone thrives. 

Illustrator Ashley Lukashevsky, born in Hawaii, uses her art to champion people’s rights, from Black Lives Matter to LGBTQ+ to immigrants.

By Ibram X. Kendi, Ashley Lukashevsky (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Antiracist Baby as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Take your first steps with Antiracist Baby! Or rather, follow Antiracist Baby's nine easy steps for building a more equitable world.

With bold art and thoughtful yet playful text, Antiracist Baby introduces the youngest readers and the grown-ups in their lives to the concept and power of antiracism. Providing the language necessary to begin critical conversations at the earliest age, Antiracist Baby is the perfect gift for readers of all ages dedicated to forming a just society.


Book cover of The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer

Madhur-Nain Webster Author Of The Stressless Brain

From my list on creating inner and outer change in your life area.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been practicing psychotherapy since 1999. I started reading self-help books when I was 19 years old in college because I wanted to know more about myself, why I felt the way I did at times, why I felt stuck at times and how I could feel empowered to make changes. Sadly many books don’t tell you what you can do to change and that is why I wrote my book. The books I am sharing with you have had big effects on my thinking and therefore my behavior. For it is in how we think, we act in our lives and with others. These books help you look at you.

Madhur-Nain's book list on creating inner and outer change in your life area

Madhur-Nain Webster Why did Madhur-Nain love this book?

I am recommending this book, The Art of Impossible, because it creates a deep thinking of “what do I stand for? Where am I going? And How do I get there?” It has science, spirituality, and self-awareness in one place. 

I loved this book so much I went to the store and bought every copy and gave it out to friends and family. When I would read it I felt empowered to think deeply and look at my life with new insight. I was reading this book during the start of covid. It helped me stay focused. Stay engaged in my life path and learn tools on how to stay focused.

By Steven Kotler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Impossible as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Bestseller

Bestselling author and peak performance expert Steven Kotler decodes the secrets of those elite performers-athletes, artists, scientists, CEOs and more-who have changed our definition of the possible, teaching us how we too can stretch far beyond our capabilities, making impossible dreams much more attainable for all of us.


What does it take to accomplish the impossible? What does it take to shatter our limitations, exceed our expectations, and turn our biggest dreams into our most recent achievements?

We are capable of so much more than we know-that's the message at the core of The Art of…


Book cover of Hidden Potential: The Science of Achieving Greater Things

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve said all along that the people I’ve surrounded myself with are the most important part of everything I do - my crew is what helps push me forward and supports me when things are tough. It’s a really important skill to have to continually do two things: better understand myself, through both outside learning and deepening self-awareness, and continue to learn about other people and strengthen all of the relationships I have, both inside and outside of business.

Helaine's book list on business books for digging into your relationship with yourself and others - which is the key to success

Helaine Knapp Why did Helaine love this book?

Who doesn’t love Adam Grant? Just when I think he’s exhausted everything he could write about or interest me in, he comes up with something else!

I love his books across the board, but this one happened to come out as I started the process of an acquisition for my company and moving on to something new for myself, so it felt like great timing for me. His stuff is never dry, and he tells a TON of stories to highlight all his key points, which, as a storyteller myself, I really enjoy.

Ultimately, this book is great for anyone looking to achieve that “success unexpected in common hours” (and though it’s not one of my top five here, you can never go wrong with some Thoreau, either :)

By Adam Grant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hidden Potential as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times Bestseller

“This brilliant book will shatter your assumptions about what it takes to improve and succeed. I wish I could go back in time and gift it to my younger self. It would’ve helped me find a more joyful path to progress.”
—Serena Williams, 23-time Grand Slam singles tennis champion

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again illuminates how we can elevate ourselves and others to unexpected heights.

We live in a world that’s obsessed with talent. We celebrate gifted students in school, natural athletes in sports, and child prodigies in music. But…


Book cover of Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done

John Beeson Author Of The Unwritten Rules: The Six Skills You Need to Get Promoted to the Executive Level

From my list on advancing and succeeding at the executive level.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent many years as a management consultant to a range of big, global corporations, smaller companies, and not-for-profits. I also headed up succession planning and management development at two major companies. I decided to go into this field based on a strong conviction, a conviction that continues today: that leadership counts. Strong leaders benefit people in their organizations and, ultimately, society itself. Having worked with many senior leaders and led organizations myself, I know the range of pressures executives face and how easy it is to fail. Companies need a supply of capable, well-equipped senior leaders, and those who aspire to top-level positions need guideposts about achieving their career aspirations. 

John's book list on advancing and succeeding at the executive level

John Beeson Why did John love this book?

As they move up, executives become more and more responsible for strategy and building the capacity of the organization. But one thing never changes: they are still responsible for making sure that strategic plans get implemented.

Their dilemma, given all the other responsibilities they take on, is how to manage execution without getting bogged down at too low a level of detail. Bossidy is a retired CEO and Charan is a well-respected consultant. They lay out a roadmap for ensuring implementation and simultaneously building organization capacity.

By Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Execution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Larry Bossidy is one of the world's most acclaimed CEOs, with a track record for delivering results that has few peers. Ram Charan is a legendary advisor to senior executives and boards of directors, with unparalleled insight into why some companies are successful and others not. The result is the book people in business need today. One with a highly practical framework for closing the gap between results promised and results delivered. After a long, stellar career with GE, Larry Bossidy became CEO of Allied Signal and transformed it into one of the world's most admired companies. Accomplishments like 31…


Book cover of Y Is for Yet: A Growth Mindset Alphabet

Cindy Williams Schrauben Author Of This Could Be You: Be Brave Be True Believe Be You

From my list on picture books for growth mindset.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a parent, a former educator, and a children’s museum administrator, my passions have always centered around children and encouraging them to believe in themselves. I wrote my book to empower my own grandchildren with a growth mindset, which, in simple terms, means to believe in our own abilities, accept challenges, learn from our mistakes, and persevere. It is the belief that our abilities and talents are malleable as opposed to the view that we are either good at something or we are not. Adapting a growth mindset has been valuable in my own life, as well – it’s not just for kids. Please take a look at these books to give yourself and the kids in your life a healthy new perspective.

Cindy's book list on picture books for growth mindset

Cindy Williams Schrauben Why did Cindy love this book?

I love Y IS FOR YET for its vivid illustrations and the easy, matter-of-fact way it depicts children exhibiting a growth mindset. This book allows EVERY child to see themselves on the pages. The format also makes it simple for adults to encourage a growth mindset in their everyday lives.

By Shannon Anderson, Jake Souva (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Y Is for Yet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Kids learn how to adopt a growth mindset through the familiar structure of the ABCs. Mistakes arena t just mistakes. Theya re growth spurts. Developing a growth mindseta a belief that learning is a process that requires dedication and hard work, not just talenta helps kids learn from their mistakes, build resilience, and strive to be a little better every day. Not your typical alphabet book, Y Is for Yet uses the ABCs as an accessible framework to introduce growth mindset and all its possibilities. From A to Z, or Ability to Zany, kids learn new vocabulary that expands their…


Book cover of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It

Shannon Karels and Kathy Miller Author Of Steel Toes and Stilettos: A True Story of Women Manufacturing Leaders and Lean Transformation Success

From my list on real talk by women authors.

Why are we passionate about this?

We are relatable women who have successful careers in a predominately male industry.  We have run businesses, built teams based on trust and inclusion, become authors, speakers, and advisors, while simultaneously raising children with our also working husbands.  This is not done with ease or without making trade-offs, but we will share our stories and hope to inspire other women.  We believe in supporting women in all areas of our lives and we love to lift up the ones who have impacted us.

Shannon's book list on real talk by women authors

Shannon Karels and Kathy Miller Why did Shannon love this book?

If you suffer at times from Imposter Syndrome, as many women do, including Shannon, then you should pick up this book! 

Valerie provides insights into why we often think we are fooling others with our success. She asks thoughtful questions to help you become more self-aware of your competence type and how that affects your own self-sabotage and self-doubt.

She opened Shannon’s eyes to how women perceive and project their failure and provides incredibly helpful suggestions on how to flip the script on your thought process. Valerie created a safe space to help us all do some reflection, recognize we aren’t the only one’s carrying around this Imposter Syndrome and explains how to overcome it!

By Valerie Young,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Learn to take ownership of your success, overcome self-doubt, and banish the thought patterns that undermine your ability to feel—and act—as bright and capable as others already know you are with this award-winning book by Valerie Young.  

It’s only because they like me. I was in the right place at the right time. I just work harder than the others. I don’t deserve this. It’s just a matter of time before I am found out. Someone must have made a terrible mistake.
 
If you are a working woman, chances are this inter­nal monologue sounds all too familiar. And you’re not…


Book cover of Breaking Ice and Breaking Glass: Leading in Uncharted Waters

Sally Helgesen Author Of How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job

From my list on actually being a leader.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent the last 32 years of my life working with women leaders and aspiring women leaders all over the world and helping organizations to create more inclusive cultures. As a result, I’ve been exposed to extraordinary leaders and to terrible leaders and have seen up close the impact they have on people’s lives. This has inspired me to write 7 books and thousands of articles exploring different aspects of the leader’s journey and to deliver leadership workshops in 32 countries. What do I love? Sharing the stories that inspire me.

Sally's book list on actually being a leader

Sally Helgesen Why did Sally love this book?

Vice Admiral Stosz’s extraordinary career as a US Coast Guard leader culminated in her being the first (and so far only) woman to head a major service academy. I came away from her memoir hugely inspired by her honesty and courage. I also loved her vivid descriptions of long stints on the icebreakers that ply Arctic and Antarctic waters in order to prepare the way for scientific teams, often as the only woman. Her grace and goodwill in those adventure-filled situations come shining through– and sea narratives by women are very rare.

By Vice Admiral Sandra Stosz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Breaking Ice and Breaking Glass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A prime resource for any leader's library."

-James Mattis, General, US Marines (ret), and 26th Secretary of Defense


Today, our nation is like a ship being tossed in tumultuous seas. The winds and waves of change have divided and distanced our society, threatening to wash away the very principles our nation was founded upon. Now more than ever, our nation needs leaders with the moral courage to stand strong and steady-leaders capable of uniting people in support of a shared purpose by building the trust and respect necessary for organizations and their people to thrive.

In Breaking Ice and Breaking…


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