Are you ready to try goal setting with your students this year, but not sure how to start? Grab an inspiring picture book to help set the tone! Here are some picture books for goal setting that might just inspire your students to dream big!
You can click on any of the covers below to learn more about these Picture Books for Goal Setting or find all of these books on my Amazon page.
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Picture Books for Goal Setting
Here are some of my favorite picture books for goal setting along with a few recommendations from my teacher friends. These picture books will help your kids learn about overcoming obstacles, perseverance, a growth mindset, how it’s okay to make mistakes, and more!
The North Star
by Peter H. Reynolds
Ask yourself where it is you want to go. . . .
It is often said that life is a journey, and it’s true. But sometimes it’s hard to know which path to follow, when signs point in so many directions. In this beautifully illustrated book, Peter H. Reynolds once again encourages readers to observe, to wonder, and to consider diverging from the well-worn path—to pursue their dreams.
by Eileen Spinelli
Someday I am going to be a great artist. Today I am off to help my dad paint the shed.
It’s hard to be content with the present moment when you are little. The future has infinitely more possibilities! This book lets us enter the mind and heart of a little girl whose dreams reach well beyond today.
The Little Engine That Could
by Watty Piper
The story of a train filled with toys and gifts for little boys and girls that breaks down before reaching the children. After asking several passing trains for help over the hill, a little blue train agrees to help the stranded toys. Even though she is small, the blue train tries her best to bring the toys to the children on the other side of the hill.
Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution
by Pat Miller
Squirrel knows that New Year’s Day is a great day for making resolutions! But what does it mean to make a resolution, anyway? As she makes visits around the forest she learns about New Year’s resolutions and helps her friends get started on theirs. If only she can think of a resolution of her very own. You can find some resources to pair with this book here.
Salt in His Shoes
by Delores Jordan
Michael Jordan. The mere mention of the name conjures up visions of basketball played at its absolute best. But as a child, Michael almost gave up on his hoop dreams, all because he feared he’d never grow tall enough to play the game that would one day make him famous. That’s when his mother and father stepped in and shared the invaluable lesson of what really goes into the making of a champion — patience, determination, and hard work.
Whistle for Willie
by Ezra Jack Keats
If Peter could only learn to whistle, than his dog, Willie would hear him and come running. But nothing Peter does seems to help. It’s not until Peter least expects it that his wish comes true, and he blows a whistle that brings Willie running.
by Mary Hoffman
Grace loves stories, whether they’re from books, movies, or the kind her grandmother tells. So when she gets a chance to play a part in Peter Pan, she knows exactly who she wants to be.
Rosie Revere, Engineer
by Andrea Beaty
Rosie Revere dreamed of becoming a great engineer. Where some people see rubbish, Rosie sees inspiration. Alone in her room at night, shy Rosie constructs great inventions from odds and ends. Hot dog dispensers, helium pants, python-repelling cheese hats: Rosie’s gizmos would astound—if she ever let anyone see them.
Afraid of failure, she hides them away under her bed. Until a fateful visit from her great-great-aunt Rose (AKA Rosie the Riveter!), who shows her that the first flop isn’t something to fear—it’s something to celebrate. And you can only truly fail, if you quit.
by Mo Willems
This book is a powerful symphony of chance, discovery, persistence, and magic in this moving tale of a young girl’s journey to center stage.
by Shirin Yim Bridges
Ruby is unlike most little girls in old China. Instead of aspiring to get married, Ruby is determined to attend university when she grows up, just like the boys in her family. This is the portrait of a young girl who’s full of ambition and the family who rewards her hard work and courage.
Giraffe’s Can’t Dance
by Giles Andreae
Gerald the giraffe wants nothing more than to dance. With crooked knees and thin legs, it’s harder for a giraffe than you would think. Gerald is finally able to dance to his own tune when he gets some encouraging words from an unlikely friend. You can find some resources to pair with this book here.
by Chelsea Clinton
Throughout American history, there have always been women who have spoken out for what’s right, even when they have to fight to be heard. This book celebrates thirteen American women who helped shape our country through their tenacity, sometimes through speaking out, sometimes by staying seated, sometimes by captivating an audience. They all certainly persisted. She Persisted is for everyone who has ever wanted to speak up but has been told to quiet down, for everyone who has ever tried to reach for the stars but was told to sit down, and for everyone who has ever been made to feel unworthy or unimportant or small.
After the Fall
by Dan Santat
Everyone knows that when Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. But what happened after? This book follows Humpty Dumpty, an avid bird watcher whose favorite place to be is high up on the city wall―that is, until after his famous fall. Now terrified of heights, Humpty can longer do many of the things he loves most. Will he summon the courage to face his fear?
Thanks for the Feedback…I Think?
by Julia Cook
This story follows RJ as he goes about his day doing the things he enjoys, such as blowing bubbles, playing soccer, and hanging out with friends. But when a couple of friends give him compliments, he just isn’t sure how to respond! As RJ continues through the day, he hears from his teacher and parents that while there are many things he’s doing very well, there are also some things he needs to work on. His first reaction is to argue and make excuses instead of accept constructive criticism. RJ learns what it means to receive positive and negative feedback, and how to respond appropriately to that feedback.
I Can Do Hard Things
by Gabi Garcia
What we tell ourselves matters! This is just as true for kids as it is for adults. Help your child tap into their inner strength and find the encouragement they need to navigate their daily environments. Mindful affirmations can help your child tune out the streams of messages they get about how they should be in the world.
The Oldest Student
by Rita Lorraine Hubbard
Imagine learning to read at the age of 116! Discover the true story of Mary Walker, the nation’s oldest student who did just that!
In 1848, Mary Walker was born into slavery. At age 15, she was freed, and by age 20, she was married and had her first child. By age 68, she had worked numerous jobs, including cooking, cleaning, babysitting, and selling sandwiches to raise money for her church. At 114, she was the last remaining member of her family. And at 116, she learned to read.
Thank You, Mr. Falker
by Patricia Polacco
Trisha could paint and draw beautifully, but when she looked at words on a page, all she could see was jumble. It took a very special teacher to recognize little Trisha’s dyslexia: Mr. Falker, who encouraged her to overcome her reading disability.
A Chair for My Mother
by Vera B. Williams
After their home is destroyed by a fire, Rosa, her mother, and grandmother save their coins to buy a really comfortable chair for all to enjoy.
by Mary Nhin
When friends invite Lazy Ninja to some outings, he turns them down and opts to play games and watch TV. He just can’t find the motivation or simply put, he’s stuck in a rut! But then, a friend pays him a visit and helps him see what he’s missing out on. Find out what happens in this comedic book about setting goals and finding motivation.
by Bob Shea
I’ve got big plans, BIG PLANS I say! A little boy sits in the corner of a classroom, plotting his future. He’s got plans…and have you heard? They’re BIG. With the help of a mynah bird and lucky stinky hat, he’ll find a quarter…boss around some muckety-mucks…become the mayor–or even the president! And while he’s at it…fly to the moon! This story is perfect for any child who is ready to dream BIG. Are you in?
Goal Setting Resources
Now that you have some picture books about goal setting share with your students, you’re ready to take the next step. Here are some resources to help you get started:
Do you have a favorite that didn’t make the list? Let me know so I can check it out!
You might also enjoy these book lists:
I hope your students dream big and work hard this year!