With the New Year around the corner, it’s natural for many of us to begin the process of setting new goals and wishes for the coming year. However, it doesn’t have to be a new calendar year for one to start dreaming up ways to improve one’s life! This list of mentor texts highlights themes of goal setting, perseverance, and the importance of realizing our dreams of the future and how to make them a reality. Read about 10 CHILDREN’S BOOKS FOR SETTING GOALS AND RESOLUTIONS- TIPS INCLUDED!

Sitting in the corner of a classroom is a little boy plotting out his future. Full of big plans, this little boy uses his imagination to describe the many wacky and wild adventures to come in his life, including flying to the moon, becoming mayor, and more. 

Teacher tip: Have your students create their own list of big plans! Encourage students to embrace both the far-fetched and realistic dreams of the future in this brainstorming activity sure to inspire great goal-setting skills.

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

Rosie Revere is an engineer who creates inventions such as a python repellent cheese hat, hot dog dispensers, helium pants, and more. However, Rosie is shy and afraid of sharing her great inventions with anyone—until her great-great aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes to visit! Rosie the Riveter teaches young Rosie that the only true failure is the act of quitting and that mistakes are something to celebrate! 

Teacher tip: Choose one of the many inspiring rhymes within the book to put up in the classroom as a reminder to students to persevere through both their failures and triumphs!

Someday by Eileen Spinelli

Jump into the mind of a young girl whose head is full of dreams about what the future holds for her. This young aspiring artist comes up with many “Somedays…” that help to teach children about the many possibilities that the future holds for them.

Teacher tip: Turn this day-dreaming book into a grammar AND poetry lesson focused on goal setting! Have students create short “Someday” and “Right Now” poems to practice using and differentiating future and present tense verbs.

Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim Bridges

Set in old China, little Ruby defies the normative aspiration of getting married and instead expresses great determination to attend university, just like the boys in her family have done. This book is based on the author’s grandmother and paints a rich portrait of a young girl’s ambitions, hard work, and courage.

Teacher tip: Have your students create their own wish for either this upcoming year or for the future in general. Encourage discussion on how to turn their wishes into reality by pairing up their dreams alongside actions that they can perform to make their own dreams come true.

She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton

Chelsea Clinton highlights thirteen American women with great tenacity and courage to inspire young readers about the value of persistence and determination. Featuring Harriet Tubman, Sally Ride, Oprah Winfrey, and more, this book illustrates the powerful nature of real American heroes who never took no for an answer.

Teacher tip: Use this book as a jumping-off point for a mini history lesson on one or a couple of the female figures within the book. Historical background adds context to the struggles faced by these women, shining light on how they overcame these obstacles.

Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution by Pat Miller

Read about how this squirrel comes up with his own New Year’s Resolution to teach young children about the art of setting goals for themselves.

Teacher tip: After reading, encourage your students to craft their own New Year’s Resolutions and then post them up on the walls as friendly reminders. It’s easy to forget about our resolutions after the hustle and bustle of the holidays but having them in an easily seen place within the classroom will help everyone remember what it is that they want to accomplish in this new year.

I Can Do Hard Things: Mindful Affirmations for Kids by Gabi Garcia

How we speak to ourselves can have a great impact on our self-esteem, which then affects the way we choose to live our lives! This book sheds light on the inner voice, helping students to connect to the power within themselves. Mindful affirmations providing support and encouragement can do wonders within a person, young or old.

Teacher tip: Have the class create their own mindful affirmations or pick some straight out of the book to hang up around the classroom. This will encourage habits of positively affirming the self and can be referred to daily to increase your student’s morale and confidence within the classroom and in the outside world.

Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream by Deloris Jordan and Roslyn M. Jordan

The mother and sister of famous basketball player, Michael Jordan, have teamed up to create a children’s book about how any family can work together to help a child’s dreams come true. Once upon a time, Michael Jordan wanted to give up hooping altogether out of fear that he would never be tall enough or strong enough to make his dreams a reality. This is when Michael’s mom, dad, and sister stepped in to teach young Michael that anyone can become a champion with determination, patience, and hard work.

Teacher tip: This inspiring book can be used alongside a unit on biographies!

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae

All Gerald the giraffe wants to do is dance, but his lanky legs and crooked knees make it hard for him! An unlikely friend helps Gerald dance to his own beat by sharing some kind words of encouragement in this quirky tale of light-hearted rhymes and bright illustrations.

Teacher tip: This book provides a great opportunity to discuss bullying, and how we can all be our own friends in telling ourselves that we CAN do something, even when others tell us we can’t.

The North Star by Peter H. Reynolds

Life is like a long road trip with different routes and signs that could lead us in many different directions! Author Peter H. Reynolds encourages readers to pursue their dreams by stepping off the well-traveled path to follow your heart, rather than doing whatever most people are doing around you. This book has a profound effect on readers, encouraging them to continue observing, wondering, and discovering the exciting world around them.

Teacher tip: Provide craft materials for students to create their own North Stars and allow full creative reign for them to decorate it however they please. These stars could then be hung up in the classroom or taped to the students’ portfolios for a daily reminder to follow their own star.

The New Year provides us with a great time to set goals and aspirations for how we want to make our lives better, but it’s important to teach children that we don’t have to wait for a new calendar year to improve ourselves! These books encourage young readers to believe that real change happens each and every day, and that we all have the power to accomplish our dreams through hard work and determination. 

A full list of books on goal setting and resolutions can be found on our rockin’ Amazon resource list, here.

Keep Rockin’,

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