Dream Big!: How To Reach for Your Stars

Philomel. Jan. 2021. 304p. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780593116753.
Gr 5 Up–This interactive guide teaches strategies for readers to achieve their dreams. Harrison, an aspiring astronaut, aims to be the first person to land on Mars. This goal motivated her to cofound an international STEM nonprofit called The Mars Generation. The text asks readers to first identify a specific dream, break down the dream into smaller action steps, and then craft an elevator pitch to share with others. Advice is provided on how to overcome fears and possible failures while achieving a balanced life and avoiding burnout. Harrison also emphasizes the need to seek out mentors and become a part of a diverse community to learn from others’ perspectives. The conversational style is easy to understand. Chapters feature inspirational quotes from athletes, scientists, activists, and entertainers. The text includes the experiences of notable people who have overcome obstacles to achieve their goals. For example, the adventurer Bear Grylls overcame a spinal injury to eventually climb Mount Everest in 1998. There are eye-catching fonts, icons, think bubbles, and callouts. The illustrations depict characters with light and dark skin tones; one girl wears a hijab. There are also guided journaling activities, with prompted lists, questions, and charts. The content is appropriate for middle and high school, with many of the strategies being pertinent to college and adult readers as well.
VERDICT A recommended purchase for middle school and high school libraries. Counselors assisting high schoolers with college preparation and educators teaching leadership classes will find many of the journaling activities very useful.

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