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If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It: How 25 Inspiring Individuals Found Their Dream Jobs

by Colleen Nelson and Kathie MacIsaac; Scot Ritchie (ill.)

clockwise: Colleen Nelson and Kathie MacIsaac

This entry-level guide to career exploration prompts readers to get excited and start dreaming. While career books often zero in on a particular field or profile the lives of famous people, writing duo Colleen Nelson and Kathie MacIsaac take a more sweeping – and glowingly positive – approach. They focus on 25 individuals currently employed in their dream job. Arranged in no particular order, the occupations span a number of fields: unconventional jobs such as smokejumper, play-by-play commentator, and professional video game player are balanced with more traditional jobs such as teacher, farmer, and restaurant owner.

The main text is embellished with helpful, engaging sidebars. For example, “Living the Dream” and “Inspiring Individuals” often feature kids or adults who started young to match the authors’ advice: “It’s never too early to follow your passion.” However, the section called “Getting Schooled,” a handy reference to education and training at the start of the book, might have been more effective tucked at the back. Peppered with complex terminology (e.g., post-secondary, baccalaureate) and few visuals, this spread slows the book’s early momentum.

The lively artwork and design include doodles of stars and bubbles, and the decorations above some letters in the headings feature motion-filled flourishes. Indeed, nothing sits still – even sheets of paper float above a madly scribbling author – a testament to the finesse of Scot Ritchie’s dynamic illustrations.

Although the foreword indicates that everyone encountered adversity in their journeys, this is seldom referred to in the profiles. Instead, a strong, “yes, you can” message prevails. Diversity and inclusion are fully integrated, defying stereotypes and promoting success. The importance of mental health is voiced by a barber who is also an advocate for transgender people, and a Muslim clothing designer uses her designs to destigmatize mental health and empower Indigenous women, single mothers, and refugees. That being said, in the profile about a woman NHL scout, the text noting that it’s “definitely a non-traditional job,” clashes with the phrase “especially for a woman.” Why draw attention to this gender barrier ­– which kids may not be aware of?

Minor quibbles aside, this motivating guide will make an excellent addition to school libraries, and perfect for children who are discovering their passions and developing new skills.


Reviewer: Jill Bryant

Publisher: Pajama Press


Price: $24.95

Page Count: 64 pp

Format: Cloth

ISBN: 978-1-77278-228-8

Released: October

Issue Date: January 2023

Categories: Children and YA Non-fiction, Kids’ Books

Age Range: 8–12