The Magic of Dreams

“A book is a dream you hold in your hand” – Neil Gaiman

We are naturally curious about the magical stories we experience in our minds as we sleep, trying to record, interpret, and control them. Authors are no different, and these books explore a range of dream experiences – from terrifying nightmares to idyllic daydreams. Dreams can be pleasant, thought-provoking, scary, inspiring, and more, just like books. Be sure to check out the list below and read about some characters who have incredible dreams – but don’t forget to wake up and experience the real world too!

To find more books about the magic of dreams, try searching the catalog using a combination of subject terms like “juvenile fiction” for fiction books or “juvenile literature” for nonfiction books along with “dreams,” “bedtime,” or “sleep.”

Berkner, Laurie.
Pillowland. 2017 (Picture Book)
Treasured song turned into picture book, Pillowland tells the tale of the wonderful, magical dream-world made of pillows. With cut-outs that are positioned to appear three dimensional, the illustrations evoke the creativity of playtime and allow the story to come alive. The promises of dreams and grand adventures are celebrated as the words welcome readers into the possibilities and give them room for their imaginations to take flight.
[S-Collection Q. SE. B4556p]

Calle, Juan.
Good Dream, Bad Dream: The World’s Heroes Save the Night! / Sueño Bueno, sueño malo: ¡los héroes del mundo salvan la noche!. 2014 (Bilingual Picture Book)
In this dynamic bilingual side-by-side text, Papa explains to Julio that “for every bad dream, you can have a good dream to help defeat your fears.” The subsequent pages feature and celebrate heroes defeating monsters from cultures around the world, including the Egyptians, Aztecs, Greeks, Vikings, and more that spark curiosity. The key words are color-coded and bolded in both Spanish and English so that readers can identify and match them. By the end Julio realizes that he is a hero too and has the power to conquer whatever nightmares come his way.
[S-Collection Q. SE. C1321g]

Coelho, Rogerio.
Boat of Dreams. 2017 (Wordless Picture Book)
This wordless picture book features intricate illustrations delicately drawn in sepia tones and black and white that invoke a dreamlike state. When a man who lives with a seagull in a peculiar house on the beach finds a blank sheet of paper in a bottle, he draws a flying ship and sends it back over the water. When a young boy in a city finds it, he adds himself to the drawing and the adventure truly begins. Are the old man and the boy the same person? Is this only a dream? A memory? How far can imagination take us? Readers will have the opportunity to explore these questions and more with this thought-provoking book.
[S-Collection Q. SE. C6509b:E]

DeStefano, Lauren.
Dreaming Dangerous. 2018 (Middle Grade Chapter Book)
At Brassmere Academy for the Extraordinary, Plum and her best friends Vien, Gwendle, and Artem are orphans with a strange shared gift: they fight monsters and go on dangerous journeys together in their dreams each night. After a warning that they are in danger, Artem disappears. Plum and her friends try to search for him and along the way uncover dark secrets about Brassmere. Will they escape and find Artem before it’s too late? This thrilling middle grade novel is sure to keep readers in suspense as Plum and her friends question everything they thought they knew.
[S-Collection S. D473d]

Dufft, Sanne.
The Night Lion. 2018 (Picture Book)
A little reminiscent of Where the Wild Things Are, this book introduces readers to Morgan, a boy who imagines himself as a knight. When he dreams that a robber wants to steal his sword and hat, Nana brings him a stuffed lion to help guard him. The next night Morgan rides on his lion’s back as they gallop swiftly through the woods to chase the robber away, conquering his bad dreams once and for all as he learns to be brave.
[S-Collection SE. D8739ma:E]

Herz, Henry.
Mabel and the Queen of Dreams. 2016 (Picture Book)
Mabel does not like bedtime and has a million excuses not to go to sleep until her mom tells her that the Queen of Fae won’t visit her to give her dreams until she closes her eyes. The story continues as her mom illustrates all the potential dreams Mabel could have, lulling her to sleep with the possibilities. Inspired by Shakespeare’s Queen Mab (the author’s note includes the passage from Romeo and Juliet), the evocative descriptions are what really shine in this book that celebrates the imagination.
[S-Collection Q. SE. H447m]

Laden, Nina.
If I Had a Little Dream. 2017 (Picture Book)
Look, imagine, dream: readers are immersed in the dreams of a child and have the chance to experience the world through her eyes in this picture book. Beautifully intricate illustrations in a blue and orange color scheme give young readers a lot to explore as they take in the simple lyrical text that explores what the little girl would do if she had a… Her profound observations and gratefulness about the beauty and blessings of the world will warm the hearts of adults and children alike.
[S-Collection SE. L122i]

O’Brien, Caragh M.
The Vault of Dreamers. 2014 (YA Chapter Book)
At the prestigious Forge School, the students are all contestants on a reality show where they are put through a rigorous schedule that includes 12 hours of induced sleep designed to enhance creativity. However, one night Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill and discovers that everything is not what it seems. When she finds out that the show and the school are covering up an elaborate scheme that involves dream harvesting, Rosie wrestles with whether she can trust her own mind any more. The mind games in this thought-provoking novel are sure to thrill readers as they work to figure out what it means when someone takes your dreams.
[S-Collection S. Ob621v, also in the CCB]
Be sure the check out the rest of the trilogy – The Rule of Mirrors #2 and The Keep of Ages #3 – also found in the S-Collection! (S. Ob621r and S. Ob621k)

Plum, Amy.
Dreamfall. 2017 (YA Chapter Book)
Cata Cordova suffers from terrible insomnia and agrees to an experimental new procedure as a last resort. However, a malfunction with the equipment leaves her and six other teens stuck in a shared dreamworld where their worst nightmares haunt them. The teens must come together in order to face their fears and defeat their dreams because if they don’t, they will never wake up. The intriguing concept and suspense will definitely keep readers on the edge of their seats – and maybe even give them nightmares.
[Center for Children’s Books S. P732dr]
The sequel, Neverwake, is located in the S-Collection (S. P732drne)!

VanDerwater, Amy Ludwig.
Dreaming of You. 2018 (Picture Book)
A sweet lullaby of a picture book, this story is perfect for bedtime. The comforting, colorful illustrations depict the dreams of various animals, ranging from kittens to turtles, chipmunks, horses, and more. The rhythmic refrain of what animals dream about provides the perfect opportunity to readers to use their imagination and drift off into dreamland.
[S-Collection Q. SE. V286d]