What did you want to be when you grew up? Maybe an astronaut, a veterinarian, or a firefighter? And what inspired your dream? For many of us, it was the media—the books we read, the movies we watched, and the music we listened to—as well as the jobs our parents went to every single day.

For the last 23 years, Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day has been inspiring American children as more than just a break from school. Rather, it gives parents the opportunity to show their children the value of continuing education, the delicate balance of work and home life, and the importance of never giving up on their goals. So, in honor of this holiday on April 28, 2016, and the many things that have inspired us since we were young, Overcup has compiled a list of five books that bring excitement and whimsy to prospective jobs and work:

Ice Cream Work by Naoshi picture book cover

Ice Cream Work, written and illustrated by Naoshi (Overcup Press, 2015)

In Overcup’s own playfully sweet Ice Cream Work, readers follow Ice Cream Man, a modest ice cream cone man, on his quest to find jobs throughout a typical work week. During his cheerful search, Ice Cream Man finds himself in many different places and in an array of challenging situations. But through it all, he remains brave and confident as he takes on more and more difficult jobs. With a surreal vibe created by Naoshi’s kawaii (“cute” in Japanese) illustrations done using Sunae, the Japanese technique of painting with colored sand, Ice Cream Work is an eccentric way to show children the importance of perseverance and industriousness. Most importantly, Ice Cream Work reminds us that everyone has unique traits which makes us special.

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty book cover

Rosie Revere, Engineer, written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts (Harry N. Abrams, 2013)

In this multi-award winning tale, the shy and quiet Rosie becomes a master inventor every night, creating different gizmos and gadgets she hides under her bed come morning. She dreams of one day becoming an engineer, so when her great-great aunt Rose (aka Rosie the Riveter) tells Rosie that her one unachieved goal is to fly, Rosie sets to work making Aunt Rose’s dream come true. But when Rosie’s flying machine crashes, she deems herself a failure—until Aunt Rose tells her that quitting is the only way she could truly fail. A fun story told through rhyming text, Rosie Revere, Engineer encourages young children to dream big and to try, try, try again at whatever their goal may be—no matter what obstacles stand in their way!

Book cover for Richard Scary's What Do People Do All Day

What Do People Do All Day?, written and illustrated by Richard Scarry (Random House, 1968)

In the perennial classic What Do People Do All Day?, Richard Scarry introduces an excitingly eclectic world that showcases what busy people do all day and where they go. From building homes to flying planes, growing food to keeping house, this book’s fun illustrations do an incredible job demonstrating the wide variety of things done by grown-ups. Guaranteed to captivate any young child, What Do People Do All Day? provides plenty of material to spark any imagination!

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton (HMH Books, 1939)

Another classic children’s book, celebrating its 77th anniversary this year, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel tells the story of Mike and his trusty steam shovel, Mary Ann. After many years of digging canals, cutting mountain passes, and hollowing out cellars, their future is threatened by new technology—the electric shovel. When Mike’s boss threatens to throw Mary Ann away, it’s up to Mike to prove that he and Mary Ann can dig as much as a hundred men put together. Written by Caldecott-winner Virginia Lee Burton, this story teaches kids the importance of team effort, old-fashioned hard work, and the importance of not giving up on your goals.

Book cover for Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do

Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do, written by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook and illustrated by Andy Robert Davies (Charlesbridge, 2014)

In the delightfully interactive Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do, readers are asked in four-line stanzas to examine and identify the work clothes hung out to dry on a neighborhood clothesline. Each following page reveals the profession attributed to each outfit, such as a mail carrier, an artist, and a chef. A refreshingly progressive book, the authors erase limitations and disregard gender stereotypes by making the astronaut, carpenter, and firefighter all women. With its mix of engaging text and fun illustrations, Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do is perfect for opening the minds of young children to the many careers available to them.

So this year, when you bring your child to work, make sure you bring one of these books as well. And if you find yourself wondering more about just how Ice Cream Man came to life to get all his jobs done, check out the Ice Cream Work book trailer!

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