Dream Big
Amazon Buy Now button

Dream Big: A True Story of Courage and Determination

Illustrated by Ron Himler

Have you ever had a dream? How did you make that dream come true?

Dave McGillivray, race director of the Boston Marathon, had a dream when he was a Read More

Free Teacher Resources
Available In:
Hardcover, $16.95
eBook, $6.99
Includes: Timeline | Maps
Specs: 8x11 size | 4-color interior | 32 pages
Subject: Language Arts
Leveling: Ages 7-12 |Grade Level 3-4 |
- Show Keywords -


Publishers Weekly
“McGillivray, the director of the Boston Marathon, tells his story of overcoming obstacles to complete the marathon for the first time. As a small child, McGillivray found strength and confidence through running. At 17, he entered the marathon without adequately training. Though he collapsed during the race, he accepted a challenge from his grandfather (“my favorite person in the whole world”) to try again: “If you train and work hard, I promise to wait for you next year and cheer you on.” His grandfather’s untimely death served as greater motivation to complete the race. Himler works in spare, pencil-and-wash paintings that bring a quality of intimacy to the page. McGillivray’s sentiments about his grandfather are tender, but in some ways narrow the focus of the story; readers are more likely to grasp the more universal message about setting realistic goals and taking a measured approach to achieving them.”

School Library Journal
“Readers will be drawn to McGillivray’s honest perspective, but their attention will be held by the description of running marathons, the drama of counting down the last few miles along with the text. The significance of strong family relationships and the reality of achieving personal goals make this title ideal for character education or a unit about families. The illustrations are colorful and support the story well. VERDICT A delightful true tale about dreaming big, and the effort and commitment required to make those dreams come true.”

Kirkus Reviews Jan. 15th 2018 edition
“There are many ways to meet a challenge, and they all don't have to come from inside. Two of the great fruits of McGillivray's story are that it applies to so many people and it is true. True stories let us know that our dreams really can come true. A salutary, mission-driven tribute to hard work and persistence.”

School Library Connection, March 2018
“This picture book autobiography about accomplished distance runner Dave McGillivray delivers an excellent role model for kids who are on the fringes, empowering them to achieve.”

All About the Books with Janet Squires
“Young readers will discover an inspiring story that carries a strong message of courage, perseverance, and the ability to overcome challenges. Better yet is Dave’s closing remarks as he explains that his dream of becoming an athlete was transformed into an opportunity to provide other athletes with the chance to realize their running goals by his willingness to explore alternate paths to success. Award-winning artist, Ron Himler’s illustrations create a lovely visual journey that serves the text well without overpowering the narrative.”

Matt Damon, actor, producer
“So many great messages in Dream Big: don’t let any challenge you have hold you back; work hard to make your big dreams come true; and one special person can change the entire course of your life.”

Dave Cowens, retired NBA player and head coach, elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame
“I have grand babies now and am reading a lot of kids’ books! This one is superior in its message and originality.”

Diana Nyad, author, journalist, motivational speaker, long-distance swimmer
“A compelling tale that will move everyone to chase any big dream in their heart, no matter how unlikely success seems.”

Peter H. Reynolds, author of "The Dot", founder of FableVision
“Dave McGillivray's life is an extraordinary example of a journey switched on 'maximum.' DREAM BIG will inspire both young and old alike!”

Teacher Resources

Collection Icon


Looking for more? Take a look at related books in these collections!

Detailed Book Description

Have you ever had a dream? How did you make that dream come true?

Dave McGillivray, race director of the Boston Marathon, had a dream when he was a kid—to be a star athlete. There was one problem—you have to be big to play sports, but Dave was small!

In Dream Big: A True Story of Courage and Determination, Dave tells the true story of how he turns to running, because you don’t have to be big to be a marathon runner. But you do need to train. And Dave doesn’t do much training before he crosses his first starting line of the Boston Marathon. Which is probably why he doesn’t quite cross the finish line on his first attempt at the famous race. But his Grandpa believes in him, and that’s enough to make Dave train hard for the next Boston Marathon. But will his Grandpa be there to see him succeed?

An inspiring true story about passion, grief, and determination from Dave McGillivray, race director of the Boston Marathon and world-renowned athlete, entrepreneur, speaker, and philanthropist.