When developing risk-taking, self-confident children, parents know that showing children examples of bravery is more effective than talking about this rather intangible word. Two new picture books about bravery in action will leave children chuckling with delight and feeling strong and confident.
Lindsay Leslie’s This Book is Spineless has the most imaginative approach to overcoming fears. The book itself is scared of what lies ahead as the pages turn, and the book asks readers to help it be brave and face its fears. With book puns such as “being spineless” or “growing a spine,” this story is sure to be a delight to children and the adults who read to them.
Leslie’s sensory language will almost allow young readers to hear the ghosts, see the mysterious strangers and feel a rocket’s propulsion during their adventure with the book. At the end, the book also realizes that while it needed a little push from the reader, it quite liked the journey and was proud of preserving to the end of the tale and surviving spooky events that frightened it.
Illustrator Alice Brereton creates scary mirror-image prints in blacks and grays. Once the book plucks up enough courage to advance beyond these illustrations, the book becomes even braver and takes many risks to finish the story. Bright colors create an explosion of joy and confidence at the end.
When You Are Brave also focuses on rising to and successfully navigating life’s challenges. Author Pat Zietlow Miller (Sophie’s Squash) creates an inspirational story that is quietly profound with positive messages of looking inside oneself to find a tiny seed of courage which will grow with use.
A young girl is faced with moving somewhere brand new and far away. But soon the girl realizes she has to be as brave as a caterpillar that goes to sleep, not knowing when it will wake up; or like the lost dog who searches for miles for his welcoming backyard light; or a baby bird, launching from the nest for the first time. Even when things might not work out, having had the courage to try is a mighty life lesson.
Illustrator, Eliza Wheeler, (Doll Bones and Miss Maple’s Seeds), creates richly detailed gray, dark scenes when the girl is scared. Once she reaches deep inside to find her courage, Wheeler depicts the tiny fire starts to glow from within her, which soon grows into a magical, shimmering set of wings. The connection between the girls’ growing courage and the growing light is a beautiful inspiration for young readers.