Last summer, my eldest son was determined to conquer his fear of the fire pole at our local playground. He’d tackled every other piece of equipment at the park over the years, from the toddler swings to the monkey bars, but the fire pole still made him nervous. He’d watch warily as his friends slid down the pole, opting to take the slide down instead.
Then, one day, he decided he was ready to give it a try. At first, he insisted that I stand at the bottom and help him, afraid that he might fall while trying to get from the platform to the pole. Slowly but surely, he asked for help less and less, and by the end of the season, he was calling across the playground for me to watch him from a distance. He slid to the bottom of the pole and then glanced over at me with a proud smile and yelled “Mummy! I did it!”
Childhood is full of moments of courage and bravery like this, whether they’re letting go of the couch to take those first wobbly steps on their own, or letting go of your hand to walk into their first day of Kindergarten. And along the way, we’re always right there, cheering them on.
For some little ones, finding their courageous side can be a bit tricky. And who could blame them? Even adults struggle to be brave sometimes. If your kiddo could use some extra encouragement, these books about being brave are a great example of what it means to have courage, face your fears, and, above all, never give up.
The Lion Inside
As the meekest creature in the land, Mouse constantly finds himself being overlooked and ignored by the other animals. Mouse decides that he must learn how to be tough and find his roar—and what better teacher than the fierce lion? Despite his fears, Mouse bravely approaches the lion and finds that the big, shouty king of the rock might not be so fierce after all. With bright, fun illustrations by Jim Field, Rachel Bright’s story reminds kids that being brave has nothing to do with your size. Recommended for ages 3 to 5.
$12 | Available at Amazon.ca
I Will Be Fierce
Kids will love the brave heroine of Bea Birdsong’s story that turns a regular school day into an epic adventure. Once her armour is on, she sets out to face the challenges ahead, whether she’s battling dragons (dogs), walking with giants (the big kids), or building bridges (making new friends). All the while, she repeats the same positive message: today I will be fierce! Illustrated by Nidhi Chanani, this uplifting book is perfect for little ones who may feel nervous or anxious about going to school. Recommended for ages 3 to 6.
$23 | Available at Amazon.ca
Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave
Jessica Hische celebrates the power of positive affirmations in this gorgeously illustrated book that’s all about trying your best to be brave, adventurous, smart and strong. It’s a perfect bedtime story that sets a hopeful tone for the day ahead. Recommended for ages 3 to 7.
$14 | Available at Indigo.ca
The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do
Lou loves adventures—as long as they’re on the ground. When Lou’s friends decide to take their fun to the next level and climb a tree, Lou comes up with plenty of creative reasons not to join them. Written and illustrated by Ashley Spires, this book reminds readers that even the bravest kids struggle to try new things sometimes. Recommended for ages 3 to 7.
$19 | Available at Indigo.ca
What does it mean to be a brave kid? In this story by Stacy McAnulty, brave kids seek adventure, have courageous hearts, and never give up. They tell the truth, and stick up for others. It’s an empowering message, paired with illustrations by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff that depict brave kids as everyday superheroes who make the world a better place. Recommended for ages 3 to 7.
$21 | Available at Amazon.ca
Brave As Can Be: A Book of Courage
In this book by Jo Witek, a little girl recalls all the things that she was afraid of when she was smaller: thunderclaps and creepy crawlies, the neighbour’s dog, and her dark bedroom at night. Her fears were the size of a mountain! But now that she’s older, the little girl has grown brave. Suddenly, those things don’t seem so scary anymore. In fact, sometimes she finds that scary things can be fun—like Halloween costumes and spooky stories. With cutouts on each page and playful illustrations by Christine Roussey, this book is sure to be a favourite with kids and adults alike. Recommended for ages 3 to 8.
$22 | Available at Amazon.ca
A Little Chicken
Dot the chicken has a long list of fears, from bears and wolves to creepy-looking lawn ornaments. But when Dot accidentally knocks an egg out of the chicken coop, she’ll have to face her fears in order to rescue her future sibling. With its bright and cheerful illustrations by Dan Taylor, Tammi Sauer’s tale of finding courage when you need it most is sure to bring on plenty of laughs during storytime. Recommended for ages 4 and up.
$23 | Available at Indigo.ca
Like so many children, Lazlo is afraid of the dark. He knows all the spots that it hides in his house, and avoids it as much as he can. But when his trusty nightlight goes out one night, suddenly Lazlo is forced to confront the dark—and it’s not what he expected at all. Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen give a classic childhood fear a fresh twist in this book that brings the dark to life in a not-so-scary way. Recommended for ages 4 to 7.
$20 | Available at Indigo.ca
Jabari just can’t wait to jump off the diving board at the swimming pool—until it’s his turn to climb the ladder, that is. But with a little pep talk from his dad, Jabari takes a deep breath and finds the courage to finally give the diving board a try. Kids and adults alike will love Gaia Cornwall’s story about the important role that parents play in helping kids to overcome their fears. Recommended for ages 4 to 8.
$22 | Available at Amazon.ca