Children are faced with many situations where they need to be brave and courageous. Reading books about brave characters can help and inspire them find that courage.
Here are a few great children’s books that encourage courage.
Franklin In The Dark by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark
This book starts out with Franklin the turtle being scared of the dark — and therefore sleeping in his turtle shell at night. Franklin asks many other animals if they can help him with his problem, and each one shares their fears and how they cope with them. From a bird who is scared to fall from the sky to a polar bear who is afraid of freezing on cold nights, he sees that everyone is scared of something… even his own mother. By facing his fear head on, he comes up with his own way to combat the dark.
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn and Ruth E. Harper
When Chester the raccoon is getting ready for his first night at school he fears he will miss his mom too much. Staying home with her is where he would rather be. Expressing his fear to his mother, she tells him the legend of The Kissing Hand. She kisses Chester’s hand and closes it tight. She explains that her kiss with stay with him all day, and he can place it on his cheek if he feels sad or nervous. It is a magic kiss, that won’t wash off. In turn, he kisses her hand to comfort her throughout her night without him. This story is a staple for little ones starting daycare, school or camp to help them be courageous without their parent.
Jillian Jiggs To The Rescue by Phoebe Gilman
With its rhythmical narration, this book touches on fear and courage all in one. Jillian’s sister Rebecca is scared of a monster. Not only does Jillian comfort her sister, she and her friends create a monster machine to trap the monster and stop him from scaring Rebecca ever again. Setting off into the neighborhood with the machine, they eventually come upon their target, chanting “Kalamazoo” to make them monster-proof.
In an interesting twist at the end, Rebecca shows compassion by wondering if the monster just wants a friend. Chasing down the monster is scary for all of them, but having their friends by their sides makes them all brave and monster-proof.
Courage by Bernard Waber
The title of this book says it all — it’s a book about courage in all forms. Whether it’s riding a roller coaster, being a firefighter or keeping a secret, this books explains to kids all the ways to be courageous. A great read for school-aged children.
Rainbow Fish to the Rescue by Marcus Pfister
This book is the second in the series about the Rainbow Fish, a beautiful fish covered in shiny scales. In the first book he shares his scales with the other fish, realizing that sharing is the right thing to do.
In this volume, Rainbow Fish’s friends reject a striped fish who asks to join their game of tag. Rainbow Fish feels conflicted, but chooses to follow his friends instead of hanging back with the striped fish. But when a shark shows up, Rainbow Fish knows he has to help save the little striped fish. Rainbow Fish musters up enough courage to scare away the shark and save the little fish. This is a great book to help kids navigate through tricky social situations and follow their hearts.
Auto-B-Good: Mystery of the Spooky Junkyard by Phillip Walton
A good choice for older kids is The Mystery of the Spooky Junkyard. In this comic strip type story, the cars discover a ghost lives in the junkyard. When a brave car shows up and promises to catch the ghost for good (for a small fee) they trust that his courage will be enough for all of them. Once the brave car is outed as a fraud, they have to save themselves. Being put in a high-pressure situation brings out the courage the cars didn’t know they had.
Teaching kids to rely on their own emotions and encouraging their own bravery is a great life lesson to learn.
Whether they are dealing with separation anxiety, being bullied, or trying something new and unfamiliar all, kids need help with courage from time to time. Reading stories about difficult situations and talking with your kids about their worries can make a world of difference in the bravery department.