Picture books about fear and bravery

Thanks for joining my “Mommy and Me” Book Club. I hope you’re enjoying my ongoing “stay in bed and read” series. See my previous post on The Nightingale for a book summary and “quotable quotes”.

As you’re reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah in bed (or in your favorite armchair), feel free to share these picture books with your children.

For every “mommy book” read, I’ll suggest a “me book” for your children with a similar theme. It is my hope that this “Mommy and Me” book club is a fun activity for you and your children.

10 Picture Books About Fear and Bravery

1. The Dark (2013) | Lemony Snicket 

Is your child afraid of the dark? Lemony Snicket collaborates with illustrator Jon Klassen, and the result is a very imaginative tale in which main character Laszlo and the Dark talk to each other. This clever book reassures young readers that the dark is nothing to be afraid of and in fact isn’t too bad after all. (Age Range:  5-6 years)

2. Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats (2015)| Alicia Potter

In this adorable picture book, shy cats learn to be brave at Miss Hazeltine’s Home. (I need to send my cat!) The lessons get real for one scaredy-cat who must save the missing headmistress. This cute book is ideal if you have a fearful little one at home. (Age Range:  5-8 years)

3. Brave Irene (2011) | William Steig

An intrepid girl volunteers to run an errand for her sick mother. Will she make it to the duchess’s house in time to deliver the package? Or will the winter winds ruin everything? (Age Range:  4-8 years)

4. Sheila Rae the Brave (1996) | Kevin Henkes

The eponymous character is already brave when we first meet her. She isn’t afraid of thunder, dogs, or stepping on cracks. But when she gets lost, Sheila Rae discovers fears she never knew she had and must rely on her scaredy-cat sister, Louise. (Age Range:  4-8 years)

5. Courage (2002) | Bernard Waber

A great book for starting the conversation about courage. Readers are invited to take notice of courage in their everyday lives, finding it in the less obvious people and places. This book explores extraordinary and ordinary acts of courage. (Age Range:  4-7 years)

6. Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun (2008) | Maria Dismondy

Lucy is different, and Ralph, who can be mean, likes to point out what makes her unique. When Ralph really needs Lucy’s help, she must stand up and make a choice. This offbeat book empowers young children to be brave and do the right thing, even when faced with a sticky situation. (Age Range:  4-11 years)

7. Nightsong (2012) | Ari Berk

Chiro is an apprehensive bat who has misgivings about his first solo flight. Momma reassures him that good sense, like echolocation, will guide him along the way. This lyrical book encourages readers to trust in their instincts and abilities! (Age Range:  4-8 years)

8. The Princess Knight (2004) | Cornelia Funke

Princess Violetta can joust with the best of her three brothers – even outfighting, outriding, and outshining them. When her widowed father King Wilfred insists she marry the winner of a tournament, Violetta’s youngest brother offers to win and save her, but she replies: “Thank you…but I think I’d better just see to it myself.” This triumphant book punches a hole in the cardboard princess stereotype and has you rooting for the Princess from start to finish. (Age Range:  3-6 years)

9. Max the Brave (2015)| Ed Vere

The title character is a small, black kitten who’s ready to brave the world and chase mice, only he doesn’t know what a mouse looks like! Readers follow Max as he interacts with different creatures along the way: a fly, fish, a flock of birds, and finally a mouse who convinces the gullible Max he’s a monster not a mouse! This hilarious book will have you belly laughing from the first page to the last. (Age Range:  3-6 years)

10. The Terrible Plop (2009) | Ursula Dubosarsky

The sky is falling; the sky is falling! The animals, even the fiercest among them like the fox, elephant, and big brown bear, are in a tizzy over the unexplained noise ‘up there’. Only the littlest bunny stays calm when the sky – or ‘something else up there’ – starts falling. Keep calm and don’t look up! (Age Range:  3-6 years)

Check out SIBM’s Past Recommendations for More Books About Fear and Bravery:

A Final Thought – From the Pillow

It’s never too early to teach your little ones “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…” Here’s to raising ferocious monster-under-the-bed chasers.

So go stock your child’s home library with picture books that inspire boldness and bravery.

What other picture books would you add the list?

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