When you're a little kid, it is normal to be unnerved by the big world around you. After all, there are many things to fear: new schools, bullies, and (in many ways) the act of growing up itself. Thankfully, there are plenty of books that can inspire your kids to be brave. Because even though the world can be scary, your kids can learn to emulate their favorite characters and put on a brave face.
Whether your kid needs some encouragement to navigate tricky social situations or needs help to deal with major life changes, books are there to help. These reads are hilarious, inspiring, and poignant. They will take you from the wild West to remote islands to the jungle. But wherever they take you, these books have one thing in common: they will help your kids feel ready to take on the world.
Hey, growing up takes a lot of guts. How much did you have to rally to walk into a new classroom or learn how to deal with bullies? It isn't easy. So it makes sense to encourage your kid to develop a sense of bravery early on. Hopefully this sense of self-assurance will carry over well into their teenage years and adulthood.
1'Extremely Cute Animals Operating Heavy Machinery' by David Gordon
How do you deal with bullies? Even if you're extremely cute, you can still stand up for yourself in a big way, as shown in David Gordon's Extremely Cute Animals Operating Heavy Machinery. Karen may be adorable, but when bullies invade her playground, she does not play nice.
2'The Paper Bag Princess' by Robert Munsch & Michael Martchenko
This princess can outwit dragons and save the day herself. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch & Michael Martchenko is the funny story of a young woman who is brave, clever, and in no need of rescue.
3'The Brave Cowboy' by Joan Walsh Anglund
Imaginative and fun, The Brave Cowboy by Joan Walsh Anglund has been a beloved read for generations. Your kid can also pretend to be a brave cowboy in the old West.
4'Alan's Big, Scary Teeth' by Jarvis
Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is stay true to yourself. In Jarvis' Alan's Big Scary Teeth, an alligator decides whether to keep pretending he's a frightening member of the jungle — or just learn to enjoy life without the benefit of his false teeth.
5'Hensel and Gretel: Ninja Chicks' by Corey Rosen Schwartz & Rebecca J. Gomez
After a fox steals their dad, Hensel and Gretel use their ninja training to get him back. Hensel and Gretel: Ninja Chicks prove that some chickens can kick serious butt.
6'First Day Jitters' by Julie Danneberg & Judy Love
Hey, even the bravest people in the world get nervous sometimes. First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg & Judy Love shows how Sara experiences, and overcomes, her fear about starting a new school.
7'Island Of The Blue Dolphins' by Scott O'Dell
When she's left behind on an island, Karana uses her smarts to survive and prosper. Whether she's constructing shelter or fighting off wild dogs, Karana braves the elements with courage in Scott O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins.
8'As Brave As You' by Jason Reynolds
Jason Reynolds' As Brave As You tackles many difficult themes in an interesting and spirited read. Two brothers visit their grandfather in Virginia and learn, on their own terms, what it means to be brave.
9'Viva Frida' by Yuyi Morales
Few artists are as indomitable as Frida Kahlo. Yuyi Morales' Viva Frida explores her brave, creative spirit in a simple story with gorgeous illustrations.
10'The War That Saved My Life' by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
This 2016 Newbery Honor book gets at some heavy themes: abusive parents, disabilities, and even war. But in Kimberly Brubaker Bradley's The War That Saved My Life, the young heroine Ada demonstrates the power of overcoming all manner of setbacks. At 9 years old, she has enough heart and determination to deal with anything.
11'The Wild Robot' by Peter Brown
It's a classic tale of braving the elements — with a twist. In Peter Brown's The Wild Robot, the robot Roz survives a shipwreck and must learn to survive on a remote island. Can she compute with wild animals and learn to live in nature?