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Courage: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about courage?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to courage. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about courage.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about courage, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Quest of the Missing Map to popular sellers like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to some of our favorite hidden gems like Journey.

We hope this list of kids books about courage can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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Top 10 Books About Courage

#1
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Off & Away
Written & illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

How would you get mail if you lived in the middle of the sea? It’s Jo’s dad’s job to deliver it, taking bottles wherever they need to go. He always comes home with exciting stories to tell-but Jo is far too afraid to go out on the ocean herself. Until Dad gets a bad sea cold, that is. With no one but Jo to deliver the bottles, she must find her courage and set sail alone. As she embarks on her mission, her fears just might be replaced with new friendships . . . and grand stories of her own. With beautiful, atmospheric art and endearing new characters by author-illustrator Cale Atkinson, this picturebook is a treasure.

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#2
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Tomorrow I'll Be Brave
Written & illustrated by Jessica Hische
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Tomorrow I’ll be all the things I tried to be today- Adventurous, Strong, Smart, Curious, Creative, Confident, & Brave. And if I wasn’t one of them, I know that it’s OK. Adventure through a world filled with positive and beautifully hand-lettered words of widsom, inspiration, and motivation. As this book reminds readers, tomorrow is another day, full of endless opportunities–all you have to do is decide to make the day yours.

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#3
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I Am So Brave!
Written by Stephen Krensky & illustrated by Sara Gillingham
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Celebrates a toddler’s growing comfort with such things as hearing loud noises and being left with a babysitter.

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#4
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The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The Whangdoodle was once the wisest, the kindest, and the most extraordinary creature in the world. Then he disappeared and created a wonderful land for himself and all the other remarkable animals – the ten-legged Sidewinders, the little furry Flukes, the friendly Whiffle Bird, and the treacherous, “oily” Prock. It was an almost perfect place where the last of the really great Whangdoodles could rule his kingdom with “peace, love and a sense of fun”– apart from and forgotten by people. But not completely forgotten. Professor Savant believed in the Whangdoodle. And when he told the three Potter children of his search for the spectacular creature, Lindy, Tom, and Ben were eager to reach Whangdoodleland. With the Professor’s help, they discovered the secret way. But waiting for them was the scheming Prock, who would use almost any means to keep them away from his beloved king. Only by skill and determination were the four travelers able to discover the last of the really great Whangdoodles and grant him his heart’s desire. Julie Andrews Edwards, star of stage and screen, has written a unique and beloved story that has become a modern classic. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles is sure to continue to delight readers everywhere. This edition includes a new foreword by the author.

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#5
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What Do You Do with a Chance
Written by Kobi Yamada & illustrated by Mae Besom
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The award-winning creators of New York Times bestsellers What Do You Do With an Idea and What do You Do With a Problem return with a story of a child who isn’t sure what to make of a chance encounter—then discovers that when you get brave, take chances, and say yes to new experiences, amazing things can happen.

In this story, a child is visited by his first chance―and not being sure what to do with it, he lets it go. Later on, when a new chance arrives he reaches for it, but this time he misses and falls. Embarrassed and afraid, he begins ignoring each new chance that comes by, even though the truth was that he still wanted to take one…

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#6
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Jabari Jumps
Written & illustrated by Gaia Cornwall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Working up the courage to take a big, important leap is hard, but Jabari is almost absolutely ready to make a giant splash.

Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.

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#7
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Big Papa and the Time Machine
Written by Daniel Bernstrom & illustrated by Shane W. Evans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Discover the true meaning of being brave in this tender and whimsical picture book from Daniel Bernstrom (One Day in the Eucalytus, Eucalyptus Tree) and Shane Evans (Chocolate Me!) that follows a grandfather and grandson who travel through time in a beloved 1952 Ford.

A little boy who lives with his grandpa isn’t reprimanded for being afraid to go to school one day. Instead, Big Papa takes him away in his time machine—a 1952 Ford—back to all of the times when he, himself, was scared of something life was handing him.

Full of heartfelt moments and thrilling magical realism, Big Papa and the Time Machine speaks to the African American experience in a touching dialogue between two family members from different generations, and emerges as a voice that shares history and asks questions about one family’s experience in 20th-century black America.

*“Wasn’t you scared?”

“Oh, I was scared,” Big Papa said. “Sometimes you gotta walk with giants if you ever gonna know what you made of. That’s called being brave.”*

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#8
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Max the Brave
Written & illustrated by Ed Vere
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Max the Brave is a brilliant new picture book from Ed Vere. This is Max. Max the Brave, Max the Fearless, Max the Mouse-catcher… But, in order to be a Mouse-catcher, Max needs to know what a mouse is, so off he goes to find out. This hilarious new picture book from the phenomenally-talented Ed Vere introduces a new and lovable character, with Ed’s trademark bold illustrations and clever story. Other Ed Vere titles to look out for: Banana; Bedtime for Monsters; Mr. Big; The Getaway Ed Vere studied fine art at Camberwell College of Art and has been writing and illustrating children’s books since 1999. He is published in both England and the US. Ed is also a painter, working from his studio in east London and is represented by galleries in London and Los Angeles. After a year and a half living in Barcelona, Ed now lives and works in London.

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#9
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A Little Chicken
Written by Tammi Sauer & illustrated by Dan Taylor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Dot is a small chick who’s scared of lots of things: wolves, bears, the occasional lawn ornament. But when an egg rolls out of her mother’s nest, Dot must pluck up her courage to save the day–and her new sibling! Perfect for kids who need some encouragement to face the challenging world, this story proves that sometimes a big hero is just a little chicken.

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#10
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My Brave Year of Firsts
Written by Jamie Lee Curtis & illustrated by Laura Cornell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

While Frankie learns to ride a bike, tie her shoes, make new friends, try new foods, and work with her dad, she also learns that trying new things is how she grows–and that being brave enough to do so is what growing up is all about.

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Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Courage and...

Books About Courage and Mice

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Max the Brave
Written & illustrated by Ed Vere
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Max the Brave is a brilliant new picture book from Ed Vere. This is Max. Max the Brave, Max the Fearless, Max the Mouse-catcher… But, in order to be a Mouse-catcher, Max needs to know what a mouse is, so off he goes to find out. This hilarious new picture book from the phenomenally-talented Ed Vere introduces a new and lovable character, with Ed’s trademark bold illustrations and clever story. Other Ed Vere titles to look out for: Banana; Bedtime for Monsters; Mr. Big; The Getaway Ed Vere studied fine art at Camberwell College of Art and has been writing and illustrating children’s books since 1999. He is published in both England and the US. Ed is also a painter, working from his studio in east London and is represented by galleries in London and Los Angeles. After a year and a half living in Barcelona, Ed now lives and works in London.

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A True Home
Written by Kallie George & illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

When Mona the Mouse stumbles across the wondrous world of the Heartwood Hotel in the middle of a storm, she desperately hopes they’ll let her stay. As it turns out, Mona is precisely the maid they need at the grandest hotel in Fernwood Forest, where animals come from far and wide for safety, luxury, and comfort. But the Heartwood Hotel is not all acorn soufflé and soft moss-lined beds. Danger lurks, and as it approaches, Mona finds that this hotel is more than a warm place to spend the night. It might also be a home.

This delightfully enticing start of a new chapter book series tells a tale of friendship, courage, and community, with exquisite black-and-white illustrations throughout. Praise for the Magical Animal Adoption Agency series “[This] gentle tale of magic and self-reliance will entertain confident new independent readers. Clover’s sweet story is a good next step for lovers of the Magic Tree House.” -Kirkus Reviews

“Readers will be envious of the world of magic that Clover becomes ensconced in and eager to read future installments.” -Publishers Weekly

“[A] charming story, delicately written, with a winning heroine. . . [and] a conclusion that will satisfy young readers.” -Booklist Online

“Graduates of sparkly chapter-book series will be right at home and looking for the next installment posthaste.” -Kirkus Reviews “[T]he gentle but intrepid Clover continues to charm.” -Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

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Maisy Goes to a Show
Written & illustrated by Lucy Cousins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Are you ready for the big show? Maisy and her friends show little ones what it’s like to attend their first live performance. Today, Maisy and her friends are off to the theater to see a show starring Flora Fantastica! First they line up to show their tickets. After the usher helps them all find their seats, the lights go down, and Maisy and her friends take in a feast for the senses: dramatic flashing lights, colorful costumes, amazing songs, and lots of exciting characters. From the rise of the curtain through intermission (and snacks) to a standing ovation at the end, Maisy takes her fans on a trip to the theater that makes a new experience familiar and fun.

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  1. Sheila Rae, the Brave - Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes, the nationally bestselling and celebrated creator of Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Owen, and Kitten’s First Full Moon, Shelia Rae, the Brave is a warm, humorous, and loving story of sibling sympathy and support. Just because Sheila Rae is older, she doesn’t always know better! “I am very brave,” Sheila Rae said, patting herself on the back. She wasn’t afraid of anything—not thunder, not lightning, not the big black dog at the end of the block. And when she wanted to walk home a new way and Louise wouldn’t, she called her sister a scaredy-cat and set out alone. But all the bravado in the world failed to help when Sheila Rae found herself lost. Luckily, her sister was not far behind. “Children will love it.”—School Library Journal Supports the Common Core State Standards

  2. Mousetronaut - A heartwarming picture book tale of the power of the small, from bestselling author and retired NASA astronaut Commander Mark Kelly. Astronaut Mark Kelly flew with “mice-tronauts” on his first spaceflight aboard space shuttle Endeavour in 2001. Mousetronaut tells the story of a small mouse that wants nothing more than to travel to outer space. The little mouse works as hard as the bigger mice to show readiness for the mission . . . and is chosen for the flight! While in space, the astronauts are busy with their mission when disaster strikes—and only the smallest member of the crew can save the day. With lively illustrations by award-winning artist C. F. Payne, Mousetronaut is a charming tale of perseverance, courage, and the importance of the small!

  3. A True Home - When Mona the Mouse stumbles across the wondrous world of the Heartwood Hotel in the middle of a storm, she desperately hopes they’ll let her stay. As it turns out, Mona is precisely the maid they need at the grandest hotel in Fernwood Forest, where animals come from far and wide for safety, luxury, and comfort. But the Heartwood Hotel is not all acorn souffl¿ and soft moss-lined beds. Danger lurks, and as it approaches, Mona finds that this hotel is more than a warm place to spend the night. It might also be a home. <p/>This delightfully enticing start of a new chapter book series tells a tale of friendship, courage, and community, with exquisite black-and-white illustrations throughout. <p/><strong>Praise for the Magical Animal Adoption Agency series</strong> <p/>”[This] gentle tale of magic and self-reliance will entertain confident new independent readers. Clover’s sweet story is a good next step for lovers of the Magic Tree House.” – <em>Kirkus Reviews</em> <p/>”Readers will be envious of the world of magic that Clover becomes ensconced in and eager to read future installments.” – <em>Publishers Weekly</em> <p/>”[A] charming story, delicately written, with a winning heroine. . . [and] a conclusion that will satisfy young readers.” – <em>Booklist Online</em> <p/>”Graduates of sparkly chapter-book series will be right at home and looking for the next installment posthaste.” – <em>Kirkus Reviews</em> <p/>”[T]he gentle but intrepid Clover continues to charm.” – <em>Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books</em>

  4. The Lion and the Mouse, Narrated by the Timid But Truthful Mouse - She’s always been the “invisible” twin, but when her sister reneges on a promise to the king of beasts, a timid mouse chews her way into the spotlight. This sweet, fractured twist on a classic Aesop’s fable, told from the mouse’s point of view, celebrates kindness and bravery of all sizes. Includes a condensed version of the original tale.

Want to see books about mice?

Books About Courage and Adventure And Adventurers

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Brave Enough for Two
Written & illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

In the spirit of “Goodnight Moon” and “The Night Gardener” comes a heartwarming picture book about a little girl, her stuffed-animal owl, and their loving friendship from debut author-illustrator Voss. Full color.

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Journey
Written & illustrated by Aaron Becker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Follow a girl on an elaborate flight of fancy in a wondrously illustrated, wordless picture book about self-determination — and unexpected friendship. A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart’s desire? With supple line, luminous color, and nimble flights of fancy, author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all.

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Bo the Brave
Written & illustrated by Bethan Woollvin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

A feisty little girl learns who the real monsters are in this brilliantly funny medieval adventure.

Once, there lived a little girl called Bo. Bo wanted to be just like her brothers and capture a fearsome monster. Bo is small, too small to catch a monster―or so her brothers say. But Bo isn’t one to take no for an answer, so she sets off on a quest to catch a monster of her own. Can she defeat the furious griffin, conquer the hideous kraken, and triumph over the monstrous dragon? Or has Bo got the wrong idea who the real monsters are?

Author-illustrator Bethan Woollvin, the creator of the New York Times Best Illustrated Little Red, employs her signature style in this original fairy tale with a clever twist. Readers are sure to fall in love with Woollvin’s newest vibrant and sassy protagonist.

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  1. Herbie's Big Adventure - Herbie is a little hedgehog who is perfectly happy at home with his mother. But one day Mommy tells Herbie that it’s time to go exploring―all by himself! Herbie is so not sure, but ready or not, a westerly wind sweeps Herbie into the wide world…and Herbie’s Big Adventure begins! Little Herbie finds that he’s braver than he thinks and even makes a friend before coming safely back home to Mommy.

  2. Paolo, Emperor of Rome - A daring dog takes a whirlwind tour of Rome in search of freedom in new picture book from beloved storyteller Mac Barnett and masterful illustrator Claire Keane Paolo the dachshund is trapped. Though he lives in Rome, a city filled with history and adventure, he is confined to a hair salon. Paolo dreams of the sweet life—la dolce vita—in the Eternal City. And then, one day, he escapes! Paolo throws himself into the city, finding adventure at every turn. Join our hero as he discovers the wonders of Rome: the ruins, the food, the art, the opera, and—of course—the cats. Readers will cheer the daring of this bighearted dog, whose story shows that even the smallest among us can achieve great things.

  3. Aberdeen - Aberdeen never meant to leave the yard in the first place. BUT a balloon floated by and…. He is suddenly off on an unexpected adventure! Before long, Aberdeen follows his whims and fancy to unknown territory, a little too far away from home – and from mama. Who doesn’t know the feeling of one thing leading to another leading to another – until you’re not quite sure how you ended up where you did? Aberdeen’s adorable antics will have readers excited to see where he lands next, and on the edges of their seats as he searches for a way back home.

  4. Little Bit Brave - Logan is a stay-at-home bunny -- but he's about to discover how brave he really is.

Books About Courage and Mythical Creatures

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The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The Whangdoodle was once the wisest, the kindest, and the most extraordinary creature in the world. Then he disappeared and created a wonderful land for himself and all the other remarkable animals – the ten-legged Sidewinders, the little furry Flukes, the friendly Whiffle Bird, and the treacherous, “oily” Prock. It was an almost perfect place where the last of the really great Whangdoodles could rule his kingdom with “peace, love and a sense of fun”– apart from and forgotten by people. But not completely forgotten. Professor Savant believed in the Whangdoodle. And when he told the three Potter children of his search for the spectacular creature, Lindy, Tom, and Ben were eager to reach Whangdoodleland. With the Professor’s help, they discovered the secret way. But waiting for them was the scheming Prock, who would use almost any means to keep them away from his beloved king. Only by skill and determination were the four travelers able to discover the last of the really great Whangdoodles and grant him his heart’s desire. Julie Andrews Edwards, star of stage and screen, has written a unique and beloved story that has become a modern classic. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles is sure to continue to delight readers everywhere. This edition includes a new foreword by the author.

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The Book Dragon
Written by Kell Andrews & illustrated by Éva Chatelain
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

The town of Lesser Scrump has a rule: no books allowed! And it’s all because of a fearsome dragon, who comes in the night to steal every book and add it to her huge pile. Only Rosehilda says, “I’m not afraid!” and vows to challenge the creature who terrorizes her village. Will she be able to convince the dragon that books are for reading, not hoarding?

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Power of a Princess
Written & illustrated by E.D. Baker
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-11

Aislin is more than just a princess—she’s strong, smart, and brave, with magical gifts from both sides of her heritage! Aislin believed the rift between the fairy and human kingdoms was repaired, but soon learns that not everyone is happy living side by side. Out in the mountains, her pedrasi relatives are also on edge, combating trolls who threaten their livelihood. As Aislin learns more about her magical gifts, she knows she may be the only one who can set things right. Will she be able to restore the balance and keep everyone safe?

E. D. Baker, whose books have sold more than 1 million copies, offers a classic, original fairy-tale that celebrates beauty and goodness in all its shapes and sizes which is sure to delight readers who love magic, suspense, girl power, and adventure.

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  1. Bo the Brave - Bo and the unicorns of Sparklegrove Forest find ways to be brave, in this magical series from the creator of the bestselling Owl Diaries series!

  2. The Unicorn Quest - Claire Martinson still worries about her older sister Sophie, who battled a mysterious illness last year. But things are back to normal as they move into Windermere Manor . . . until the sisters climb a strange ladder in a fireplace and enter the magical land of Arden. There, they find a world in turmoil. The four guilds of magic no longer trust each other, the beloved unicorns have disappeared, and terrible wraiths roam freely. Scared, the girls return home. But when Sophie vanishes in the night, it will take all of Claire’s courage to climb back up the ladder, find her sister, and uncover the unicorns’ greatest secret.

  3. The Night Dragon - “I wish I could fly, and breathe fire, and fill the sky with great grey, sooty clouds,” Maud said to her friend, Mouse. Maud is picked on by the other dragons, so stays cooped up in her cave, sad and lonely. But when the chance comes, will her friend Mouse help her pluck up the courage to fly? A beautiful picture book about individuality and friendship from Naomi Howarth, whose first book The Crow’s Tale was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize.

  4. Lana Swims North - Fans of Rainbow Magic and Mermaid Tales will love this new series full of adventures under the sea!

Books About Courage and Transportation

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Off & Away
Written & illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

How would you get mail if you lived in the middle of the sea? It’s Jo’s dad’s job to deliver it, taking bottles wherever they need to go. He always comes home with exciting stories to tell-but Jo is far too afraid to go out on the ocean herself. Until Dad gets a bad sea cold, that is. With no one but Jo to deliver the bottles, she must find her courage and set sail alone. As she embarks on her mission, her fears just might be replaced with new friendships . . . and grand stories of her own. With beautiful, atmospheric art and endearing new characters by author-illustrator Cale Atkinson, this picturebook is a treasure.

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Little Smokey
Written by Robert Neubecker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

For a brave firefighting airplane, the sky’s the limit! This timeless story of teamwork and determination is perfect for kids who loved The Little Engine That Could and shows how even unlikely heroes can help their community in times of need.

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Snail Mail
Written by Samantha Berger & illustrated by Julia Patton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

A long, long time ago, before email and texting, the mail was delivered in a much slower way-it was called Snail Mail (because some thought it was delivered by a snail). Although it took much longer, everyone agreed that letters were a little more special when they were delivered by Snail Mail. They might be handwritten. They might include a drawing. They might even contain a surprise inside! One such letter was sent by a Girl to the Boy she loved, and it was up to four special snails to deliver her card across the country. The snails trek across the country-through desert heat and dangerous blizzards, across mountains and plains, through cities and forests-and along the way, they find that taking time to slow down and look around makes the journey all the more beautiful.

Snail Mail’s playful and educational story encourages kids to have slow living, and to approach life with determination and wonder. Julia Patton’s rich illustrations showcase America’s diverse terrain and national monuments from coast to coast. Kids and parents alike will delight in this celebration of America’s beauty and the power of a simple handwritten letter.

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  1. I'm Brave! - For fans of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site and Steam Train, Dream Train comes the perfect noisy addition to this hilarious read-aloud series from the popular creators of I Stink!, and I’m Dirty!—now a streaming animated series! I’m Brave! is the most irresistible addition yet to Kate and Jim McMullan’s hilarious read-aloud series: a fire truck. He’s a big red engine With a siren, A horn, A tank full of water, And a whole lotta hose! He’s a good-lookin’ fire truck, And he’s brave, too. When the alarm sounds Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeoooooooooo He’s gotta drive through Smoke and heat Straight to a blazing fire! Honk! Honk!

  2. Big Day Out - Young children’s lives are full of new experiences and we all want to make these enjoyable and rewarding. Talking to children helps them to understand and prepare for these events, and this series of books aim to promote discussion.

  3. The Wright Brothers: Nose-Diving into History - A hilarious nonfiction look at two of history’s most epic “failures”: the Wright brothers, whose countless crashes and biggest failures led to ultimate success. Although the Wright Brothers are now celebrated as heroes for their groundbreaking contributions to science and engineering as the first men to successfully manage powered, piloted flight, their eventual success was built on the back of a lot of nosedives. It took the self-taught engineers years of work and countless crashes before they managed to remain airborne for a mere twelve seconds! In this hilarious first installment of the Epic Fails series, Ben Thompson and Erik Slader take readers through the the Wright Brothers’ many failed attempts at flight before achieving their groundbreaking success, laying the foundation for aviation as we know it today.

  4. Lighter Than Air: Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot: Candlewick Biographies - “Smith tells Sophie’s inspiring story with a buoyant sense of wonder, fitting for a woman who was happiest in the air. Her accomplishments and passion for flight are brought beautifully to life by Tavares.” – Booklist (starred review) Take to the skies with the story of Sophie Blanchard, an extraordinary woman who is largely forgotten despite her claim to being the very first female pilot in history. In eighteenth-century France, “balloonomania” has fiercely gripped the nation . . . but all of the pioneering aeronauts are men until a shy girl comes along, devoted to her dream of flight. Sophie is not the first woman to ascend in a balloon, nor the first woman to accompany an aeronaut on a trip, but she will become the first woman to climb to the clouds and steer her own course.

Books About Courage and Shyness

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Too Shy for Show-and-Tell
Written by Beth Bracken & illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Sam is so shy that nobody knows much about him, but when he must stand in front of his class for show-and-tell, he finds the courage to share.

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The Boys
Written & illustrated by Jeff Newman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A shy boy, seeking the courage to play baseball with the other children in a park, is coaxed out of his shell by some “old timers” sitting nearby who, in turn, discover they are still in the game.

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Music for Mister Moon
Written by Philip C. Stead & illustrated by Erin E. Stead
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

After shy cello player Harriet Henry accidentally knocks the moon out of the sky, the moon becomes her friend, and Harriet gains the courage to share her music.

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  1. Adelaide's Secret World - With a poetic story and lush paintings, Elise Hurst conveys how a bit of bravery, empathy, and imagination can transform our lives. Adelaide lives in a city filled with people and wonders, but she is lonely. She is a watcher, and she sees others like her: the quiet ones, those who dance and dream alone. In a chance encounter, Adelaide meets someone who just might be a kindred spirit—and is so startled and shy she runs away! But then she gathers her courage and uses all her ingenuity to make sure that they—and all the other lonely ones—meet and connect and share their dreams.

  2. Shy - A dazzlingly beautiful book about shyness from the author of Blue Chicken, The Story of Fish and Snail, and By Mouse and Frog! Shy loves birds. He’d love to watch them fly and hear them sing, but he’s only ever read about them in books. . .until a real bird comes along. He’s dying to meet her, but there’s just one problem: Shy is, well, shy–so shy, in fact, that he’s afraid to leave the gutter of the book. Can Shy overcome his fears and venture out onto the page? This sweetly relatable picture book from the acclaimed Deborah Freedman speaks to every child who’s ever felt like hiding instead of facing the daunting world.

  3. The Magic Boat - Every summer morning, Ellie and her Nonna go to the beach. They swim and build sandcastles, and while Nonna reads, Ellie watches the other children play. One day Ellie builds up the courage to approach an older girl playing on her own in a beached rowboat. Piper has a gift, an imagination so great that she whisks Ellie off on grand adventures, going high in the air, deep below the ocean and everywhere in between in their little blue boat, their magic boat. When Piper has to leave, Ellie discovers she has her own vivid imagination.

  4. The Wonderling - Richly imagined, with shimmering language, steampunk motifs, and gripping, magical plot twists, this extraordinary debut novel follows a shy, fox-like foundling with only one ear and a desperate desire to belong, as he seeks his destiny.

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Books About Courage and Being Yourself

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Mary Wears What She Wants
Written & illustrated by Keith Negley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Once upon a time (but not too long ago), girls only wore dresses. And only boys wore pants. Until one day, a young girl named Mary had a bold idea: She would wear whatever she wanted. And she wanted to wear pants! Inspired by the true story of Mary Edwards Walker, a trailblazing doctor who was arrested many times for wearing pants, this fresh, charming picture book encourages readers to think for themselves while gently challenging gender and societal norms.

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Chicks Rule
Written by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen & illustrated by Renee Kurilla
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Nerdy Chick has been waiting all day for the Rocket Club meeting. But when she gets there, she finds a disturbing sign tacked to the door: “NO CHICKS ALLOWED!!!” Puzzled, then baffled, then just plain mad, Nerdy Chick sets out to change the rules. Along the way, she meets other chicks who are just like her: passionate and determined. From Soccer Chick to Science Chick and Wordy Chick to Yoga Chick, these chicks aren’t willing to take “NO” for an answer. They rally together, march to the barn at the center of town, and—when they hear “NO” once again—chart their own path forward (or, rather, up, up, and away!). A celebration of girl power and community action, Chicks Rule! is the playful, diverse, victorious anthem chicks everywhere will love.

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Bearnard's Book
Written by Deborah Underwood & illustrated by Misa Saburi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Bearnard’s Book by writer Deborah Underwood and illustrator Misa Saburi is a charming picture book about a bear who discovers that to shine in his own story, he just needs to be himself.

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  1. Courage - There are many kinds of courage. Big acts of courage and the everyday kinds that normal, ordinary people exhibit all the time, like “being the first to make up after an argument,” or “going to bed without a nightlight.” Bernard Waber explores the many varied kinds of courage and celebrates the moments, big and small, that bring out the hero in each of us. Now a lap board book. There are many kinds of courage. Big acts of courage and the everyday kinds that normal, ordinary people exhibit all the time, like “being the first to make up after an argument” or “going to bed without a night-light.” Bernard Waber explores the many varied kinds of courage and celebrates the moments, big and small, that bring out the hero in each of us. Now a lap board book.

  2. Medio Pollito - The story of Medio Pollito, a chicken born with only half of his body, is one of inspiration and purpose. He travels to find adventure, and with the help of the wind, finds his true calling as a weather vane.

Books About Courage and School

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The Art of Miss Chew
Written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

After spending the summer with her artist grandmother, Trisha knows she wants to be an artist, too. She’s thrilled when her sketches get her into Miss Chew’s special art class at the high school. A substitute teacher tells her she’s wasting time on art when she should be studying – but fortunately, this is one battle that Miss Chew and Trisha are up for!

This true story shows just how important a teacher can be in a child’s life – and celebrates the power of art itself.

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The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School
Written by Laura Murray & illustrated by Mike Lowery
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

When a class leaves for recess, their just-baked Gingerbread Man is left behind. But he’s a smart cookie and heads out to find them. He’ll run, slide, skip, and (after a mishap with a soccer ball) limp as fast as he can because: “I can catch them! I’m their Gingerbread Man!”

With help from the gym teacher, the nurse, the art teacher and even the principal, the Gingerbread Man does find his class, and he’s assured they’ll never leave him behind again.

Teachers often use the Gingerbread Man story to introduce new students to the geography and staff of schools, and this fresh, funny twist on the original can be used all year long. Includes a poster with fun activities!

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Brave Like That
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Find yourself. Find your place. Find your brave.

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  1. Hunter's Best Friend at School - A charming picture book about two raccoons and the joys and perils of first friendship.

  2. Back to School Tortoise - It’s time to go back to school. But Tortoise is worried. What if he falls down? What if he doesn’t like lunch? What if the kids are mean to him? What if he falls down, doesn’t like lunch, and the kids are mean to him? The perfect back-to-school book about being brave, with a surprise at the end!

  3. Take a Kiss to School - There is so much to learn on Digby's first day at school. Will he remember where to hang his jacket and to listen for his name? Digby's mother has some special help for her boy who doesn't feel quite brave enough for school. This reassuring story with winsome illustrations is just right for kids starting school--and those who need a little encouragement once they've begun!

  4. Ming Goes to School - "This beautiful tale with gentle illustrations is an ode to the milestone of attending school for the first time and all it entails."--School Library Journal. "A cozy portrait of the everyday discoveries and accomplishments that school can bring."--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

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Books About Courage and Bullying

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My Friend Maggie
Written & illustrated by Hannah Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“Paula and Maggie are best friends until Paula starts playing with some new friends instead, but when her new playmates turn on her, it’s Maggie who rushes to Paula’s defense”

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One
Written & illustrated by Kathryn Otoshi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Introduces young readers to numbers, counting, and primary and secondary colors by offering the story of ill-tempered Red who got too powerful for his own good and had to be brought down to size by One–a single entity with the courage to stand up for what was right.

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Skateboard Sibby
Written & illustrated by Clare O’Connor
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Super skateboarder Sibby Henry won’t let the loss of her board defeat her. Eleven-year-old Sibby Henry liked her old life. Now she’s living in a new town with her nan and pops, and mad at her dad for messing everything up. On her first day of school, she sees a dope skateboard park, but she’s lost her precious board. To make things worse, Freddie, a super skater and a super jerk, dominates the park. Sibby tries to stay chill, but when Freddie gets in the face of her only new friend, Charlie Parker Drysdale, things get too hot for chill. Never one to back down, Sibby accepts when Freddie challenges her to a competition on the half pipe. She won’t let anything stop her from proving herself.

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  1. Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane - This sparkling middle-grade debut is a classic-in-the-making!

  2. Lizzy the Lioness - Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is ask for help! Encourage your little ones with the true meaning of bravery through the beautiful story of Lizzy the Lioness by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Bevere.

  3. Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage to Be Who You Are - How can Ralph be so mean? Lucy is one of a kind and Ralph loves to point that out. Lucy’s defining moment comes when Ralph truly needs help. Because she knows what she stands for, Lucy has the courage to make a good choice. This charming story empowers children to always do the right thing and be proud of themselves, even when they are faced with someone as challenging as Ralph.

  4. Freddie Ramos Makes a Splash - Freddie Ramos uses his super powers to give himself the courage to learn how to swim and to deal with a new neighbor who is a bully.

Books About Courage and Kindness

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The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade
Written by Justin Roberts & illustrated by Christian Robinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Sally McCabe is a very little girl, and nobody notices her, although she notices everything that goes on around her–but when she speaks out about the unkindness she sees, people start to pay attention.

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It Rained Warm Bread
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-14

Moishe was thirteen when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939 and he was sent to Auschwitz. His home was ravaged, his family torn apart by illness and abduction. Years of brutality drew on as Moishe moved from one labor camp to the next. Finally, towards the end of the war and at the peak of Moishe’s deepest despair, a simple act of kindness by a group of courageous Czech women redeemed his faith that goodness could survive the trials of war: That was the day it rained warm bread. Deftly articulated and beautifully illustrated, this is a strong addition to the ever-important genre of Holocaust testimonies.

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The Pout-Pout Fish and the Bully-Bully Shark
Written by Deborah Diesen & illustrated by Dan Hanna
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Mr. Fish finds the courage to speak up for his friends when a shark comes to the park and bullies them.

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  1. Come with Me - When the news reports are flooded with tales of hatred and fear, a girl asks her papa what she can do to make the world a better place. “Come with me,” he says. Hand-in-hand, they walk to the subway, tipping their hats to those they meet. The next day, the girl asks her mama what she can do—her mama says, “Come with me,” and together they set out for the grocery, because one person doesn’t represent an entire race or the people of a land. After dinner that night, the little girl asks if she can do something of her own—walk the dog . . . and her parents let her go. “Come with me,” the girl tells the boy across the hall. Walking together, one step at a time, the girl and the boy begin to see that as small and insignificant as their part may seem, it matters to the world. In this lyrical and timely story, author Holly M. McGhee and illustrator Pascal Lemaître champion the power of kindness, bravery, and friendship in the face of uncertainty.

  2. Mustaches for Maddie - A funny, inspiring story about when life's raindrops fall. Based on a true story.

  3. Cinderella Junior Novel - Ella’s childhood is a happy one: she has loving parents, plenty of fields and meadows to explore, and lots of kind animal friends to play with. A sweet child, Ella warms the hearts of all who meet her. And her home is a wonderful place, the perfect little kingdom for a joyful family.<br>But when tragedy strikes, Ella’s happy home turns into one filled with sadness and cruelty. Will Ella be able to hold onto her kindness and courage through it all?

  4. It's Okay to Be a Unicorn! - An inspiring picture book, Jason Tharp’s It’s Okay To Be A Unicorn features a unicorn pretending to be a horse―until he learns to embrace his true self. Cornelius J. Sparklesteed is known among all the other horses in Hoofington for his beautiful and creative handmade hats. But Cornelius is hiding a secret under his own tall, pointy hat: He’s really a unicorn. Hoofington is a friendly place, but its horses pass on lots of mean rumors about unicorns. When Cornelius is chosen to perform for this year’s Hoofapalooza, will he find the courage to show everyone his unicorniness? It’s Okay To Be A Unicorn is an inspiring story about the rainbow magic of kindness.

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Books About Courage and Multigenerational

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Big Papa and the Time Machine
Written by Daniel Bernstrom & illustrated by Shane W. Evans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Discover the true meaning of being brave in this tender and whimsical picture book from Daniel Bernstrom (One Day in the Eucalytus, Eucalyptus Tree) and Shane Evans (Chocolate Me!) that follows a grandfather and grandson who travel through time in a beloved 1952 Ford.

A little boy who lives with his grandpa isn’t reprimanded for being afraid to go to school one day. Instead, Big Papa takes him away in his time machine—a 1952 Ford—back to all of the times when he, himself, was scared of something life was handing him.

Full of heartfelt moments and thrilling magical realism, Big Papa and the Time Machine speaks to the African American experience in a touching dialogue between two family members from different generations, and emerges as a voice that shares history and asks questions about one family’s experience in 20th-century black America.

*“Wasn’t you scared?”

“Oh, I was scared,” Big Papa said. “Sometimes you gotta walk with giants if you ever gonna know what you made of. That’s called being brave.”*

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Nana in the City
Written & illustrated by Lauren Castillo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A young boy is frightened by how busy and noisy the city is when he goes there to visit his Nana, but she makes him a fancy red cape that keeps him from being scared as she shows him how wonderful a place it is.

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How to Be a Pirate
Written by Isaac Fitzgerald & illustrated by Brigette Barrager
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

A sparkling and inspirational picture book about a girl who wants to be a pirate, her tattooed grandpa, and their indelible bond.

When the neighborhood boys tell CeCe that she can’t be a pirate, she goes straight to her Grandpa, who must know something about being a pirate. Why else would he have all those tattoos?

As Grandpa shares each tattoo with CeCe, they are transported to imaginative lands where they learn all the qualities a pirate should possess: A pirate must be BRAVE and QUICK, but also FUN and INDEPENDENT. And the most important thing is to believe in yourself, whether you’re a pirate or not.

This fanciful, heartwarming story from Isaac Fitzgerald, founding editor of BuzzFeed Books and host of BuzzFeed News Twitter morning show #AMtoDM, is brought to life by New York Times bestselling illustrator Brigette Barrager in a vibrant, joyful expression of what it means to be… all kinds of wonderful things, including a pirate.

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  1. War Stories - From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Restart, a story of telling truth from lies -- and finding out what being a hero really means.

  2. As Brave As You - Kirkus Award Finalist Schneider Family Book Award Winner Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book When two brothers decide to prove how brave they are, everything backfires—literally—in this piercing middle grade novel by the winner of the Coretta Scott King – John Steptoe Award. Genie’s summer is full of surprises. The first is that he and his big brother, Ernie, are leaving Brooklyn for the very first time to spend the summer with their grandparents all the way in Virginia—in the COUNTRY! The second surprise comes when Genie figures out that their grandfather is blind. Thunderstruck and—being a curious kid—Genie peppers Grandpop with questions about how he covers it so well (besides wearing way cool Ray-Bans). How does he match his clothes? Know where to walk? Cook with a gas stove? Pour a glass of sweet tea without spilling it? Genie thinks Grandpop must be the bravest guy he’s ever known, but he starts to notice that his grandfather never leaves the house—as in NEVER. And when he finds the secret room that Grandpop is always disappearing into—a room so full of songbirds and plants that it’s almost as if it’s been pulled inside-out—he begins to wonder if his grandfather is really so brave after all. Then Ernie lets him down in the bravery department. It’s his fourteenth birthday, and, Grandpop says to become a man, you have to learn how to shoot a gun. Genie thinks that is AWESOME until he realizes Ernie has no interest in learning how to shoot. None. Nada. Dumbfounded by Ernie’s reluctance, Genie is left to wonder—is bravery and becoming a man only about proving something, or is it just as important to own up to what you won’t do?

  3. I Am Famous - Kiely knows she is famous! The paparazzi (her parents) follow her every move, documenting with cameras. It’s exhausting being famous, but someone has to do it! She even gets to perform a big song at her grandfather’s birthday. When she messes it up, she’s worried she’s lost her audience forever, but it turns out that no one is as loyal as her fans who love her.

  4. The Sky at Our Feet - This #ownvoices novel by bestselling author Nadia Hashimi tells the affecting story of an Afghan-American boy who believes his mother has been deported. For fans of Inside Out and Back Again and Counting by 7s. This middle grade novel is an excellent choice for tween readers in grades 5 to 6, especially during homeschooling. It's a fun way to keep your child entertained and engaged while not in the classroom.

Books About Courage and Values And Virtues

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Tomorrow I'll Be Brave
Written & illustrated by Jessica Hische
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Tomorrow I’ll be all the things I tried to be today- Adventurous, Strong, Smart, Curious, Creative, Confident, & Brave. And if I wasn’t one of them, I know that it’s OK. Adventure through a world filled with positive and beautifully hand-lettered words of widsom, inspiration, and motivation. As this book reminds readers, tomorrow is another day, full of endless opportunities–all you have to do is decide to make the day yours.

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Testing the Ice: A True Story about Jackie Robinson
Written by Sharon Robinson & illustrated by Kadir Nelson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Sharon Robinson, the daughter of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, has crafted a hearwarming, true story about growing up with her father. <p/>When Jackie Robinson retires from baseball and moves his family to Connecticut, the beautiful lake on their property is the center of everyone’s fun. The neighborhood children join the Robinson kids for swimming and boating. But oddly, Jackie never goes near the water. <br> In a dramatic episode that first winter, the children beg to go ice skating on the lake. Jackie says they can go–but only after he tests the ice to make sure it’s safe. The children prod and push to get Jackie outside, until hesitantly, he finally goes. Like a blind man with a stick, (contd.)

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Brave
Written by Stacy McAnulty & illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Superheroes seek adventure, never give up, and stay calm when others are afraid. Superheroes are brave. But they aren’t the only ones. Kids are brave every day. When they are told they are too little, but accomplish something big. When they check for monsters under the bed, just in case. When they face something uncertain, whether a thunderstorm or a hospital visit. When they stand up for what’s right, even when it means facing consequences. Like superheroes, brave kids can save the world, just by being brave. Thoughtful text from Stacy McAnulty paired with vibrant illustrations from Joanne Lew-Vriethoff encourage kids to be brave in all the ways they can: trying new things, speaking their mind, confronting bullies, and more. This book will inspire kids to follow their hearts and to have courage, no matter the situation.

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  1. The Clothesline - This is a story about a little boy who lives above a convenience store with his mom. When he goes to spend his pocket money on candy–only when Mom’s not looking–he gives the knot on the clothesline by the outdoor stairs a good yank (it makes the best sound). One day, he tugs a little too hard, and takes the stairs a little too fast, and–whiiiiiz!–gets stuck hanging smack in the middle of the clothesline. He cries for help, but Mom doesn’t hear. He waits for someone to save him, but only a black cat slinks by. His arm gets tired–but if he hangs on with both hands, he’ll risk dropping his coins! It’s a true dilemma. Finally, he cries out so loudly that he tumbles to the ground. He still spends his pocket money on candy. But he NEVER touches the clothesline again. Told in sequential illustrations with simple text and vibrant sound effects, this is a suspenseful narrative offering an accessible entry point to early graphic novels and a lighthearted, laugh-out-loud reminder of the consequences of our choices.

  2. Be Kind, Be Brave, Be You! - Celebrate everyday acts of kindness and bravery with the Peanuts gang in this uplifting board book that’s perfect for gift-giving! <p/><i>Give a gift from the heart and then you will see…<br> …being kind may take time but the cost is free.</i> <p/><i>It’s tough to be brave when you’re high in the sky.<br> It’s true: you may flop, but you also might fly!</i> <p/><i>Go sing in the rain if it makes you smile.<br> There’s only one you. You have your own style!</i> <p/>In this ode to kindness, bravery, and being yourself, Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and the whole Peanuts gang encourage young and old fans to look inside and discover that caring and courage are contagious! <p/>This special board book is the perfect gift for Peanuts fans of all ages and anyone who’s looking to spread a little more kindness in the world. <p/>(c) 2018 Peanuts Worldwide LLC

  3. Small Mercies - "Set in post-apartheid Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, this realistic story traces protagonist Mercy's quest to speak up for truth and, consequently, for herself. [...] Sensitive, funny, and tender." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Books About Courage and Sports And Recreation

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Brad Marchand
Written & illustrated by Philip Croucher
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

He was too small to make it to the National Hockey League, they decided. Brad Marchand has proven them wrong, helping to lead the Boston Bruins to their first Stanley Cup in thirty-nine years and scoring the winning goal for Canada in the deciding game of the 2016 World Cup final. The 5-foot-9-inch, 181-pound forward continues to surprise the skeptics. Marchand, who grew up in Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia, was named to the nhl All-Star team for the second straight year in 2018. This full-color book features personal interviews with the “Little Ball of Hate,” as well as interviews with family and coaches, and over forty photos of the star.

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Soccer Star
Written by Mina Javaherbin & illustrated by Renato Alarcao
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

An inspiring story of a Brazilian boy who dreams of being a soccer star – and the sister who steps in to help his team win a game. When Paulo Marcelo Feliciano becomes a soccer star, crowds will cheer his famous name! Then his mother won’t have to work long hours, and he won’t have to work all day on a fishing boat. For now, Paulo takes care of his little sister Maria (she teaches him reading, he teaches her soccer moves) and walks her to school, stopping to give his teammates cheese buns as they set out to shine people’s shoes or perform for the tourist crowd. At day’s end, it’s time to plan the game, where Givo will bounce, Carlos will kick, and Jose will fly! But when Jose falls on his wrist, will the team finally break the rules and let a girl show her stuff? Set in a country whose resilient soccer stars are often shaped by poverty, this uplifting tale of transcending the expected scores a big win for all.

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Charlie Takes His Shot
Written by Nancy Churnin & illustrated by John Joven
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Charlie Sifford loved golf, but in the 1930’s only white people were allowed to play in the Professional Golf Association. Sifford had won plenty of black tournaments, but he was determined to break the color barrier in the PGA. In 1960 he did, only to face discrimination from hotels that wouldn’t rent him rooms and clubs that wouldn’t let him use the same locker as the white players. But Sifford kept playing, becoming the first black golfer to win a PGA tournament and eventually ranking among the greats in golf.

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  1. The Karate Kid - When The Karate Kid appeared in theaters in 1984, its heartwarming story of an unlikely friendship between a bullied boy and his karate teacher won over audiences and inspired children across America to take up martial arts. Now this beloved film is reimagined as a Pop Classics picture book, with Kim Smith’s bright and kid-friendly illustrations capturing all of the story’s iconic moments. Young Daniel moves to a new town and becomes the target of bullies from the local karate dojo Cobra Kai. Hoping to win the upcoming karate tournament, Daniel begs his neighbor Mr. Miyagi to help him train. Mr. Miyagi reluctantly agrees. But he becomes more than just Daniel’s sensei by teaching him lessons about patience, balance, and hard work along the way. This timeless story about finding inner strength will enchant children, their parents, and anyone who has ever had that one special teacher.

  2. Jabari Jumps - Working up the courage to take a big, important leap is hard, but Jabari is almost absolutely ready to make a giant splash. Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.

  3. Lottie & Walter - An original, compelling, and visually stunning treatment of a common childhood predicament: overcoming a fear of the water. Lottie goes to swim lessons every Saturday, but she never gets in the water. That’s because she is convinced there is a shark in the pool, a shark that wants to eat her and only her. But then Walter appears. Walter likes singing and reading books and bubble baths, and his favorite food is fish sticks, just like Lottie. When Saturday rolls around again, Lottie is no more ready to jump in the pool than she was before. Or is she? Sometimes it just takes a special friend to find the courage that was inside you all along.

  4. A Picture Book of Jesse Owens - A comprehensive look at the life of the man who has often been called the World’s Fastest Human. Jesse Owens was born on a farm to a large family with many siblings. His grandparents had been slaves, and his sharecropper parents were poor. But against all odds, Jesse went on to become one of the greatest athletes in history. He learned to run with such grace that people said he was a “floating wonder.” After setting multiple world records as a college athlete, Jesse competed in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Adolf Hitler intended for the games to display Aryan superiority, but Jesse disrupted that plan. He became the first American track-and-field athlete to receive four gold medals, and established his legacy as a hero in the face of prejudice. This child friendly entry in David A. Adler’s well-known series contains an accessible mix of biography, facts, and history supported with lifelike illustrations. Back matter includes an author’s note and a timeline.

Books About Courage and Family Life

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Black Dog
Written & illustrated by Levi Pinfold
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In a modern fairy tale about the power of fear and how it distorts our view of the world, the Black Dog that appears outside the Hope family’s home seems to grow larger and larger as each frightened member of the Hope family sees it, but the youngest member of the household is not afraid and is able to break the spell.

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The Bold, Brave Bunny
Written by Beth Ferry & illustrated by Chow Hon Lam
picture book
Recommend Ages: 44-8

A Junior Library Guild Selection

“An enjoyable tale of the marvels of adventuring and the comfort of home.” ―Kirkus Reviews

Hop along with Teetu, the bold, brave bunny, as he finds his way in this imaginative tale from New York Times bestselling author Beth Ferry (Stick and Stone) that reminds us that it’s splendid to see the world, but that it’s even more wonderful to go home, and share it with the ones you love.

B is for brave.

B is for bold.

B is not only for…bunnies.

After his brothers and sisters ruin his favorite alphabet book, Teetu the bunny has had enough of his big bunny family! When he sneaks off into the night, what he discovers is more marvelous than he ever dreamed.

He sees animals and trees and beauty and moonlight, and puts his adventures into a new book he creates all by himself. But soon Teetu tires of being alone, and just as it gets to be too much…a big fluffy surprise comes to save the day!

This heartwarming picture book from Beth Ferry and debut illustrator Chow Hon Lam makes for a perfect Easter and year-round gift. Plus, hidden animal surprises in the art will delight readers as they discover them in every repeat reading.

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The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee
Written by Deborah Abela
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

India Wimple can spell. Brilliantly. Every Friday night, she and her family watch the Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee on TV. When the Wimples suggest she enter the next bee, India finds the idea disconcerting. She’s sure she’s not good enough—but her family won’t accept that and encourages her to sign up. There are plenty of obstacles to reaching the finals, and the whole thing seems rather calamitous to India. But with hope, hard work, and a little bit of heart, something splendiferous might be on the horizon…

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  1. The Most Marvelous International Spelling Bee - “India Wimple can spell with the best of them. How else would she have won the Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee and garnered an invitation to the Most Marvelous International Spelling Bee? India couldn’t be more thrilled to travel to London along with the rest of the Wimples. And at first, it seems like a dream come true; she reunites with her spelling bee friends, and they even get to meet the Queen! But there is skulduggery afoot, with some rather mysterious goings-on going on and a series of accidents that seem to be not-so-accidental after all. India has her suspicions about who is behind the duplicitous demonstrations. But can she solve the mystery in time to save the competition?”

  2. Power Forward - From the critically acclaimed author of Amina’s Voice comes the first book in an exciting new chapter book series about a fourth-grader with big dreams of basketball stardom. Fourth grader Zayd Saleem has some serious hoop dreams. He’s not just going to be a professional basketball player. He’s going to be a star. A legend. The first Pakistani-American kid to make it to the NBA. He knows this deep in his soul. It’s his destiny. There are only a few small things in his way. For starters, Zayd’s only on the D-team. (D stands for developmental, but to Zayd it’s always felt like a bad grade or something.) Not to mention, he’s a bit on the scrawny side, even for the fourth grade team. But his best friend Adam is on the Gold Team, and it’s Zayd’s dream for the two of them to play together. His mom and dad don’t get it. They want him to practice his violin way more than his jump shot. When he gets caught blowing off his violin lessons to practice, Zayd’s parents lay down the ultimate punishment: he has to hang up his high tops and isn’t allowed to play basketball anymore. As tryouts for the Gold Team approach, Zayd has to find the courage to stand up for himself and chase his dream.

Books About Courage and Imagination

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Circus Girl
Written & illustrated by Clare Pernice
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

When a little girl plays dress up in her leotard and socks she becomes Circus Girl star of the show. Even her toys morph into her dreamscape of circus acts. At each page turn she jumps and tumbles, flies through the air, juggles, spins, balances and contorts. Vibrant and winsome, modern and timeless the illustrations and words convey a captured childhood moment with directness and simplicity.

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On a Windy Night
Written by Nancy Raines Day & illustrated by George Bates
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

On a windy Halloween night, as a little boy makes his way home after trick-or-treating, he hears a voice: “Cracklety-clack, bones in a sack. They could be yours—if you look back.” As his heart flip-flops with fear, the boy dashes through woods and fields that seem full of haunting shapes—owls, ghosts, skeletons, and more. The detailed illustrations are packed with visual tricks for children to discover. Are those skeletons or cornstalks? Ghostly hands or tree branches? The playful tone of the text makes this a perfect, not-too-scary read-aloud, with an enjoyable surprise ending.

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Elizabeth and Zenobia
Written by Jessica Miller & illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

Abandoned by her mother and neglected by her scientist father, timid Elizabeth Murmur has only her fearless friend Zenobia for company. And Zenobia’s company can be very trying! When Elizabeth’s father takes them to live in his family home, Witheringe House, Zenobia becomes obsessed with finding a ghost in the creepy old mansion and forces Elizabeth to hold séances and wander the rooms at night. With Zenobia’s constant pushing, Elizabeth investigates the history of the house and learns that it does hold a terrible secret: Her father’s younger sister disappeared from the grounds without a trace years ago. Elizabeth and Zenobia is a wonderfully compelling middle-grade story about friendship, courage, and the power of the imagination.

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  1. A Little Courage - Through the eyes of a child, the world is full of adventure! A teacup-sized little girl discovers a playground in a potted plant, and the perfect swimming pool in a glass of water. Then when she sees a mysterious shadow lurking beyond her books and paper clips, she must summon her courage. But wait! Could this fluffy, purring creature be a friend? Taltal Levi’s evocative text and illustrations tell an inventive story about courage, imagination, and friendship.

  2. Who Says Women Can't Be Computer Programmers? - A picture book biography of Ada Lovelace, the woman recognized today as history’s first computer programmer—she imagined them 100 years before they existed! In the early nineteenth century lived Ada Byron: a young girl with a wild and wonderful imagination. The daughter of internationally acclaimed poet Lord Byron, Ada was tutored in science and mathematics from a very early age. But Ada’s imagination was never meant to be tamed and, armed with the fundamentals of math and engineering, she came into her own as a woman of ideas—equal parts mathematician and philosopher. From her whimsical beginnings as a gifted child to her most sophisticated notes on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, this book celebrates the woman recognized today as the first computer programmer. A Christy Ottaviano Book

  3. Ella and Penguin Stick Together - Sometimes all you need is a good friend to help you be brave. Ella has a surprise for Penguin—glow-in-the-dark stickers! But to see the stickers glow, Ella and Penguin must be in the dark. And the dark is so . . . dark! If only they could see the stickers glow in the light—but that won’t work. Soon Ella and Penguin find out that if they stick together, they can face anything. Megan Maynor’s sweet and lively text, paired with Rosalinde Bonnet’s irresistible illustrations, will have readers clamoring for more Ella and Penguin.

Books About Courage and Feeling Scared

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The Thing Lou Couldn't Do
Written & illustrated by Ashley Spires
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

An endearing story about a little girl who doesnÍt think she can. ñUp there! The tree can be our ship!î one of LouÍs friends exclaims when they decide to play pirates. ñUmmm ƒî responds Lou. Usually she loves adventures. But this is new. Lou has never climbed a tree before. And she knows she canÍt do it. She doesnÍt even want to try. But this adventure does look fun, and when all her excuses run out, Lou realizes the bravest adventurers are those who TRY. An inspiring lesson for anyone whoÍs ever avoided something hard.

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Scaredy Squirrel
Written & illustrated by Mélanie Watt
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Scaredy Squirrel never leaves his nut tree. It’s way too dangerous out there. He could encounter tarantulas, green Martians or killer bees. But in his tree, every day is the same and if danger comes along, he’s well-prepared. Scaredy Squirrel’s emergency kit includes antibacterial soap, Band-Aids and a parachute.

Day after day he watches and waits, and waits and watches, until one day … his worst nightmare comes true! Scaredy suddenly finds himself out of his tree, where germs, poison ivy and sharks lurk.

But as Scaredy Squirrel leaps into the unknown, he discovers something really uplifting …

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The Bravest of Us All
Written by Marsha Diane Arnold & illustrated by Brad Sneed
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Ruby Jane has always looked up to her older sister, Velma Jean for her brave and daring stunts, but it is Ruby Jane’s turn to be brave in the face of a tornado that threatens her sister’s life.

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  1. The Very Last Leaf - Lance Cottonwood is the best and brightest of the leaves, but even the top students on the tree have worries. Can Lance conquer his fear of falling and just let go when the time comes for his final exam, or will he let his worries take over? In this funny and encouraging picture book, best-selling author Stef Wade (A Place for Pluto) tells an engaging story and deftly addresses social and emotional struggles many kids encounter each day…feeling anxious, wanting to be perfect, facing fears, etc. These themes combined with illustrator Jennifer Davison’s delightful characters and rich autumnal colors make The Very Last Leaf a perfect book for the start of a new school year, the arrival of autumn, or any period of transition in life.

  2. The Boy and the Cloth of Dreams - In a mystical parable, a boy sleeps peacefully under a brilliant quilt made by his grandmother, until the cloth accidentally tears, nightmares escape, and the child must find within himself the courage to mend the tear.

Books About Courage and Confidence

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Zero
Written & illustrated by Kathryn Otoshi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Follow up to the award winning book, “ONE”, a number called ZERO wonders, “How does a number worth nothing become something?” The story of ZERO’s search to find value in herself and in othersTopics covering: - Body Issues & appearance - Finding value in yourself and developing character - Working with others/Teamwork/Developing social skills - Counting/Math - CourageZero is a big round number. When she looks at herself, she just sees a hole right in her center. Every day she watches the other numbers line up to count: “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 . . . !” “Those numbers have value. That’s why they count,” she thinks. But how could a number worth nothing become something? Zero feels empty inside. She watches One having fun with the other numbers. One has bold strokes and squared corners. Zero is big and round with no corners at all. “If I were like One, then Ican count too,” she thinks. So she pushes and pulls, stretches and straightens, forces and flattens herself, but in the end she realizes that she can only be Zero. As budding young readers learn about numbers and counting, they are also introduced to accepting different body types, developing social skills and character, and learning what it means to find value in yourself and in others.

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You Can Do It, Bert!
Written & illustrated by Ole Könnecke
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

This is Bert’s big day. He is well prepared, mentally, and physically. But he might need some encouragement.

You Can Do It, Bert! is a simple, funny picture book with an encouraging positive message. It’s a great gift for anyone embarking on a new venture: a child about to start school, a teenager finishing high school, a college student graduating, or anyone starting a new job or going overseas.

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When You Are Brave
Written by Pat Zietlow Miller & illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

An inspiring picture book affirmation about having courage even in difficult times, because some days, when everything around you seems scary, you have to be brave. Saying goodbye to neighbors. Worrying about new friends. Passing through a big city. Seeing a dark road ahead. In these moments, a young girl feels small and quiet and alone. But when she breathes deeply and looks inside herself, a hidden spark of courage appears, one she can nurture and grow until she glows inside and out. Award-winning author Pat Zietlow Miller’s uplifting words join New York Times bestselling illustrator Eliza Wheeler’s luminous art to inspire young readers to embrace their inner light–no matter what they’re facing–and to be brave.

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  1. Maria Finds Courage: A Team Dungy Story about Soccer - Find the Courage to Try Something New When Maria’s family moves to a new town, her parents sign her up for the summer soccer team to help her meet new friends. But Maria has never tried soccer before. She would rather be back on her old swim team. Maria is afraid she will be the worst player and no one will like her. Coach Tony and Coach Lauren remind Maria everything is new at first. Maria will have to give soccer a try to see if she likes it. What have you wanted to try but were afraid to? Like Maria, you can have the courage to try something new, because who knows? That new thing you try might just become your next favorite thing! *** Join the Team! The Team Dungy series of picture books for young readers, ages 6-9, teaches character-building lessons through the familiar world of sports.

  2. We Will Rock Our Classmates - Readers will twist and shout for this headbanging companion to the #1 <i>New York Times</i> best-selling <i>We Don’t Eat Our Classmates</i>.</p><br></p>Penelope is a T. rex, and she’s very good at it. She also likes to rock out on guitar! With the school talent show coming up, Penelope can’t wait to perform for her classmates. But sharing who you are can be show-stoppingly scary, especially when it’s not what people expect. Will Penelope get by with a little help from her friends?</p>

  3. Kitty and the Moonlight Rescue - Girl by day. Cat by night. Ready for an adventure. Kitty and the Moonlight Rescue is the first book in a chapter book series about Kitty and her superhero adventures. This chapter book is an excellent choice to share during homeschooling, in particular for children ages 6 to 8 who are ready to read independently. It's a fun way to keep your child engaged and as a supplement for activity books for children.

Books About Courage and Monsters

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Brave Molly
Written & illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

What do you do when no one can see your monsters but you? At first, Molly runs from them. But they follow her down the sidewalk, getting in the way when she tries to make a new friend, popping up unexpectedly out of shadows, and multiplying. Until finally…Molly faces her fears. Author-illustrator Brooke Boynton-Hughes delivers a modern classic in this moving adventure that honors everyday acts of bravery and the power of friendship to banish the monsters that haunt us.

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Frankenbunny
Written by Jill Esbaum & illustrated by Alice Brereton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Spencer the bunny’s older brothers frighten him with stories about Frankenbunny and other monsters until Spencer figures out how to overcome his fears and his brothers.

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Tiger Vs. Nightmare
Written & illustrated by Emily Tetri
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Tiger is a very lucky kid: she has a monster living under her bed. Every night, Tiger and Monster play games until it’s time for lights out. Of course, Monster would never try to scare Tiger—that’s not what best friends do. But Monster needs to scare someone…it’s a monster, after all. So while Tiger sleeps, Monster scares all of her nightmares away. Thanks to her friend, Tiger has nothing but good dreams. But waiting in the darkness is a nightmare so big and mean that Monster can’t fight it alone. Only teamwork and a lot of bravery can chase this nightmare away. In this charming graphic novel for young readers, cartoonist Emily Tetri proves that unlikely best friends can be an unbeatable team, even agianst the scariest monsters.

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  1. Mighty Jack and the Goblin King - Like a bolt from the blue, Jack’s little sister Maddy is gone—carried into another realm by an ogre. When Jack and Lilly follow Maddy’s captor through the portal, they are ready for anything . . . except what they find waiting for them in the floating crossroads between worlds. Even the power of their magic plants may not be enough to get them back to earth alive. Alone and injured, Jack and Lilly must each face their own monsters—as well as giants who grind the bones of human children to feed their “beast” and a fearsome goblin king in the sewers down below. But when Jack finds himself in a tough spot, help comes from the most unlikely person: the goblin king! Ben Hatke, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Zita the Spacegirl, concludes his latest middle-grade fantasy-adventure graphic novel series, Mighty Jack, with the energetic finale to his retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk.

  2. The Bone Snatcher - Sophie Seacove is a storyteller. She tells stories of what the world would be like if madness hadn’t taken over. If her parents hadn’t sold her off as a servant to pay for their passage out of London. If she wasn’t now trapped in a decaying mansion filled with creepy people and surrounded by ravenous sea monsters. The mansion has plenty of stories, too: About fantastical machines, and the tragic inventor who created them. About his highly suspicious death. And about the Monster Box, a mysterious object hidden in the house that just might hold the key to escaping this horrible place—and to reuniting Sophie with her family. But not everyone wants Sophie to have the Monster Box, and as she gets closer to finding it, she finds herself unspooling years-old secrets—and dodging dangerous attacks. Sophie needs to use her brains, her brawn, and her unbreakable nature if she wants to make it off this wretched island…and live to tell this story.

  3. Angel and Bavar - Taking inspiration from “Beauty and the Beast,” Amy Wilson’s second middle grade novel is a stunning modern fairy tale of magic, friendship, and finding the courage to fight for what matters most. After the death of her parents, Angel has a lot to get used to: a new home, a new family, a new school. The last thing she’s interested in is making new friends. Until she meets Bavar, a strange boy who slips through the shadows, a boy who might understand her nightmares. But Bavar doesn’t want to let anyone in. Everyone—and everything—in his enchanted house is already urging him to step up and protect the world from a magical rift and the fearsome monsters traveling through it, a responsibility he wishes he could ignore. Then Bavar discovers that the monsters are the same ones that killed Angel’s parents. Determined to stop the creatures for good, he reluctantly accepts Angel’s help. Together, Angel and Bavar must find the courage to stand up for each other and themselves to repair the rift between worlds…before it’s too late.

  4. Where the Woods End - Kestrel, a young huntress, lives in a seemingly endless forest crawling with dangerous beasts. But the most dangerous beasts of all are the Grabbers–beings that are born when you are and stalk you throughout your life, waiting for the perfect moment to snatch and eat you. No one has ever defeated their Grabber once attacked, and those that die from accidents or other creatures are considered “lucky.” Kestrel has been tasked by her mother, a powerful and controlling spell-caster, to hunt down the Grabbers in an effort to protect their village in the forest. Accompanied by Pippit, a hilariously bloodthirsty weasel, she hones her skills as she searches for a way out of the forest–and away from the judgmental villagers who despise her. But her own Grabber is creeping ever closer, and nothing in this forest is what it seems…including her mother’s true motivations.

Want to see books about monsters?

Books About Courage and Places And Regions

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Fish for Jimmy
Written & illustrated by Katie Yamasaki
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

For two boys in a Japanese American family, everything changed when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States went to war. With the family forced to leave their home and go to an internment camp, Jimmy loses his appetite. Older brother Taro takes matters into his own hands and, night after night, sneaks out of the camp and catches fresh fish for Jimmy to help make him strong again. This affecting tale of courage and love is an adaptation of the author’s true family story, and includes a letter to readers with more information about the historical background and inspiration.

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Sam Wu Is Not Afraid of the Dark
Written by Katie Tsang and Kevin Tsang & illustrated by Nathan Reed
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-12

Sam Wu is NOT afraid of the dark. But it’s hard to prove you’re brave when you’re about to face your greatest challenge: camping. That means confronting terrifying things like grizzly bears, vampire bats, aliens, and the worst person in the WHOLE UNIVERSE–Ralph ZInkerman! When something starts haunting the woods, can Sam and his crew band together to become Masters of the Dark? And could they even have . . . FUN?

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How to Make Friends with the Sea
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Tanya Guerrero's How to Make Friends with the Sea is a middle grade debut novel set in the Philippines about a young boy's challenges with anxiety while his mother fosters an orphaned child with a facial anomaly.

Pablo is homesick.

He's only twelve years old, but he's lived in more countries than he can count. After his parents divorced, he and his mother have moved from place to place for years, never settling anywhere long enough to call it home. And along the way, Pablo has collected more and more fears: of dirt, of germs, and most of all, of the ocean.

Now they're living in the Philippines, and his mother, a zoologist who works at a local wildlife refuge, is too busy saving animals to notice that Pablo might need saving, too. Then his mother takes in Chiqui, an orphaned girl with a cleft lip--and Pablo finds that through being strong for Chiqui, his own fears don't seem so scary.

He might even find the courage to face his biggest fear of all...and learn how to make friends with the sea.

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  1. Sam Wu Is Not Afraid of Sharks - On a class trip to the aquarium, certified ghost hunter Sam Wu encounters something even scarier than ghosts: a giant shark who TOTALLY tries to eat him. Sam has no intentions of taking any more chances with these people-eating creatures. But then his classmates plan a birthday bash . . . on the BEACH! Can Sam overcome his fear of becoming fish food before he misses out on the fun?

  2. Ten Cents a Pound - A young girl and her mother have a loving, passionate conversation with each other. The girl is torn between her desire to stay home with her family and the familiarity of their village, and her desire to go to school and discover the world beyond the mountains that surround them. Every time the girl insists that she will stay, her mother repeats that she must go, that there is more to life than the labor in the coffee trees.

  3. One Last Wish - A princess marries a man she loves in spite of his impending death. Due to her devotion and persistence, she is granted a wish, which she uses wisely. Themes: love, devotion, bravery.

  4. Lalani of the Distant Sea - "Fast-paced and full of wonder, this is a powerful, gripping must-read."--Kirkus (starred review)

Books About Courage and Multicultural

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I Will Be Fierce
Written by Bea Birdsong & illustrated by Nidhi Chanani
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Today, I will be fierce! It’s a brand new day, and a young girl decides to take on the world like a brave explorer heading off on an epic fairytale quest. From home to school and back again, our hero conquers the Mountain of Knowledge (the library), forges new bridges (friendships), and leads the victorious charge home on her steed (the school bus). Written by Bea Birdsong and illustrated by Nidhi Chanani, I Will Be Fierce is a powerful picture book about courage, confidence, kindness, and finding the extraordinary in everyday moments.

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A Boy Like You
Written by Frank Murphy & illustrated by Kayla Harren
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

2020-2021 Keystone to Reading Elementary Book Award List<p> 2020 Amelia Bloomer List<p> Winner of the 2019 Eureka! Gold Awards<p> Winner of Best of 2019 Kids Books - Future Classics Category <p> There’s more to being a boy than sports, feats of daring, and keeping a stiff upper lip. A Boy Like You encourages every boy to embrace all the things that make him unique, to be brave and ask for help, to tell his own story and listen to the stories of those around him. In an age when boys are expected to fit into a particular mold, this book celebrates all the wonderful ways to be a boy.

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The Magical Yet
Written by Angela DiTerlizzi & illustrated by Lorena Alvarez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
A rollicking, rhyming, and inspirational picture book perfect for fans of
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  1. My Year in the Middle - Miss Garrett’s classroom is like every other at our school. White kids sit on one side and black kids on the other. I’m one of the few middle-rowers who split the difference. In a racially polarized classroom in 1970 Alabama, Lu’s talent for running track makes her a new best friend—and tests her mettle as she navigates the school’s social cliques. Sixth-grader Lu Olivera just wants to keep her head down and get along with everyone in her class. Trouble is, Lu’s old friends have been changing lately—acting boy crazy and making snide remarks about Lu’s newfound talent for running track. Lu’s secret hope for a new friend is fellow runner Belinda Gresham, but in 1970 Red Grove, Alabama, blacks and whites don’t mix. As segregationist ex-governor George Wallace ramps up his campaign against the current governor, Albert Brewer, growing tensions in the state—and in the classroom—mean that Lu can’t stay neutral about the racial divide at school. Will she find the gumption to stand up for what’s right and to choose friends who do the same?

  2. A Plan for Pops - Lou spends every Saturday with Grandad and Pops. They walk to the library hand in hand, like a chain of paper dolls. Grandad reads books about science and design, Pops listens to rock and roll, and Lou bounces from lap to lap. But everything changes one Saturday. Pops has a fall. That night there is terrible news: Pops will be confined to a wheelchair, not just for now, but for always. Unable to cope with his new circumstances, he becomes withdrawn and shuts himself in his room. Hearing Grandad trying to cheer up Pops inspires Lou to make a plan. Using skills learned from Grandad, and with a little help from their neighbors, Lou comes up with a plan for Pops.

  3. Babysitting Nightmares: The Shadow Hand - The Baby-Sitter’s Club meets Goosebumps as a diverse group of friends encounter supernatural problems on their babysitting gigs in this spooky new middle-grade series.

  4. What Does It Mean to Be Kind? - "...a beautiful book with a beautiful message...the book shows young children how easy it is to be kind through small acts and in simple ways..."--R.J. Palacio, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Wonder

Books About Courage and Survival Stories

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River Friendly, River Wild
Written by Jane Kurtz & illustrated by Neil Brennan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This winter was snowy, this spring brought a terrible blizzard, and now the river is rising. Sandbags don’t stop it, the dikes don’t stop it, and late one night sirens warn everyone to evacuate. A girl and her family don’t expect to be gone more than a couple of days, so they leave their cat and race for shelter with only a suitcase each. But as days stretch into weeks they worry: Is the cat safe? Will they have a home to return to? And how will their lives be changed? In searing, personal poems, Jane Kurtz explores what it’s like to struggle through a flood and pull your life together afterward. Inspired by Kurtz’s own flood experience, this tale is realistic and unforgettable. Not just a moving story of one girl’s courage, River Friendly, River Wild is a tribute to everyone who’s ever faced great loss.

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Gorilla Dawn
Written & illustrated by Gill Lewis
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

“It is time, Imara. Imara left the shadows and stepped into the pool of moonlight, listening to the demon as he paced inside her mind. It is time, Imara. The men are waiting for you. They are waiting for your power to protect them. She knelt down and poured the contents of her water bottle into the ashes of last night’s fire, stirring with her fingers, working the mixture into a gritty paste. All around her, the forest was dark and still, wrapped in silence. Nothing moved. High above in the canopy, a pale mist clung to the leaves. Thin tendrils of vapor hung in the air, as if the trees were holding their breath, waiting for the dawn. The Black Mamba and his men were folded into the deep moon-shadows. Only the cold light catching the metal of their rifles told they were not of this place. Come on, Imara, hissed the demon. They’re watching you. Imara’s hands hovered over the ash paste and trembled. Stupid girl. Don’t show your fear. You know what they’ll do if they see your fear. Imara breathed in deeply, filling her lungs with the cool night air. She tried to block her mind from the purpose of her task. She hummed softly, trying to ignore the demon and scooped the ash paste into her hand. Hurry, Imara. They want to see their spirit child.”

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The Girl and the Wolf
Written by Katherena Vermette & illustrated by Julie Flett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

While picking berries with her mother, a little girl wanders too far into the woods. When she realizes she is lost, she begins to panic. A large grey wolf makes a sudden appearance between some distant trees. Using his sense of smell, he determines where she came from and decides to help her. Through a series of questions from the wolf, the little girl realizes she had the knowledge and skill to navigate herself—she just needed to remember that those abilities were there all along.

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  1. Tiptop Cat - A curious cat plus a big fall leads to squashed confidence. How this cat bounces back will encourage readers everywhere to try, try again. Eye-catching art and crisp graphic paneling invite even the youngest of children to get back on their feet to explore the city alongside TipTop Cat. <br>

  2. Call It Courage - A boy tries to overcome his fear of the sea in this treasured classic and winner of the Newbery Medal. Maftu was afraid of the sea. It had taken his mother when he was a baby, and it seemed to him that the sea gods sought vengeance at having been cheated of Mafatu. So, though he was the son of the Great Chief of Hikueru, a race of Polynesians who worshipped courage, and he was named Stout Heart, he feared and avoided tha sea, till everyone branded him a coward. When he could no longer bear their taunts and jibes, he determined to conquer that fear or be conquered– so he went off in his canoe, alone except for his little dog and pet albatross. A storm gave him his first challenge. Then days on a desert island found him resourceful beyond his own expectation. This is the story of how his courage grew and how he finally returned home. This is a legend. It happened many years ago, but even today the people of Hikueru sing this story and tell it over their evening fires.

  3. Earth Dragon Awakes: The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 - Over the years the earth has moved many times under San Francisco. But it has been thirty-eight years since the last strong earthquake. People have forgotten how bad it can be. But soon they will remember.

Books About Courage and America

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Pass Go and Collect $200
Written & illustrated by Tanya Lee Stone
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Boldness, imagination, and ruthless competition combine in Tanya Lee Stone and Steven Salerno’s Pass Go and Collect $200, a riveting picture book history of Monopoly, one of the world’s most famous games. In the late 1800s lived Lizzie Magie, a clever and charismatic woman with a strong sense of justice. Waves of urban migration drew Lizzie’s attention to rising financial inequality. One day she had an idea: create a game that shows the unfairness of the landlord-tenant relationship. But game players seemed to have the most fun pretending to be wealthy landowners. Enter Charles Darrow, a marketer and salesman with a vision for transforming Lizzie’s game into an exciting staple of American family entertainment. Features back matter that includes “Monopoly Math” word problems and equations. Excellent STEM connections and resources.

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Be a King
Written by Carole Boston Weatherford & illustrated by James Ransome
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

You can be a King. Stamp out hatred. Put your foot down and walk tall. You can be a King. Beat the drum for justice. March to your own conscience. Featuring a dual narrative of the key moments of Dr. King’s life alongside a modern class as the students learn about him, Carole Weatherford’s poetic text encapsulates the moments that readers today can reenact in their own lives. See a class of young students as they begin a school project inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and learn to follow his example, as he dealt with adversity and never lost hope that a future of equality and justice would soon be a reality. As times change, Dr. King’s example remains, encouraging a new generation of children to take charge and change the world . . . to be a King.

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Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America
Written by Carole Boston Weatherford & illustrated by Jamey Christoph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

His white teacher tells her all-black class, You’ll all wind up porters and waiters. What did she know? Gordon Parks is most famous for being the first black director in Hollywood. But before he made movies and wrote books, he was a poor African American looking for work. When he bought a camera, his life changed forever. He taught himself how to take pictures and before long, people noticed. His success as a fashion photographer landed him a job working for the government. In Washington DC, Gordon went looking for a subject, but what he found was segregation. He and others were treated differently because of the color of their skin. Gordon wanted to take a stand against the racism he observed. With his camera in hand, he found a way. Told through lyrical verse and atmospheric art, this is the story of how, with a single photograph, a self-taught artist got America to take notice.

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  1. Gloria Takes a Stand - Throughout Gloria Steinem’s life, she stood up for many things. In a time when most women didn’t go to college, Gloria knew the importance of education and studied at Smith College. In a time when almost all women stayed at home to raise a family, Gloria traveled to India and wrote about what she learned there. In a time when many people were fighting for equality, Gloria wanted to write about these important events. And as she heard more and more stories from women who didn’t have as many rights as men, Gloria decided to start Ms. Magazine to give women a voice. This text introduces a new generation of children to Gloria Steinem, the icon who fought for a better world for all women—and encourages all readers to “stand up and speak for equal rights for all people.”

  2. Priscilla and the Hollyhocks - Priscilla is only four years old when her mother is sold to another master. All Priscilla has to remember her mother by are the hollyhocks she planted by the cow pond. At age ten, Priscilla is sold to a Cherokee family and continues her life as a slave. She keeps hope for a better life alive by planting hollyhocks wherever she goes. At last, her forced march along the Trail of Tears brings a chance encounter that leads to her freedom. Includes an author’s note with more details about this fascinating true story as well as instructions for making hollyhock dolls.

  3. Yasmin the Soccer Star - Everyone in Yasmin’s gym class is excited to play soccer, except for Yasmin. She’s seen the pros play, and it looks scary! When Yasmin is chosen as goalie, will she step up or back out? Courage, Yasmin!

  4. George Did It - Everyone wanted George Washington to be the president. He was responsible, led the army in a fight against the British, and helped write the Constitution. But being the president is a very important job, and George was too nervous. So, to everyone’s surprise, he said no! However, George had many supporters, and with the help of the cheering crowds and loyal advisers and dignitaries, George realized that he didn’t have time to think about how nervous he was, he just had to do his job. With little-known facts and a bit of humor, Suzanne Tripp Jurmain gives readers a glimpse into the more personal side of the first president of the United States.

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Books About Courage and Rescues And Rescuing

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Wild Rescuers: Escape to the Mesa
Written & illustrated by StacyPlays
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The next installment in the New York Times bestselling series! From YouTube gamer StacyPlays comes the exhilarating sequel to her Minecraft-inspired adventure novel about a girl raised by wolves. Stacy would do anything to protect the Taiga where she lives with the pack of intelligent wolves who raised her. But when humans start to encroach on their forest, their only choice is escape to a place no Arctic wolf has gone before: the desert. The Mesa, with its canyons, snakes, and coyotes, will be like nothing the pack has ever seen. Even in this unfamiliar territory, Stacy is determined to rescue animals in need. But as she and her wolves face new dangers and old secrets, Stacy can’t help but wonder—where does she truly belong? Fans of DanTDM: Trayasaurus and the Enchanted Crystal and PopularMMOs Presents: A Hole New World will love this illustrated, action-packed series!

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How to Properly Dispose of Planet Earth
Written & illustrated by Paul Noth
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Popular New Yorker cartoonist Paul Noth continues his illustrated middle grade series about a boy, his wacky family, and an out-of-this-world adventure in this laugh-out-loud sequel to How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens. Happy Conklin Jr. is still the only 10-year-old who has to shave three times a day, thanks to being tested on by his inventor father. And it’s safe to say Hap is the only 10-year-old who accidentally sold his entire family to aliens. The good news is that Hap managed to save his family–including his tyrannical Grandma–but now the Conklins face a problem that might put the whole world in danger . . . Hap wants a girl in his sixth-grade science class to be his lab partner but lacks the courage to even talk to her. Through the mysterious powers of Squeep! the lizard, he finds a way to overcome this fear but also, unfortunately, opens a black hole in his middle school that will swallow the solar system unless he’s able to stop it. In his race against time to save everything, he’s helped by his sister Kayla, greatly hindered by his sister Alice, and uncovers the truth about Grandma’s plan to take over the Galaxy.

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Freddie Ramos Zooms to the Rescue
Written by Jacqueline Jules & illustrated by Miguel Benitez
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

A very unusual squirrel is spotted in and around Starwood Elementary School, and when Freddie uses his Zapato Power to chase it, he finds more than one opportunity to be a hero.

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  1. The Adventures of Henry Whiskers - Henry Whiskers must face his fears and rescue his little sister from the scary Rat Alley in this fun, fast-paced debut chapter book set in Queen Mary’s historical dollhouse at Windsor Castle. Twenty-five generations of Whiskers have lived in Windsor Castle’s most famous exhibit: Queen Mary’s Dollhouse. For young, book-loving Henry Whiskers and his family, this is the perfect place to call home. But when the dollhouse undergoes unexpected repairs and Henry’s youngest sister, Isabel, goes missing, he risks everything in a whisker-whipping race against time to save her. His rescue mission will take him to the murky and scary world of Rat Alley, and Henry will have to dig deep and find the courage he never knew he had in order to bring his sister back home.

  2. River Runs Deep - Twelve-year-old Elias is sent to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky to fight a case of consumption–and ends up fighting for the lives of a secret community of escaped slaves traveling along the Underground Railroad.

  3. Into the Night to Save the Day! - Go into the night to save the day with Catboy, Owlette, and Gekko in this 8x8 storybook based on PJ Masks, the hit preschool series airing on Disney Junior! It’s a Cat-astrophe! When Romeo kidnaps Amaya and Greg and steals their pajamas, it’s up to Catboy to save his friends! But can Catboy do it on his own, or will it take teamwork to save the day? PJ Masks © Frog Box / Entertainment One UK Limited / Walt Disney EMEA Productions Limited 2014

  4. A Nearer Moon - Long ago the dam formed, the lively river turned into a swamp, and the wasting illness came to Luna’s village, and now that her little sister is sick Luna will do anything to save her, even offer herself to the creature that lives in the swamp on the day of the nearer moon–a lonely and bitter water sprite who was left behind when her people fled through a door to another world.

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