97+ Children's Books About Courage

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles book
#1
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.

Tomorrow I'll Be Brave book
#2
Tomorrow I'll Be Brave
Written and 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.

The Art of Miss Chew book
#3
The Art of Miss Chew
Written and 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.

My Friend Maggie book
#4
My Friend Maggie
Written and 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"

The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade book
#5
The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade
Written by Justin Roberts and 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.

Journey book
#6
Journey
Written and 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.

Pablo in the Snow book
#7
Pablo in the Snow
Written by Teri Sloat and illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

What is soft, fluffy, and white? Pablo’s wool, of course. But this little lamb soon discovers that there’s something else as well: SNOW! From making trails to sledding with friends, having snowball fights and crafting snowmen, there’s tons of fun to be had in the snow. But winter days grow dark very fast, and Pablo finds himself lost on his way home. Not to worry―Mama and Papa help Pablo get back to the cozy barn so he can talk about his adventures.

Caterpillar Dreams book
#8
Caterpillar Dreams
Written and illustrated by Clive McFarland
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The Very Hungry Caterpillar meets Giraffes Can’t Dance in this sweet coming of age story about finding one’s courage. All Henri the Caterpillar has is a dream. It’s an amazing, incredible, impossible dream. And to chase it, Henri will have to leave the safety of his garden and embark on the adventure of a lifetime. Written and illustrated by the award-winning creator of A Bed for Bear, Clive McFarland, Caterpillar Dreams is the inspiring story of what can happen when you dare to believe in yourself.

One book
#9
One
Written and 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.

On a Windy Night book
#10
On a Windy Night
Written by Nancy Raines Day and 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.

Circus Girl book
#11
Circus Girl
Written and illustrated by Clare Pernice
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

When a little girl dons her leotard and socks, she becomes "Circus Girl," the star of a show that incorporates her toys and stuffed animals.

Herbie's Big Adventure book
#12
Herbie's Big Adventure
Written and illustrated by Jennie Poh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

When his mother sends Herbie the young hedgehog out on his first big foraging adventure, a big wind sweeps him far from home.

Otis and the Tornado book
#13
Otis and the Tornado
Written and illustrated by Loren Long
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Otis and all his farm friends are enjoying a summer’s day, but the bull has no interest in playing and stays in his pen. Suddenly the day turns frightening and stormy: it’s a tornado! Otis takes all of the animals to safety, but the bull is still locked in his pen! Quick as his tires will take him, Otis putt puff puttedy chuffs back to the farm to save the day.

The Pout-Pout Fish and the Bully-Bully Shark book
#14
The Pout-Pout Fish and the Bully-Bully Shark
Written by Deborah Diesen and 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.

Courage book
#15
Courage
Written and illustrated by Bernard Waber
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

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.

Aberdeen book
#16
Aberdeen
Written and illustrated by Stacey Previn
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

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.

Ella and Penguin Stick Together book
#17
Ella and Penguin Stick Together
Written by Megan Maynor and illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Polonius the Pit Pony book
#18
Polonius the Pit Pony
Written by Richard O'Neill and illustrated by Feronia Parker-Thomas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-9

When Polonius the pit pony escapes from the coal mine he's worked in all his life, he joins a family of Travelers. Although he enjoys the freedom and the fresh air that their lifestyle offers, he wishes he could give something back to the family in return. When the chance arrives for him to do something to help, he rises to the challenge, and uses his intelligence and skills to save the day. Based on true events and retold by a master of the oral tradition, this story bears witness to the Traveler values of independence, initiative, courage and hard work.

Big Day Out book
#19
Big Day Out
Written and illustrated by Jess Stockham
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

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.

The Bone Snatcher book
#20
The Bone Snatcher
Written and illustrated by Charlotte Salter
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

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.

My Footprints book
#21
My Footprints
Written by Bao Phi and illustrated by Basia Tran
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Every child feels different in some way, but Thuy feels "double different." She is Vietnamese American and she has two moms. Thuy walks home one winter afternoon, angry and lonely after a bully's taunts. Then a bird catches her attention and sets Thuy on an imaginary exploration. What if she could fly away like a bird? What if she could sprint like a deer, or roar like a bear? Mimicking the footprints of each creature in the snow, she makes her way home to the arms of her moms. Together, the three of them imagine beautiful and powerful creatures who always have courage - just like Thuy.

George Did It book
#22
George Did It
Written by Suzanne Jurmain and illustrated by Larry Day
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

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.

The Boys book
#23
The Boys
Written and 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.

Power Forward book
#24
Power Forward
Written by Hena Khan and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

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.

The Wonderling book
#25
The Wonderling
Written and illustrated by Mira Bartók
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

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.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!