Brave (Stacy McAnulty)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Brave, written by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff, the second book of the pair’s trio of affirming kidlit.

Being brave is many things: having a courageous heart, leading the way, fighting the toughest battles. Brave kids have super-strength, they stand for justice, and they can save the world. But while these terms may sound lofty, they can be found in everyday actions, and in the challenges everyday kids overcome. Being brave doesn’t need to be big or loud – it can simply be when we take the time to steel ourselves and do the right thing.

Lovely. Fans of McAnulty’s and Lew-Vriethoff’s series – which also includes Beautiful and Love – will be familiar with the book’s formula: while the language is grandiose, the actions and situations depicted in the illustrations are simple, everyday acts of courage. “Super-strength” becomes a little girl facing off against a chess master in front of a rapt audience; “fighting the toughest battles” shows a young friend supporting another as they undergo cancer treatment; “stand for justice” features a boy with a crutch standing up for a bullied classmate, and so on. The art is also an opportunity to feature a welcome diversity of characters in a rainbow of skintones, builds, religious garb, and ability, showing that heroes come in every shape and size. It’s a great message for little ones, and told in a way that both reassures and encourages. The length is great, and JJ enjoyed the art immensely. An empowering book in a wonderful series, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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