Braver Than Brave

Capstone. Aug. 2022. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781684465002.
Gr 2-4–Wanda’s brother is brave. Wanda wants to be just like him, but she is scared of the activities he enjoys, like swinging on a rope swing or traversing monkey bars. However, Wanda wants to prove herself. Can she be brave enough to ride the Coaster of Doom next summer? Wanda practices being brave, but she is still scared of the Coaster when the time rolls around. Her brother and friends encourage her to do it despite her fear—or are they pressuring her? Wanda makes the brave choice to not ride the roller coaster despite what everyone else wants to do. The picture book upends readers’ expectations. On the surface, it may seem like a book about learning to be brave enough to follow what others are doing, but it turns out that is not what Wanda wants at all. The story allows her the agency to choose, and it respects her choice. Wanda and her brother have brown skin and dark hair, while there are other skin tones represented in the book. The vibrant artwork features relatable characters with round faces, big eyes, and expressive mouths. Back matter includes ideas of how readers can find their own brand of bravery.
VERDICT Charming and modern. A must-add for most collections and necessary for the SEL shelves.

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