Everyday Brave

Beaming Bks. Mar. 2024. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781506494432.
Gr 1-3–There once was a girl whose bravery came from her lion “and because her lion was big and fearless it was easy to be brave.” She roared when she needed courage and her lion roared back. With her lion by her side, she is brave in big and little ways. She doesn’t fear the dark, storms, monsters under the bed, broccoli, saying hello first, exploring, speaking up, starting over, and so much more. On the day that someone tells her that the lion is only in her imagination, she is bereft. “The world was scary” with its new people, new food, and new experiences. In the dark of a stormy night, she gathers her courage to roar again, but it comes out as a little squeak. She thinks of all the ways her life was better when she was brave, and she tries again. Jackson’s conversational text touches on big and small fears that will resonate with readers of all ages, as will the need to rise above those fears. The artistic and dynamic illustrations easily reflect the unnamed protagonist’s emotions, which are enhanced by the effective use of details, color, and white space. The flowing red hair of the girl matches her lion’s mane, giving a clever visual clue to the ending.
VERDICT A fable wherein the courage of the lion was in the girl all along. Jackson imbues what could have been a tired concept with depth, breadth, and power. Great for reading aloud in a group or individual sharing and an excellent addition to all collections.

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