August is the time of year when children are returning to school, and also when many others will be attending school, kindergarten or Pre-K for the first time. I Am So Brave! is a delightful board book about overcoming fears and the perfect book to calm anxieties that children around this time can develop as they prepare to enter that new stage in their lives called school.
I Am So Brave! begins with a little boy expressing his fear of large dogs, and ends with the child conquering his fear of saying goodbye to his mother to go to daycare. The book also addresses other common childhood fears such as the fear of swimming, loud noises and the all too familiar fear of the dark at bedtime. The genius of the book is in its approach to helping overcome fear; instead of insisting that there is nothing to be afraid of, which often just makes children feel misunderstood, the book shows children positive, beneficial and even exciting outcomes that result from overcoming each fear.
For example, the little boy, while initially afraid of the dark, turns his attention to the beauty of the star-lit sky at night and discovers that the night is not something to be feared, but rather something filled with mystery and wonder.
With simple but effective examples in rhyme, I Am So Brave! teaches children that it is not necessary to fear things that are new, and that new things in life can actually be fun and enriching. It also teaches children that while something may look or sound terrible at first, when viewed objectively can actually end up being something we grow to like or even love, rather than hating or fearing. And with all the different and sometimes difficult stages that children go through in their lifetime, it’s a valuable lesson to learn, and one that can be incredibly helpful when learned at a young age.
Written by: Stephen Krensky
Illustrated by: Sara Gillingham