Have I convinced you yet that there is a picture book for every occasion? Whether it is to build empathy, spark creativity, or in this case build courage, picture books are my go to text for almost anything. These picture books are the ones I pull out when we need a little bit of boost, when we need to remember that we can change the world, when we need just a boost of courage as we try to navigate what it means to be a middle schooler.
Malala, a Brave Girl from Pakistan/Iqbal, a Brave Boy from Pakistan: Two Stories of Bravery by Jeanette Winter. I have used this book on many different occasions but having courage in the face of danger is major topic for social advocacy. I love this book so much.
Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman, illustrated by Chris Case. being yourself can be hard when you society will judge you but this book is a must add for any classroom. When we speak about needing diverse books we need books that not only a provide a mirror for our students but also a window to quote Jacqueline Woodson. While we may have no students that we think need this book, all of our students really need it.
First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg and illustrated by Judy Love. Sometimes kids think that adults have no fears but this book reminds them that we get scared too. A lighthearted read that is sure to be a great conversation starter.
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown. Staying true to yourself takes courage and Mr. Tiger is a good teacher of that.
Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle and Rafael Lopez A beautiful book from this prolific author that is all about following your own dreams and not letting others box you in.
Nightsong by Ari Berk and illustrated by Loren Long. Venturing out on your own is never easy especially when the night is dark.
I’m Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton. How many of us have tried to break our own fears? This is a laugh out-loud book that will make us think about the fears we need to work through.
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordecai Gerstein. This has been my chosen read aloud for many years on 9/11 because ti allows us to open up a hard conversation by remembering something beautiful. Now with the movie The Walk out, students know this story even better.
The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers. This book is beautiful and the message that it carries of not being afraid to love is one that will resonate with may readers.
I am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos I could have picked any of the books in this series, they all have wonderful message sof staying true to yourself and finding your own courage.
To the Stars! The First American Woman to Walk in Space by Carmella Van Vleet and Dr. Kathy Sullivan, illustrated by Nicole Wong. What is your dream adn how will you achieve it? Sometimes you have to dream bigger than the rest of the world wants you to.
Walk On! A Guide for Babies of All Ages by Marla Frazee. Even babies need courage. We all take so many things for granted that took a lot of work to do, this book is a great reminder of how far we have all come.
The Yellow Star by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Henri Soerensen. While the story is not completely true it does speak to how one person can inspire courage for many.
I know there are many others out there, which picture books do you gravitate toward when you need students to find some courage?
To see the list of more of our favorite picture books, go here.