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Picture Books about Bravery

If you have a child who needs a little dose of courage, check out a few of these wonderful picture books about bravery! Each one will inspire courage, determination, and self-confidence. 

Download our free library list to take with you on your next visit to the library.

A Kitten Tale book cover

A Kitten Tale
by Eric Rohmann

In this endearing tale, we meet four kittens who have never experienced winter. Three of the kittens are anxious about facing wet snow and freezing cold, but one kitten can’t wait! Maybe when the snow finally falls, the adventurous spirit of one brave kitten will rub off on his three timid friends so they can all enjoy winter together!

Black Dog book cover

Black Dog
by Levi Pinfold

Rich, full-page paintings alongside tiny pencil drawings create the backdrop for a quirky story about a fearful family, a BIG black dog, and a little girl who proclaims that “there was nothing to be scared of.” Levi Pinfold’s tale is a delightful reminder that sometimes the thing you’re most afraid of isn’t as big (or as scary) as you think it is.

Brave Irene book cover

Brave Irene
by William Steig

Winter is a force to be reckoned with, but winter winds are no match for Brave Irene. When a courageous little girl volunteers to venture out on an errand for her sick mother, snow and howling winds threaten to ruin everything. Can Irene make it to the duchess’s house in time to deliver the package, or will the winds of winter win in the end?

Brave Young Knight book cover

Brave Young Knight
by Karen Kingsbury

Of course, everyone knows that knights have a reputation for being brave. But in Karen Kingsbury’s touching fairy tale, we learn that being the best knight requires more than bravery. In a contest with the other knights in the kingdom, the Brave Young Knight proves that the most winning traits are honesty, integrity, and strength of character.

Miss Hazletine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats book cover

Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats by Alicia Potter

At Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats, timid cats learn to be brave. But for one scaredy-cat, classroom lessons become real-life lessons when he is called upon to rescue the home’s missing mistress. If you have a shy and fearful child in your home, this adorable picture book is just what you need!

Nightsong book cover

Nightsong
by Ari Berk

Loren Long’s captivating illustrations are the perfect complement to Ari Berk’s Nightsong, an endearing tale about a young bat learning to make his way in a dark and scary night world. At first Chiro is fearful, but he takes his mother’s advice and soon realizes that when you use your good sense, you will always be able to find your way home.

Cowardly Clyde book cover

Cowardly Clyde
by Bill Peet

Sir Galavant is a brave knight, but he has a most unfortunate problem: his horse is anything but brave. In fact, Clyde is quite cowardly, and when Sir Galavant determines to save the village from a terrible ogre, Clyde’s cowardliness gets them into a heap of trouble. But can Clyde’s loyalty to Sir Galavant save them both?

Otis and the Tornado book cover

Otis and the Tornado
by Loren Long

Otis knows that he and his farmyard friends are no match for a swirling tornado. As the brave tractor leads his friends to safety, he realizes that the big, ornery bull is still locked in his pen with the tornado approaching fast. But fear is no match for Otis, and soon the barnyard animals are safe and secure…and they have a new friend.

Sheila Rae the Brave book cover

Sheila Rae, the Brave
by Kevin Henkes

Sheila Rae, the Brave isn’t afraid of anything. She’s not afraid of the dark and she’s not afraid of stepping on cracks. She’s not even afraid of walking backwards with her eyes closed. And Sheila Ray isn’t afraid of finding a new way to walk home. But sometimes not being afraid can get a brave young mouse into trouble.

The Cats in Karsinski Square book cover

The Cats in Krasinski Square
by Karen Hesse

The Cats in Krasinski Square is the inspiring story of a young girl’s plan to smuggle food to hungry Jews in the Warsaw ghetto during the Resistance. The excitement and suspense grow as the girl and her feline friends outsmart the Gestapo in this uplifting story of bravery and survival in the most difficult of times.

The Dark book cover

The Dark
by Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket is a brilliant author, and only a brilliant author would think to take a child’s number one fear, give it a voice, and allow it to convince the child that there is nothing to fear. In this imaginative picture book, Laszlo and The Dark get to know each other. And as they talk, Laszlo discovers that maybe the dark isn’t so bad after all.

The Legend of Freedom Hill book cover

The Legend of Freedom Hill
by Linda Jacobs Altman

Told in the vernacular of the 1890s California Gold Rush, The Legend of Freedom Hill is the heartwarming story of an unlikely friendship between the daughter of a runaway slave and a young Jewish girl. When a slave catcher begins to close in on Rosabel’s mother, the girls hatch a daring plan to buy Miz Violet’s freedom once and for all.

The Paper Bag Princess book cover

The Paper Bag Princess
by Robert Munsch

Wearing nothing but a paper bag, Princess Elizabeth goes after the dragon that burned up her castle and carried off her prince. The dragon definitely got more than he bargained for when he messed with this brainy princess. And just when you expect a page turn with a happily ever after, the fairy tale takes a surprising twist.

The Story of Ferdinand book cover

The Story of Ferdinand
by Munro Leaf

Ferdinand is a peaceful young bull. He doesn’t like to run and leap with the other young bulls, but instead prefers sitting quietly under the cork tree and smelling the flowers. But then a surprising turn of events finds Ferdinand in the bullring facing an angry matador. What do you think will happen next?

The Village that Vanished

The Village that Vanished
by Ann Grifalconi

Deep within the jungle, the villagers of Yao have never had a reason to fear the outside world. But when slave traders threaten their village, two quick-thinking women and a brave girl devise a plan to fool the traders and lead the villagers to safety. Rich oil paintings and pencil drawings draw readers into this tale of courage and survival.


FREE Picture Books about Bravery Library List

Picture Books about Bravery library checklist download

Would you like to read some of my favorite picture books about bravery with your children?

Click to download our list to take to your local library.

Do you have a favorite picture book about bravery? Please share it in the comments below and I’ll add it to our Readers’ Picks box!

Favorite Picture Books about Bravery Recommended by Our Readers

  • Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield (Recommended by Robin W., AALP Staff)
  • Brave Emily (American Girl Molly Series) by Valerie Tripp (Recommended by Christine B. via Facebook)
  • Kirsten’s Surprise (American Girl Kirsten Series) by Janet Shaw (Recommended by Christine B. via Facebook)
  • Buddy: A Story for Dyslexia by Robin McEvoy Ph.D. (Recommended by Dyann P. via Facebook)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis (Recommended by Juli K. via Facebook)
  • Follow My Leader by James B. Garfield (Recommended by Jennifer F. via Facebook)
  • The Boxcar Children Series by Gertrude Chandler Warner (Recommended by Crystal G. via Facebook)
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Leave a Comment

Lu

says:

Thank you for such a great list! Look forward to finding some of these at our library. :)

Melanie Samples

says:

We love Brave Irene and Cowardly Clyde! Can’t wait to check out others on the list. Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Melanie,
Thanks for letting us know that Brave Irene and Cowardly Clyde were such hits in your home.

Patty Fitzgerald

says:

Please send me the weekly news letter!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I signed you up, Patty. You should have received an email welcoming you by now. If you haven’t, please let us know.

Jennifer

says:

I love this list of brave books! Sometimes, being scared and doing it anyway is easier when we’ve seen characters handle similar situations.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
Yes! And sometimes just knowing that other people get scared too is very comforting.

Amanda

says:

This caught my attention because I think this is an issue that needs to be addressed with my children. Thank you for the list!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Amanda. Enjoy your delving into bravery!

Christina

says:

Looking forward to checking these books out with my daughters.

Sheila

says:

Thank you for this list. We love the stort Brave Young Knight. Looking forward to reading more of these.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thanks for letting us know that Brave Young Knight is a good one, Sheila!

Anita Z

says:

AAAh!! yeah some new books to try! My kids love to have me read out loud! Some great suggestions!

Kara

says:

What a wonderful resource! Thanks for always putting together such great things for us as parents and home educators!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Kara. We’re glad you like it!

Christy Maloney

says:

Thanks for this. It is really helpful for a homeschool mom, especially one who want to encourage something like this in my boys as well as give them good reading practice. :):)

Penny

says:

As a grandmother, I find this site useful for finding books and other suggestions for my grandchildren.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

It’s great to know we have to been useful to you, Penny!

Melissa E.

says:

I always love recommendations on books, thanks!

Tracy

says:

Definitely some of our favorites on this list!

Pat

says:

Great choices on here. I love sharing good literature with my students.

Ellen

says:

These are great! Thank you! We have a hard time every October…

Thanks for the great resources.

Janet

says:

The Little Britches Series by Ralph Moody. We’ve been enjoying this as a read aloud this year and there are many examples of this family facing challenging situations with bravery.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Janet,
YES! We love Little Britches in my home! Great stories and so inspiring.

Elizabeth N

says:

We started reading Little Britches about a week ago. It is new to me and quickly becoming a favorite. The dad is right up there with Atticus Finch on the list of “best fictional dads”! I also like the Hardy Boys books as they illustrate bravery and teamwork in a way that really appeals to my sons.

Laura

says:

Thanks for taking the time to put together a unique list!! Some of the books suggested here I’ve seen on many other books-to-read lists, but many more of them are fresh recommendations. I look forward to checking them out!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Laura. Thank you for noticing that we try to offer a range of known and not-known recommendations!

Delia

says:

I love these thematic list of good books. I am taking it with me on our next library trip.

Carolyn

says:

Help! I need to win 6th grade!!!! Thank you!!! Stressed Mamma!!

Brenda

says:

What a great list! Thank you for being the support and inspiration we all need!

Anna

says:

So far my daughter is loving All About Reading especially Ziggy the Zebra!

Angela

says:

I love your book lists, they are fantastic! Your AAR and AAS programs, emails and posts are tremendous resources and blessings to our homeschool education. :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Awww, thank you, Angela! We aim to be a help and blessing, and it’s great to hear we hit the mark.

georgia

says:

Taking this to the library today!

Jarica

says:

I really enjoy your book lists! Thank you for all of your hard work!

Roseann Fox

says:

I love these book lists! All the emails and free downloads are wonderful. I have gained so much insight on what to do and where to begin homeschooling.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Roseann,
We are happy to have been a help and encouragement to you as you begin this wonderful journey of homeschooling!

Angela

says:

I have 4 young boys and we have all really enjoyed the story of the Brave Young Knight that’s on the list. There’s a great lesson to be learned in there too!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Angela,
Thank you for giving us feedback about the Brave Young Knight!

Christie

says:

I love the AAS and AAR programs and anso pleased with the progress I’ve seen with my kids. Thanks for all the great recommendations and fun games you have for us! Love your emails and posts!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Christie,
You’re welcome!

Grace

says:

My daughter is 6 and she loves to read, excellent recommendations!

Lesley

says:

I have been using AAR and AAS for my son since he was 4 and he’s a great spelling and reader due to these thorough programs!!!! LOVE them!!

Robyn Yetts

says:

My son has a difficulty learning his letters and sounds. His new speech therapist seems to feel it is a lack of effort on his part or babying on mine. He has real difficulty and it is frustrating. He LOVES being read to and several of the books on this list are favorites. I look forward to expanding our reading selections with this list!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Robyn,
I’m sorry to hear your son is struggling in this way. However, some children do really struggle to learn letters and their sounds despite lots of hard work on the part of both teacher and student. My third child worked hard all through his kindergarten year and managed to learn 6 letters. It’s been a lot of hard work, but he is 8th grade now and reads and spells very well.

You might consider using our Pre-reading level.

Also, be sure to check out our Letter Recognition Activities page, which has all kinds of hands-on activities you can do to work on letters. Other things you can do:

ABC Snacks

Tips for using the ABC Snacks

make letter of the day or week placemats

Go on a letter-treasure hunt: Put letters on index cards and tape them on things around the house that start with a letter and have him find the letters, or just hide letters for him to find.

Give him a fun pointer stick. As you both sing the alphabet song, he should point to each letter as it is sung. Do this every day.

Play games: Take index cards or squares of paper. Write a letter of the alphabet on each piece of paper. Set out four NON-CONFUSABLE letters at a time. For example, set out a, b, e, and f. (Do not set out c and e together, or b and d.) Take turns being the teacher. The teacher says “Point to the f (or whatever letter).” If the student points to the correct letter, he gets to keep it. Continue until the student has collected all four letters. Over a period of days or weeks, gradually add in more letters. First work with the uppercase letters; then move on to the lowercase letters.

8 ways to use refrigerator magnets

Free A to Z Letter Sounds App

Swatting Phonograms–have him “swat” letters on index cards as you say them.

An idea for very active kids is the snowball game. You can do this with a Nerf gun as well.

If he is also working on handwriting, have him work on writing the letter he is learning. Use tactile methods to practice letters, or practice them in various ways like a gel pen on black paper, or crayon that he paints over (or have him color with all different colors, then color over it with black, and use a coin or other object to write a letter–it will scratch away the black and the letter will be rainbow-colored).

I hope this gives you some ideas! Get Ziggy involved in learning the letters as well. Many kids really respond to Ziggy, or have him teach his dolls or stuffed animals letters.

Malinda

says:

This is such a great list! Ferdinand and the Paper Bag Princess are hits in our house already – looking forward to adding a few more :-)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Malinda,
We have heard many families love Ferdinand. It’s great to hear that the Paper Bag Princess was equally enjoyed in your house. Thank you.

Kc

says:

My son was just diagnosed with dyslexia so all this info is helpful

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kc,
I just wanted to let you know about our Dyslexia Resources page. It may be helpful to you.

Please let us know if you have any questions or need anything.

Melanie

says:

What a great list to have compiled! Thank you!

Karen Kosiarek

says:

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I absolutely love these lists. My son is 6, and really gets into longer chapter books these days for read-aloud time (just devoured Green Ember!). But we still enjoy picture books occasionally, and I find that the experience is so much more rewarding when we read a bunch of picture books with the same theme. I LOVE your lists – please keep ’em comin’! Many thanks.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Karen,
We love knowing that our book lists are appreciated and well used! Thank you.

Great recommendations! I love Ferdinand!

Carrie King

says:

So helpful!

Carrie Phillips

says:

Great list! Thanks for sharing these :)

Martha England

says:

Wonderful list! The only one we’ve seen is the Ferdinand story.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

It seems that the Ferdinand story is a popular one!

Angela Starkston

says:

Thanks!

Kristen

says:

Great list. These are all new to me.

Hanna Rux

says:

We love the Otis books! So many good stories encouraging bravery and overcoming fears, which is a perfect theme for my kindergartener who just said goodbye to all “his people” and moved across the ocean to Hawaii.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Hanna,
Poor guy. Hopefully, he will meet new people quickly.

Anna

says:

We love The Story of Ferdinand!

Aimee Wutka

says:

We have read several of these. We especially love Otis!

brandy

says:

What a great idea!

Mary Lynn

says:

We have read a few of these. I hadn’t realized there were so many on the topic.

Renee P

says:

We love Otis!! Great collection, thank you!

Shelley

says:

Thank you for this list.

Faith

says:

A few of these will be Christmas gifts!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Faith,
Have you seen our Book Advent Calendar idea? I think a book a day to count down to Christmas would be so much fun!

Brittany Gell

says:

Oh! Thank you, I am going to get some of these!

Abbey W

says:

We love Ferdinand and Sheila Rae! I’ll definitely share this list with my boys to see what else they would like to read. Thank you for putting this together.

Lisette D.

says:

Thank you for the list! :) We just read The Story of Ferdinand. Looking forward to reading other books!

Maria

says:

Brave Young Knight has been one of our favorites! Can’t wait to check out the others!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thanks for the recommendation, Maria!

Bree

says:

Great book list! My kids have read and loved several of these

Andrea

says:

Love The Book lists !

Lesli

says:

Love Brave Irene! Looking forward to reading your recommendations.

Jenn Pineo

says:

Otis and the Tornado is a great book for those living in Tornado Alley.

Shabana

says:

I was thinking to have a huge collection of great books such as these but planning to move so postponed.

Melanie Williams

says:

LOVE having a list of great books! We have only read “Ferdinand” from this list, so we’ll definitely have this in hand next trip to the library😊

Amanda

says:

This is fantastic! I’ve been wanting to take my NOW reading son(big grin) to the library but was worried about frustrating him with things he hasn’t learned yet.

Karis

says:

A good topic, and one my son and I were just discussing yesterday. Thank you for these recommendations.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Karis,
I’m glad this came at such a timely moment for you! Have fun.

Stepheny Seabolt

says:

The Legend of Freedom Hill looks like it would be a great read!

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