Being Brave

A list of recommended books on helping your child discover and explore courage, hope and bravery.

Tomorrow I'll Be Brave (Picture Book) by Jessica Hische

A stunning collection of messages by award-winning illustrator Jessica Hische, the essence of which is to encourage children to try new things do their best and be brave doing so. 
Motivation, inspiration and hope - it reminds young readers that tomorrow is always filled with a multitude of opportunities and we just have to seize the day!  The illustrations are equally powerful, leaving a uplifting impact on children and young adults of all ages.

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

A prolific team, National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson and Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner Rafael López have created an incredibly heart-warming and touching book on finding the courage to connect with others even when you're secretly anxious or scared.

"There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you."

Gorgeous writing complemented by pretty art, illustrates that even when we feel like an outsider, the courage to do it anyway, will surprise and astound us - we may find that in sharing our stories we are not so alone and that this might be the very thing that connects us.  

The Thing Lou Couldn't Do (Picture Books) by Ashley Spires

Lou and her colourful friends embark on exciting, adventurous escapades - however one day, a friend's suggestion to play ships on a tree that they'd need to climb, terrifies Lou.

She reasons with herself as to why it terrifies her - it's something new and she's never done it before. Or her arm's hurting or she needs to take the cat for a walk. She hopes to talk her friends out of it.

She pushes away the reality that she might be scared to try something new.

Ashley Spires, with delightful illustrations, perfectly captures the thought process of a young child who is anxious about doing something difficult. In the end Lou faces her fear and despite her not getting it right the first time, having tried once she is encouraged to try again. And in the back drop, you have Lou's friends, being compassionate towards her and supporting her tree-climbing journey.

It's the perfect Kids Book Club book for exploring and learning courage, compassion and resilience - all important life skills that all children develop with time.

Little Tree (Picture Book) by Loren Long

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A moving story about a young tree, Little Tree, who holds onto his leaves for dear life, terrified by the prospect of shedding them in anticipation of a new season. Other trees around him are happily doing so - however Little Tree is content with the way things are. There comes day when Little Tree discovers that all other trees have grown up around him - he will have to make a decision soon, in order to gain something, he will have to lose something. This fear of change may prevent us from moving on but it might be the best thing we do to grow and progress on our journey of life. 


Harrison Braves the Hill (Picture Book) by Aruna Khanzada

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A gorgeously illustrated tale of friendship, life and the transitions we face. Harrison, a young bird plucks up the courage to finally face the unknown, to visit his friend Laila, the caterpillar who politely left him to prepare for a new life as a butterfly.

The book explores the themes of loss, hope, change, friendship, courage and dealing with fear. 

Beautifully illustrated, the book is set in London's famous Primrose Hill. It's great for adults too, and the perfect pick-me-up for when we are faced with a daunting change that we'd rather not face.


Related reading lists:


Anxiety (Helping your child manage anxiety)

Anxiety (Helping your teenager manage anxiety) 

Child Development

Emotions (Learning and understanding emotions for toddlers)

Empowering your toddler

Starting Daycare/Pre-school

Toilet Training (Picture Books)


Looking for something more specific? Get something more tailored with our personalised book prescriptions within 48 hours. 

You might also find it helpful to learn some bibliotherapy techniques to help your child process these feelings by completing our online Bibliotherapy, Literature and Mental Health course, Children's Bibliotherapy Skills Online Course or read our book Bibliotherapy: The Healing Power of Reading.

A big hello and thank you for reading! Passionate about literature, psychology, and life I launched Book Therapy as an alternative form of therapy using the power of literature. I train mental health professionals, librarians, teachers as well as readers on using bibliotherapy in their own work through our online Bibliotherapy, Literature and Mental Health course. We also curate reading lists/personalised book prescriptions for clients based on their individual needs. This is our signature personalised reading service.

You can also check out Book Therapy’s other free reading lists and A- Z of book prescriptions (covering both fiction and non-fiction). These suggest books based on your existing life situation (e.g. anxiety, job change, relationship heartache) as well as interests (e.g memoir, historical fiction, non-fiction, crime etc). There’s also a Children’s A — Z of Book Prescriptions. Feel free to check out the blog for more literary gems. There’s also a post on my personal story of how I entered the world of bibliotherapy and book curation.

In this role, I have had the opportunity to publish two books called Bibliotherapy: The Healing Power of Reading and The Happiness Mindset, and write various literary essays and pieces for newspapers and magazines. I have undertaken bibliotherapy workshops for The United Nations, various libraries in New York and corporate organisations in the UK and US. My book recommendations have featured in the Guardian, Marie Claire, NBC News, Asian Voice, New York Observer, Sydney Telegraph and various other publications. If you are a parent you might enjoy a podcast I’ve recorded with speech and language therapist Sunita Shah on Raising A Reader & Storyteller. And if you’d like to connect, email me at or

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