7 Spectacular Picture Books That Will Help Your Child Be Courageous

These great reads show your little one that their fears aren’t always as scary as they seem.
May 20, 2019

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7 Spectacular Picture Books That Will Help Your Child Be Courageous

May 20, 2019

Let’s face it — as a kid, a lot of stuff in life can seem frightening. You don’t know if there are prowling monsters under the bed, what will happen if you speak up to others, or why the dentist uses those loud, scary machines. You probably remember from your own childhood that everyday life can be rife with uncertainty when you’re young.

But if your coaxing and explaining isn’t convincing your child that there’s no need to be scared, books can be your secret weapon to help. This collection of picture books features characters who learn to face their fears in the face of common childhood worries, and might just change your little one's perspective.

For the child who’s terrified of spooks and monsters….

The Dr. Seuss book What Was I Scared Of? is a delightfully imaginative, rhyming tale about a pair of spooky green pants that haunts the narrator wherever he goes. (It’s one of the short stories from The Sneetches and Other Stories.) Eventually, the frightened protagonist realizes the pants are just as afraid of him! The story teaches that sometimes we’re simply afraid of what is different or unknown, and many things aren’t so scary once you're a little more familiar with them.

For the child who’s petrified by thunderstorms…

The soothing story Safe in a Storm by Stephen R. Swinburne is a game-changer for kids who dive under the covers at the first crack of thunder. In the tale, parent animals protect and provide a safe haven for their young and remind them that they won’t be alone. The story's gorgeous illustrations are based in nature, and show kids that all storms really do come to an end.

For the child who’s fearful of loud noises…

In When Lions Roar by Robie H. Harris, a young boy, feeling afraid of a series of scary noises in his surroundings, takes a moment to calm himself and notice the more peaceful sounds present. With simple text and whimsical watercolor illustrations, the story offers mindful coping mechanisms for stressors like noise — helpful for teaching kids how to self-soothe.

For the child who’s anxious to go to school for the first time…

In Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes, Wemberly the mouse has many worries, big and small. So naturally, she is worried about starting school, too! Fortunately, on her first day, Wemberly meets another student named Jewel, and together they ease their fears by becoming fast friends. This cute and funny tale shows that you’re usually not alone when you feel uneasy in a new situation like school, and that simply having a friend can make a huge difference.

For the child who’s afraid to swim…

Pip-Pip, a tiny penguin, is afraid of the water in Be Brave, Little Penguin by Giles Andreae (the author of the bestselling book Giraffes Can’t Dance). Sadly, he’s also lonely on shore. So with the patience and persuasion of his mother, little Pip-Pip faces his fear and discovers something magical in swimming. This colorful tale is written in rhyme and is perfect for kids who are afraid to get their toes wet.

For the child who’s timid about speaking up…

The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright is a beautiful story of courage, determination, and friendship, accompanied by bold illustrations. Mouse is determined to roar like a lion so he feels less meek and afraid. He eventually speaks up and bravely asks the lion for help — only to find out that the brave lion is afraid of him! Ultimately, the lion finds his “true voice” and learns about overcoming self-doubt.

For the child who’s wary of the dentist…

Going to the Dentist by Anne Civardi helps kids know what to expect before heading to the dentist. When siblings Jake and Jessie visit the dentist, the dentist checks their teeth, fills Jake’s cavity, and tells them that brushing and eating in certain ways can help protect their teeth — showing kids just how helpful the dentist really is.

Shop These Courage-Boosting Books!

Life Experiences & Values
Age 8
Age 7
Age 6
Age 5
Age 4
Age 3
Courage, Bravery, Heroism
Literature
Fear
Determination and Perseverance
Challenges and Overcoming Obstacles
Confidence and Self-Esteem
Confronting and Resolving Fears
Helping Others