Brave

Written by: Stacy McAnulty

Illustrated by: Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

For Ages: 5-6 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Courage, Social-Emotional Development, Self-Acceptance.

Summary: This book emphasizes that bravery comes in all shapes and sizes, and in some situations that you might not expect!  Like Beautiful, this book will take a phrase like “a brave kid has super strength” and pair it with an illustration of a young girl of color concentrating on a game of chess; turning the notion of strength on it’s head.  “A brave kid never gives up” shows a young child wheelchair racing while their friends cheer them on from the stands and “a brave kid speaks the truth” shows some children admitting they broke a window playing baseball.  Something truly beautiful about the books that McAnulty writes is they put disabilities as active participants-a boy with cerebral palsy is standing up to a bully, not on his own behalf, but the behalf of another child (seemingly able-bodied) crying in the background of the illustration.  A second theme of both Brave and Beautiful is teamwork.  Many of the pages show groups of children working together towards a common goal, determined and happy expressions on their faces.  The characters treat each other tenderly and encourage each other to achieve their dreams.  This book is a much needed addition to any curriculum that addresses social-emotional development and learning!

Reflection Questions:

  • When is a time that you have shown bravery?
  • What could you say to someone that is feeling afraid, to help them feel brave?
  • Who is someone in your life that is brave? What do they do that’s brave?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Try doing something that scares you, to practice being brave? How do you feel after you try something new?
  • What are some movie or book characters that you think are brave? Draw yourself with that character and have both of you being brave!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

stacy mcanultyStacy McAnulty is a children’s book author, who used to be a mechanical engineer, who’s also qualified to be a dog therapist (is that a thing???), a correspondent for The Daily Show (why not), and a Green Bay Packer coach (totally!). She has written dozens of books including her debut middle-grade novel, The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl , a Junior Library Guild Selection, and the 2017 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor book Excellent Ed, illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach. Her other picture books include Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years, illustrated by David Litchfield; Max Explains Everything: Grocery Store Expert, illustrated by Deborah Hocking, Brave and Beautiful, both illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff; Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite, illustrated by Edward Hemingway; and 101 Reasons Why I’m Not Taking a Bath, illustrated by Joy Ang. She’s also authored the chapter book series Goldie Blox, based on the award-winning toys, and The Dino Files. When not writing, Stacy likes to listen to NPR, bake triple-chocolate cupcakes, and eat triple-chocolate cupcakes. Originally from upstate NY, she now lives in Kernersville, NC with her 3 kids, 3 dogs, and 1 husband.

joanne lew vriethoffJoanne Lew-Vriethoff was born in Malaysia and grew up in Los Angeles. After receiving her B.A in Illustration from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, she worked in the television industry as a character and concept illustrator for clients pitching children’s television shows.  She later moved to New York and trained as a graphic designer at a Design Studio working with various clients such as Columbia University, New School, and IJDG in NYC. Moving to Amsterdam gave her the opportunity to get back into making art again.  Many of her illustrations have themes of childhood nostalgia, humor, mischievousness, loneliness, love, social interactions friendships with an added touch of magic.. Her first published book, a Dutch poetry book set her on the path to becoming a children’s book illustrator.  Since then she has been illustrating picture books, middle grade novels, early readers, educational books, magazines,and for a toy branding company. Her favorite medium is pen and ink, mixed media. Joanne lives with her family in Amsterdam. Besides making art, she loves traveling and road trips with her husband and kids, photographing street art, cycling along the Amsterdam canals at midnight, snorkeling, day dreaming, collecting picture books.

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