When You Are Brave

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
When You Are Brave Book Poster Image
Scared girl finds courage within herself in inspiring tale.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows specific ways to find courage when feeling nervous or scared in different situations.

Positive Messages

Everyone has the power inside them to be courageous and overcome fears.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Main character finds strength within herself and the illustrations show she is also supported by a loving family.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pat Zietlow Miller's inspiring picture book When You Are Brave combines a motivating message and gorgeous illustrations to show a young girl finding courage in tough moments. The colors on the pages tell the story along with the words, moving from dark and timid to light and confident as the girl discovers her spark and confidence. The text never explicitly acknowledges that what the girl is afraid of (moving away from everything familiar) is truly hard, so parents might want to remind younger readers that these feelings of fear are normal and valid.

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What's the story?

In WHEN YOU ARE BRAVE, a young girl's family is moving to a new place, far from the familiar people and homes that she loves. The world seems big and scary and she feels alone in the back of the car until she finds a spark of courage within herself, takes a deep breath, and remembers the reasons and ways she is strong. She arrives at her new home with a new outlook, and the tools to find her bravery when she needs it.

Is it any good?

Along with beautiful illustrations that match the girl's mood, the specific tools for finding courage within help make this book a powerful inspiration for young readers. When You Are Brave is full of encouragement to find strength within and offers concrete ways to help kids find their bravery anytime they feel scared or alone, and reminds them that no matter what happens, they'll be all right. The picture of the girl wearing a cape as she stands at the front door of her new home is a fun, funny, and completely relatable attitude to readers of all ages. Kids who aren't facing big changes like the girl in the story can understand feeling scared about having to stand in front of the class, ride the bus for the first time, or learn to swim -- all those times when the world is "Too big. Too loud. Too hard. Too much."

For all the specific instructions for bravery, the book goes straight to the idea that sometimes you have to be brave while skipping over the acknowledgement that feelings of fear or sadness are valid, and that some of these situations are really difficult.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about times in their lives when they've felt like the girl in When You Are Brave. How have you reacted?

  • What have you learned from doing something that was hard? Do you have any advice for someone else who is facing the same thing?

  • What other books have you read about being brave?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love self-esteem stories and strong girls

Themes & Topics

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