When you are Brave, written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler is a beautiful picture book about having courage in the face of change, fear and uncertainty. It reads almost like a meditative affirmation and has a calm strength to it that I am certain has helped and will help many children when they need a bravery boost for what lies ahead.
In this picture book, the pictures really do tell the story. They are predominantly in blue, black, yellow and green throughout and filled with texture, shadow and heart. We see striking images of a girl leaving her home, waving goodbye, entering a new and strange world far away from all she knew. The images take us on a journey with the protagonist, not only physically but also emotionally. They enhance the storytelling making the book a visual feast as well as an audible one. I encourage you all to check out the stunning end papers that, like ‘Starry Starry Night’ swirl gently with stars and the breaking light of a new day – a real visual feast!
The message throughout is one of encouragement. It never seeks to solve the girls problem, only to inspire children to find courage within themselves, light their inner light and let it shine! It reminds children that everyone is afraid of something sometimes but if we find bravery once, we can do it again and again and again. A lovely and important message for children of all ages and a good reminder to adults too!
This book has often been read to my little girl, Caitlin, at bedtime and has quickly become one of her favourite choices. It reads almost like a lullaby and has a soothing quality perfect for pre-sleep. I love the fact that she gets a positive message from the story too and I would actively encourage any parent of young children to buy the book and share it with their children too. Oh, and if you do, when you have read it, have a look beneath the jacket cover – the art work is simply gorgeous!