The Brave Cowboy, by Joan Walsh Anglund is a classic that has been around for over 50 years. It has a small, square trim size, just right for small hands to hold. The black line art is enhanced with red line art, indicating the fantasies of the young cowboy, who, needless to say, is not afraid of anything. Sometimes “he had troubles… when he tent collapsed while he was camping out…when he ran out of food on the trail, far away from camp, when his horse went lame while he was hunting buffalo. But he was never baffled…he was not afraid…and he never gave up.” Just right for young buckaroos intent on roping teddy bears. I happen to know a 3-year-old cowboy who could easily have been the inspiration for this sweet book. It is not a bad place to start.
Then we also have Teaspoon of Courage for Kids: A Little Book of Encouragement for Whenever You Need It by Bradley Trevor Greive. With the charming animal photos Greive’s books have become world-famous for, and simple lines of text, this book delivers a simple and appealing homily about courage – when you need it and where it comes from. The photos (mostly baby animals) are sure to delight, and little line drawings in the margins add another comical dimension. Put this book somewhere your child can read it at leisure (the bathroom?) and enjoy the images. This would make great practice for talking about feelings: who can resist a baby pig with the caption “Courage is kind of like a secret weapon you can use to defeat your foes — and your fears” or a standing bear cub captioned, “All you have to do is find it inside yourself and let it out.” Getting accustomed to talking about feelings is a great way to help your child develop the emotional courage to face life’s challenges without getting discouraged. Just right for any age.