The Picture Book Buzz

Brave Every Day - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Since I adored Trudy & Patrice's book The Invisible Boy and Patrice's illustration of Pat Zietlow Miller's Remarkably You, I couldn't wait to read this one. It definitely lived up to my expectations as a wonderful book to help kids deal with anxiety and discover the bravery that comes with compassion.

Brave Every Day


Author: Trudy Ludwig


Illustrator: Patrice Barton


Publisher: Random House Children's Books (2022)


Ages: 4-8


Fiction


Themes:

Social anxiety, worries, friendship, caring, and bravery.


Synopsis:

Most kids love hide-and-seek, but Camila just wants to hide. Hiding is what she does best when she worries, and she worries a LOT. What if... I can’t... I’m scared!


A class trip to the aquarium causes her worries to pile up like never before. But when an anxious classmate asks for help, Camila discovers that her heart is bigger than her fears.


From social-emotional learning expert Trudy Ludwig and award-winning illustrator Patrice Barton, this tale of courage and compassion will embolden readers to face their own fears.


Opening Lines:

Most kids love hide-and-seek.

Not Camila. She just wants to hide.


Hiding is what Camila does

best when she worries.


What I LOVED about this book:

Everyone worries. You can't turn on the news or look at social media without finding something to worry about, especially if you're a parent or a young adult facing the mess the world has become. Kids worry, too. And for many, these worries can be debilitating. Trudy Ludwig and Patrice Barton have created an encouraging, heartfelt book about learning to be brave.


I adore the endpapers - which as Patrice Barton noted in our interview on Monday - really encapsulate the change and growth that occurs for Camila during a school aquarium visit. Shades of blue with bubbles and lurking sea creatures form a great foil for Camila's shift from overwhelming worries and fears to "I'll Try!" Although Camila's worries are no joke, and Trudy presents them seriously, it is humorous to see Camila and her cat hiding in a sheet on a clothesline, tucked into a slightly too small box, or cinching up a hoodie so only her eyes are visible.

Text © Trudy Ludwig, 2022. Image © Patrice Barton, 2022.


I also love how the blue bubbly background follows Camilla throughout the book as we experience her pronounced "What if?" "I Can't!" and "I'm Scared!" worries. Trudy Ludwig does an excellent job of choosing worries that are perfectly child-oriented - not knowing an answer when called on, not having friends at recess, and doing sports or reading aloud when everyone's looking at you. And of course the dreaded night-time shadows, shown in eerie shades of black and white with Camila and her faithful cat cowering under the covers.

Text © Trudy Ludwig, 2022. Image © Patrice Barton, 2022.

When her teacher announces an aquarium field trip and followed by class presentations, what begins as a normal classroom image, shifts to a background of small squiggly waves, little fish, and bubbles as Camila's worries begin to grow.

Text © Trudy Ludwig, 2022. Image © Patrice Barton, 2022.


Then the background explodes to resemble the front endpapers as her classmates taunt her about her worries. Wait until you see the next page. It is stunning! As "Camila worries about all the things that could go wrong," the illustrations of her being hooked by a fishing shark or splattered with octopus ink fill the entire two-page spread. They are hilarious and take the edge off Camila's worries for young readers, though her clenched teeth and puckered lip definitely portray her serious angst about the upcoming trip.


At the aquarium, it appears that Camila's worries were right and she "finds a hiding spot to catch her breath." Only to discovers a classmate is already hiding and also afraid. And she . . . [spoilers]. I'm going to leave you on this cliff hanger and hope that you will seek out this amazing, touching, affirming, and spectacularly illustrated book to see how Trudy and Patrice show Camila's incremental growth. While acknowledging that worries and fears don't just vanish, but we can develop strategies and lean into helping others to not be ruled by them. It's a wonderful, comforting book for kids (and adults) with anxieties or just the occassional worry.

Resources:

- when you're on a walk, look for a special stone, rock, or shell that fits your hand and feels calming when you rub it. Whenever you're worried, breathe and rub the rock.

[Mine looks like a heart.]

- using your favorite color(s) and some letter beads, make a positivity bracelet. You could use Camila's "I'll try," or a special message which counters your own worries. Then make one for a friend.


- check out the "Questions for Discussion" and "Recommended Reading" at the end of the book.


- pair this with What Do You do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom and Captain Starfish by Davina Bell, illustrated by Allison Colpoys.


If you missed the interview of Patrice Barton on Monday, find it (here).


This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

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Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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