7 Books on Bravery for Babies & Toddlers

by Miranda Rosbach

Photo credit: FatCamera, E+ Collection/Getty Images

Raising brave and confident children isn’t as difficult as you might imagine. Starting the minute they are born, babies have an innate sense of exploration — from learning to move their bodies to the wonder of studying sidewalk creatures and navigating first encounters with other children at the playground. Bravery is built into the core of human babies. Giving children space to move, learn, and explore heightens their ability to make brave choices, while allowing them to confide in a trusted adult about fears of the unknown — makes facing those difficulties easier. These seven books showcase a variety of ways real-life people, pets, and characters demonstrate bravery in everyday life.

  • I am Brave

    by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos

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    Dreams are the adventures of the mind. Each dream, when fostered with great books and love of family, can grow. Follow the brave example of Martin Luther King Jr.,who fought for and led the civil rights movement. Part of a series of brilliant board books for teaching children about influential individuals throughout history.

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  • I Look Up To... Malala Yousafzai

    by Anna Membrino, illustrated by Fatti Burke

    Malala is a girl who loves learning and isn’t afraid to ask questions. She does what she knows is right, even when she is afraid. When Malala sees something that is unfair, she lets the world know and she takes action to create a more just society. Malala uses her voice to bravely show the world a better way. This age-appropriate nonfiction series is ideal for babies and toddlers.

  • Kermit the Brave

    by Eric Shaw, illustrated by Character Building Studio

    When Kermit and his friends hear a noise in the closet, they lurk into the darkness to investigate. However, Kermit is afraid of the dark but doesn’t want his friends to know. As Kermit fumbles his way through the unknown, he bumps into a dragon named Dot. Dot is also afraid of the dark. Together, the two new friends confront their fear and feel happy to have someone who understands them.

  • The Nice Book

    by David Ezra Stein

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    Anthropomorphized animals take center stage in this classic board book about manners and kindness. We read this book repeatedly when my youngest was a one-year-old, in an effort to reinforce the brave choice to treat others with respect and kindness. Our favorite line from the book is: “When you get in a snit, don’t hit.” This book is ideal for young children who don’t have all the words to express their emotions yet.

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  • Mr. Brave

    by Roger Hargreaves

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    Mr. Brave is on his way to tea at Little Miss Bossy’s house when he encounters Mr. Messy in the river. Being the brave friend that he is, Mr. Brave rescues Mr. Messy from his soggy adventure. Soon, he spots Miss Somersault walking on her tightrope and he gives it a whirl. In one moment of panic, Mr. Brave demonstrates a fear and he is worried that his friends will question his bravery. In the end, however, Mr. Brave’s truthfulness helps him live up to his name. A classic from my own childhood.

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  • The Brave Little Puppy

    by Lori Evert, illustrated by Per Breiehagen

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    When Anja goes for a sled ride with her puppy Birki, the little dog is soon lost amid a wintery landscape. Birki then asks a polar bear, wolf, and squirrel for help as he looks for his lost girl. Finally, a lynx gets Birki closer to Anja, but Birki must bravely continue his journey until he is safe in Anja’s arms again.

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  • Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave

    by Jessica Hische

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    This gorgeous, affirming collection of quotes is one that fosters a growth mindset in children. Each page, lavishly rendered in expressive typography, reminds readers that bravery comes through daily intention and action. This beautiful book is also ideal for gift giving.

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