Books that Overcome Fear

Hannah Duck by Anji Yamamura

“Every Sunday, Hannah Duck leaves her house and goes for a walk in the park, reporting back to her parakeet and turtle friend whom she left behind. One day she confesses that she finds her Sunday walk very scary, so the parakeet joins her and something scary turns into a very grand time indeed. A cute, short story about the strength and courage we can find with simply bringing a friend along to help us not be so afraid. A perfect little lesson for elementary school. ...” from KissTheBook.

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Kevin Takes a Trip by Liesbet Slegers

“… The paper-over-board books star a forthright fellow depicted in thick black line and pleasingly smudgy brushstrokes of rainbow colors. “”I’m Kevin. I’m on my way. I have my suitcase and my grandma,”” he announces as he boards an airplane in Kevin Takes a Trip. When he gets scared, his grandmother comforts him. …. “ From Publishers Weekly

“Kevin is taking a trip with his grandma, but it is no ordinary trip. Kevin has to take a plane to his destination and though a plane may seem scary, he quickly realizes it is fun too. Kevin finds his way through the lines and into his very own seat where he looks forward to his flight.

Grab this book if your toddler is about to take his first airplane ride. A little boy named Kevin takes his first airplane ride with his grandmother and finds out just how fun flying can be. Step-by-step Kevin briefly explains that he has to wait in line and sit on the plane. As the plane goes up Kevin gets a funny feeling in his stomach, but eventually it goes away and he even gets a snack from the nice airplane lady. Take a quick trip with Kevin as this basic narrative is given to help calm the apprehension that may arise before taking a flight on the plane. In fact, bringing the book on the plane is a great idea as well. The pictures are simple but colourful and it makes for a quick, but effective story about taking a ride on an airplane.” From Kaboose

Purchase it here.

Marc Just Couldn’t Sleep by Gabriela Keselman

Earned the Children’s Book Sense Pick

Earned the Hospital Saint Joan de Deu Prize Winner

Earned the Learning Magazine Teacher’s Choice Award

Earned the USBBY Outstanding International Booklist

Marc can’t sleep. He’s scared, and he worries about big things and small things. Each time he tells his mother a worry, she comes up with imaginative, playful ways to try to soothe him and get him to sleep. But even after she’s found a solution for each of his worries, he’s still scared. Exasperated, his mother comes in, takes away all the things she gave him as solutions, and sits with him, touching his hair, and encourages him to tell her all his fears–but by then, Marc is tired enough that he falls asleep. Imagination can help–but sometimes we just need physical comfort and having someone sit with us and listen, to go to sleep. This is a sweet, imaginative bedtime story.

Keselman makes it easy to identify with Marc–we hear immediately that he’s scared. Anyone who worries a lot, or who has a strong imagination, will understand Marc’s worrying and fear all the more. Some of Marc’s worries are universal–afraid of falling out of bed–and some are much more specific and imaginative–such as being afraid a giant mosquito will fly in and bite him. This movement between common fears and outrageous, imaginative ones helps bring variation, makes the fears entertaining, and may help some readers know that they are not alone in their worries and fears.

Marc’s mother shows great ingenuity and imagination in her solutions for Marc’s fears, and this brings a lightness and comforting feeling to the book. It may also encourage readers to come up with their own imaginative solutions. But the thing that soothed Marc the most was his mother sitting down next to him, touching his hair, and encouraging him to tell her everything. This rings true; talking out fears, having someone listen to you, and getting safe physical comfort can help allay fears. Marc’s mother also uses various endearments throughout the book (little one, honey, my love, darling) which all add to the sense of comfort.

The imaginative solutions have a playfulness to them, and a magical thinking that will appeal to young readers, especially, and the young at heart–a buzz-repellent teddy bear when he’s afraid a giant mosquito will bite him; a parachute when he’s afraid of falling out of bed; and a pair of glasses with glow-in-the-dark lenses when he’s afraid the moon will go out. The solutions are gentle, perfect for nighttime and for encouraging dreaming and flights of imagination.

Keselman creates a nice echo with the opening and closing paragraphs which brings us full circle, the words slightly changed to reflect the change in the story, from Marc not being able to sleep, to Marc not being able to stay awake. Keselman also uses repetition before each solution “Don’t worry, honey/love/darling, I’ll fix that, you’ll soon fall asleep” with slight variations in the endearments and way of saying he’ll fall asleep. This repetition is pleasing, comes to be expected in the text, and yet is not tedious or boring, because of the slight variations. The text flows well and smoothly.

Villamuza’s illustrations use the same tone that Keselman does in the text, bringing a feeling of comfort and sweetness, as well as a playfulness and gentle humor (such as a strainer being used for a helmet). Soft earthy tones are used and echoed throughout the illustrations, such as the clay-orange colander that Marc wears on his head, which is also found in his mother’s sweater.

Villamuza’s illustrations have long, lovely curves, found especially in Marc’s mom and the furniture, and there are no extraneous details in the illustrations. Marc is almost always the center of attention through close-ups that feature him. Large eyes, a sweet button nose, generous lips, and beautiful curvy hair make Marc look sweet, as does his pajamas and body language. Charcoal shading over top color brings a sense of light and shadow, and also movement.

Villamuza adds to the story by visually suggesting the great inventiveness and resourcefulness of Marc’s mother in using things around the house in an imaginative way to help him feel safer, such as a metal cooking spoon for a sword. A lot of white space is used in a number of the illustrations, bringing a feeling of lightness, with illustrations using full color mixed in, bringing visual variation. Villamuza has a great sense of design, using wallpaper that rises halfway up the wall to make Marc even more of a visual focus point.
This is a gentle, imaginative, and ultimately soothing book, both in the illustrations and text. Recommended!” From Cheryl Rainfield

Purchase it here.

Sebastian’s Roller Skates by Joan de Déu Prats

Earned the Children’s Book Sense Pick

Earned the Hospital Saint Joan de Deu Prize Winner

Earned the Learning Magazine Teacher’s Choice Award

Earned the USBBY Outstanding International Booklist

“In this story about the power of self-confidence, Sebastian is a reserved boy to the point of stifling shyness. He lives with his thoughts, unable to express himself to others, though full of fascinating ideas. When an abandoned pair of roller skates piques his interest, he tires to learn to skate with a quiet determination. An impromptu rescue of a runaway dog proves the impetus he needs to use his new skills on skates – instilling him with confidence and unleashing his self-restraint. Sebastian’s triumph provides inspiration for timid readers to seek out their own strengths.” from Kirkus Reviews

Purchase it here.

Sosu’s Call by Meshack Asare

“Sosu is a young boy who has not seen the world outside the fence of his family’s small hut for many years.  “Most of the things Sosu knows about the village are from the days when he was small enough to be carried on his mother’s back… when everyone wished for him to stand up on his legs and walk.  But that did not happen.”  Though his father taught him how to mend fishing nets, and his brother and sister have taught him how to read and write, the villagers believe Sosu is bad luck and should not leave his family’s home.  Housebound with only the family dog, Fusa, to keep him company, Sosu spends his days doing what he can and envying everyone, even Fusa, who is free to come and go.  “What use is a boy without a pair of good, strong legs?” he thinks to himself.

Then one day, everything changes.  The narrow strip of land between the sea and the lagoon where Sosu’s village sits is threatened by rising waters while most of the villagers are away.  The only other people in the village are too old or too young or too weak to do anything.  They could all be trapped and drowned!  Sosu has to use his wits and all his physical capabilities to save the village and earn the respect of his neighbors. He proves to everyone that a boy without good, strong legs can be not only useful but a lucky person to have in a village!

First published in Ghana in 1997, this inspiring and at times heart-rending story is a worthy recipient of the numerous awards it has received, the most prestigious being First Prize in the UNESCO Children’s & Youth’s Literature in the Service of Tolerance Award in 1999.  It is listed as one of Africa’s 100 Best Books of the 20th Century and an IBBY Outstanding Book for Young People with Disabilities.  It has also been featured on Reading Rainbow and is the recipient of an ASA Children’s Africana Book Award.

The illustrious Ghanaian Meshack Asare, who has been winning international awards for his picture books since before many of today’s parents were born, combines his talents and education in art, educational psychology, and social anthropology to give readers a well-conceived story that will touch the hearts of people from many backgrounds.  This beautifully illustrated book featuring a protagonist who refuses to be defined by his disability reminds us of the value in every person and all that can be lost if we fail to recognize it.” from Paper Tigers

Purchase it here.

The Scaredy Cat by Russell Punter

Scroll down to see similar books .

  • The humorous story of Stanley the scaredy cat told with elements of repetition to help beginner readers develop confidence and reading stamina.

  • Stanley is a cat who’s scared of everything, so a dark house full of strange noises is the last place he wants to be. But Stanley must face his fears to save the day.

· Part of the Usborne Reading Program

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Usborne Books and Kane Miller Books are the best children’s books for infant, toddler, up to young adult. Also, includes parent’s guides. If you value the education system, teach them early. Read to them and talk to them in regular conversation as early as after birth. A parent raising a reader is the first teacher. Check the book reviews, the sales, the job opportunities for extra income from a home business. I am an education consultant who can help you, your school, library, or teacher find the best books to get a message across. Children who learn in bits and pieces retain more information and learn things easier. Learning can be fun and reading is educational.  All found at our store . Schools and libraries can call to set up an account and order. 

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