Children's & Young Adult Books

Bravery at all ages: ‘How Brave Can I Be?’ by Byll & Beth Stephen

I wonder if any parent out there can read this picture book by the Stephen sisters, (aka the Teeny Tiny Stevies) and not feel a little wistful?

As each double page spread charts a child’s growth and passage through their world, readers also catch glimpses of the emotions of mum and dad as they witness their daughter’s growing independence.

There’s love, and pride, and satisfaction, of course – with a little nostalgia in the mix:

Darling, I’ve been feeling wistful lately.
I’m so proud of you, but I feel sad
that you don’t need me.
Can you stay where I can watch from the side?
I won’t get in the way,
I’ll just be thinking ’bout how time flies…

…One day soon I’ll take the leap
and let go of that
tight grasp I keep.
I’ll move away and say,
‘I’m OK, I’ve got this, I’ll show you how brave I can be.’
Cause I had you to teach me.

How Brave Can I Be

The lovely thing about the illustrations by Simon Howe is that readers always know which character’s thoughts we are hearing, (mum, dad, or daughter) because the individual is highlighted in the picture. It’s a clever technique which underlines the contextual understanding of the words and pictures together.

A lovely, lovely book, How Brave Can I Be? was published by HarperCollins Children’s Books with ABC Books in May 2023.
My thanks for a review copy.

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