The best picture books on how to live courageously

Who am I?

Ever since I can remember, I have observed people. I was curious about why people are the way they are, and why do some people have fulfilling lives while others don’t. Something I have learned over the years is meaningful actions require courage first. This world certainly needs people who will live courageously in their day-to-day lives by being authentic, speaking up, being kind, lending a hand, and becoming the best versions of ourselves. When we set the example, it gives others hope that they can also be courageous. I hope you choose to live courageously!


I wrote...

The Little Shot: Courage

By Tasha Eizinger, Miranda Meeks (illustrator),

Book cover of The Little Shot: Courage

What is my book about?

Little Shot is a star with a nearly impossible dream! She wants to become a Big Shot, a shooting star, to give hope to the people below. Initially, she experiences both ridicule from her peers, who don’t share her vision, and setbacks when she seemingly fails at first. However, with her mentor's guidance and a courageous spirit, she perseveres until she achieves her big dream.

The books I picked & why

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The Magical Yet

By Angela DiTerlizzi, Lorena Alvarez (illustrator),

Book cover of The Magical Yet

Why this book?

We talk a lot about our word choices and mindset in my home. When my older daughter was learning something new, she would say, “I can’t do this!” We talked about how she was learning, and she’s capable of learning. Her kindergarten teacher then taught my daughter “you don’t know how… yet!” Yet is a power-packed word because it radiates hope which leads to courageous action. This book exemplifies the power of yet so well that I had to share with you. The ending sweetly reminds us that our yet goes with us.

The Magical Yet

By Angela DiTerlizzi, Lorena Alvarez (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Magical Yet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A rollicking, rhyming, and inspirational picture book for fans of Oh, the Places You'll Go! andevery child who is frustrated by what they can't do...YET!

Each of us, from the day we're born, is accompanied by a special companion—the Yet. Can't tie your shoes? Yet! Can't ride a bike? Yet! Can't play the bassoon? Don't worry, Yet is there to help you out.

The Magical Yet is the perfect tool for parents and educators to turn a negative into a positive when helping children cope with the inevitable difficult learning moments we all face. Whether a child or an adult,…


A Little SPOT of Courage: A Story About Being Brave

By Diane Alber,

Book cover of A Little SPOT of Courage: A Story About Being Brave

Why this book?

I like the practical, straightforward explanations of courage in this book! Kids can realize ways they are already courageous and expand on them. 

The courage cards throughout the story remind me of something I did during a low point in my life. I wrote down examples to prove to myself that I am enough.

Writing down what we have done well helps connect our thoughts and our heart. I believe it helps boost our self-esteem when we have practical examples of things we have done well. You could do courage cards like the story or any type of card that boosts your morale.

A Little SPOT of Courage: A Story About Being Brave

By Diane Alber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Little SPOT of Courage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What is courage? You might think of super hero when you hear COURAGE, but all of us can do small and big acts of COURAGE everyday! A Little SPOT of Courage will show you some ways you can grow your COURAGE SPOT From trying out for a basketball team to helping someone when they are being treated unkind too much more!


Back of the Bus

By Aaron Reynolds, Floyd Cooper (illustrator),

Book cover of Back of the Bus

Why this book?

My daughter and I read this book together which started a conversation about Rosa Parks, racism, and courage. We liked reading from a child’s perspective because it evoked deeper emotions and made it more relatable to my daughter. The ending beautifully articulated how our courage gives others hope that they can also be courageous. 

Back of the Bus

By Aaron Reynolds, Floyd Cooper (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Back of the Bus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It seems like any other winter day in Montgomery, Alabama. Mama and child are riding where they're supposed to--way in the back of the bus. The boy passes the time by watching his marble roll up and down the aisle with the motion of the bus, until from way up front a big commotion breaks out. He can't see what's going on, but he can see the policeman arrive outside and he can see Mama's chin grow strong. "There you go, Rosa Parks," she says, "stirrin' up a nest of hornets. Tomorrow all this'll be forgot." But they both know…


I Am Courage: A Book of Resilience

By Susan Verde, Peter H. Reynolds (illustrator),

Book cover of I Am Courage: A Book of Resilience

Why this book?

It is powerful to take “I can’t” and turn it into “I can.” There are so many things we all can’t do because of a lack of resources, skills, time, or desire. But, if we focus on what we can do, we can still make progress. Even as an adult, I love reading picture books like this as a gentle reminder to keep going, keep trying, and keep living courageously. 

I Am Courage: A Book of Resilience

By Susan Verde, Peter H. Reynolds (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Am Courage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Encourage kids to find their inner strength with this companion to the New York Times bestsellers I Am Human and I Am Love!

I move ahead one breath at a time.
I act with bravery.
I am courage.

When we picture someone brave, we might think they're fearless but real courage comes from feeling scared and facing what challenges us anyway. When our minds tell us "I can't," we can look inside ourselves and find the strength to say, "Yes, I CAN!"

From the New York Times bestselling team behind the I Am series comes a triumphant celebration of everyday…


The Lion Inside

By Rachel Bright, Jim Field (illustrator),

Book cover of The Lion Inside

Why this book?

My 18-month-old and I read this together. She loved saying “roar” whenever she saw the lion. Of course, she made me smile, but I also loved that she was hearing the message. She isn’t old enough to understand it yet, but my older daughter got it. We all have the mouse and the lion inside and that’s okay! Courage isn’t loud and bold; often, it’s found in the small moments. 

The Lion Inside

By Rachel Bright, Jim Field (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lion Inside as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A bestselling story about confidence, self-esteem, and a shy little mouse who sets out on a journey to find his roar.

In a dry dusty place where the sand sparkled gold, stood a mighty flat rock, all craggy and old. And under that rock in a tinyful house, lived the littlest, quietest, meekest brown mouse.

Fed up of being ignored by the other animals, Mouse wishes he could roar like Lion. But, as he discovers, even the biggest, bossiest people are scared sometimes ... and even the smallest creatures can have the heart of a lion!

A modern classic, The…


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Interested in self esteem, courage, and learning?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about self esteem, courage, and learning.

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