Sometimes We Were Brave – Perfect Picture Book

Sometimes We Were Brave

Pat Brisson, Author

France Brassard, Illustrator

Boyds Mills Press, Fiction, 2010

Suitable for:  Ages 4 and up

Themes:  Separations, Military Families, Bravery, Courage

Opening/Synopsis:  “My mom is a sailor.  She works on a big ship.  When her ship is in home port, she comes home every night…When her ship goes to sea, she goes, too.  She’s gone for a long time.  Mom hugs me hard before she goes…She says, “Be brave, Jerome.  I’ll be back as soon as I can.”  Dad does his best to care for Jerome and his dog Duffy, but it’s just not the same with Mom gone.  Jerome doesn’t feel very brave.  But, Jerome has Duffy to share his experiences.  Sometimes there are surprises.  Sometimes they both have accidents.  Sometimes they’re afraid during storms.  Sometimes they both get ice cream cones.  Sometimes they both have bad days.  And, they both learn about bravery in an unusual way.

Why I like this book:  Pat Brisson has written a very sensitive story about a military mother who serves in the Navy.  She creates a  skillful and realistic portrayal of what separation means.  Jerome’s loss isn’t glossed over, problems are faced head on, and the family makes the adjustments needed with hope, love and courage.  Brassard’s  illustrations are warm, gentle and covey the right amount of emotion for the story.  This is also an excellent book to use in the classroom with students.

Activities:   A special thank you to Barbara Gruener who recommended this book to me.  Check out her review.  Every year she reads this book to her students, and then has her students do projects for the military at school.  You can learn about what her students have done.  There are many classroom activities that support our troops, including writing postcards, e-mailing messages, sending care packages and cell phone cards.   It you have a military child in you classroom, invite the parent to visit and talk to students.  Support our Troops  also has a very complete list of organizations that sponsor activities.

To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.  Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays  badge in the right sidebar.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

47 thoughts on “Sometimes We Were Brave – Perfect Picture Book

  1. Thanks for sharing this important title! Just this morning I got an email from the wife of a deployed soldier saying his Team got our 8 boxes and I quote, “It’s like Christmas!” Seriously, we can NEVER do enough to support these brave men, women, and children.


  2. This sounds like a great resource for the classroom like you said. Thanks for sharing this Patricia 🙂


  3. I’m so glad to be adding this to our list, Pat. We don’t have enough books for children of military families. This one looks wonderful, and I love the ideas for activities. Thanks so much for sharing!


  4. This sounds excellent. I so appreciate that the child struggles with being brave, and doesn’t always succeed. That will encourage real kids so much more than if the child in the book coped perfectly at all times. Thank you for sharing!


  5. Thank you Pat for your review and including the link to Barbara’s “Character Counts” website. My children’s school holds a character assembly every month, and I think the teachers would appreciate knowing about thise resources!


  6. We need more books like this one, Pat, with so many moms (and dads) in the military these days and being deployed for long stretches of time…how difficult for young kids :(. Thank you for a wonderful choice and a great review and also for the link to Barbara’s site! 🙂


  7. Another great selection. I ran into a Viet Nam vet today. Broke my heart the stories he shared about how he was treated when he returned home from service. Now, he’s in a military town, but worries about how soldiers and families are doing so many deployments. It’s tough. Tough.


    • Stacy, glad you liked the selection. Thanks for sharing your discussion with a Vietnam Vet. Hope you like the remainder of my posts for the month. They are focused on loss and PTSD and wonderful programs to help. Too many vets serving 3-4 tours returning with serious adjustment issues. That’s how we lost out grandson.!


    • Niamh, thanks. My focus is on the kids right now. But, the remainder of my posts will be dealing with loss, PTSD and veterans and the many programs available. Have some interesting information to share.


  8. You always pick such poignant books. I feel like crying just from the review. It seems like a real winner. Something that needs discussion when read to a kid. A book that describes the reality of a military mother and her son. Perhaps it can be read before any separation, like hospitalization or just going to camp.

    Thanks for introducing us to another strong book and author. 🙂


  9. It does sound like a sweet and beautiful picture book. Will definitely check this one out. I am loving your theme for the month and getting to know such diverse books in the process. 🙂


  10. What a wonderful perspective. ‘Sometimes we were brave’ encapsulates the military experience so well, and is beautifully stated. Such a nice way to recognize the special relationship which exists within military families, and actually all families that endure unusual stress for many reasons. Thank you, Pat Brisson for sharing your insights in a way sure to help all children, not only military.

    Way to go, Barbara Gruener! I’ll bet kids love you and the great activities! Soldiers love receiving ‘holiday’ cards because those are days not usually celebrated such as ‘Mother’s Day’ or ‘Valentine’s Day’ – Halloween was the best. Costumes and candy for the troops make their day, and they get a big kick out of dressing up!

    Wonderful selection, Pat. Thanks for a lovely review.


    • Thank you for such lovely comments. Barbara suggested this book. I like Pat Brisson’s style of writing. This book will definitely help kids. Actually any child facing a separation from a parent. Thank you for commenting.


  11. We just got the most BEAUTIFUL thank you note from a Texas soldier who’s stationed in Northern Afghanistan. He said that his platoon kept repeating, “Five Boxes!” but that they were even MORE excited by the kids’ notes and artwork. They sent a picture of the letters posted in their hangar as a reminder of the generosity of the future generation. Imagine, them thanking us. Humbling! I’m glad that you all like this book as much as we do!!


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