I Am Courage: A Book of Resilience by Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds

I Am Courage: A Book of Resilience

Susan Verde, Author

Peter H. Reynolds, Illustrator

Abrams Books for Young Readers, Fiction, Sep. 7 2021

Suitable for ages: 4-8

Themes: Courage, Challenges, Resilience

Opening: “When there are challenges in front of me, when I feel unstable, like I might fall…and I think about turning back or giving up.”

Book Jacket Synopsis:

When we picture someone brave we might think they’re fearless, but real courage comes from feelings 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 courage: Believing in ourselves, speaking out, trying new things, asking for help, and getting back up no matter how many times we may fall.

Grounded in mindfulness and awareness, I Am Courage is an empowering reminder that we can conquer anything.

Why I love I Am Courage:

Susan Verde’s beautiful prose and timely message is empowering for young children who may be a little anxious about trying something new, but bravely push through their fear and try anyway. In doing so, they build courage and resilience. Readers will see themselves in the main character, who rides his bike through a scary forest, crosses a bridge and takes a few tumbles along the way.  He gets up and faces his challenges, even more determined to succeed. He’s not afraid to ask for support and he’s there to help and encourage others. 

Reynolds’s engaging illustrations are rendered in ink and watercolor and set the mood for the  story. I have really enjoyed their collaborative I Am Series. The series really helps children discover and use the important tools within themselves that will last a lifetime. Follow Verde  and Reynolds  online at their websites.

Resources:  Make sure you check out the Author’s Note and extensive backmatter, which includes special yoga poses and breathing and mindfulness techniques to help readers feel confident.  

Susan Verde is the bestselling author of I Am Yoga, I Am Peace, I Am Human, I Am Love, I Am One, and The Museum, all illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, as well as Rock ‘n’ Roll Soul, illustrated by Matthew Cordell. She teaches yoga and mindfulness to children and lives with her three children in East Hampton, New York.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Reviewed from a library copy.

 

The Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob: Into the Lead

Blue Olbrys.ITL.CVR.08-10-15.LRThe Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob: Into the Lead

Brooks Olbrys, Author

Kevin Keele, Illustrator

Children’s Success Unlimited LLC, Fiction, Apr. 19, 2016

Suitable for Ages: 6-10, Early Chapter Book

Themes: Ocean Journey, Marine Life, Environment, Nature, Facing Fears and Challenges, Setting Goals, Making Friends

Award: Academic’s Choice Smart Book Award

Opening: “On a beautiful isle in the Sea of Kerchoo, / there lived a small boy with a big job to do. / Blue Ocean Bob worked for Mary Marine. / He protected the sea life and kept the shore clean.”

Synopsis: One morning while Blue Ocean Bob is tying his boat to the dock, a jolt knocks him off his feet. An earthquake makes a deep crack in the ocean floor and creates an oil spill that endangers the marine life of Kerchoo. With the help of Marine Mary and Doc, the wise sea turtle, Bob faces a big challenge that requires him to temper his fear and dive with Mary to repair the damage. When they return he learns from Wallace Walrus that a great white shark has been beached because of the quake. With the help of his island friends they float the shark back into the sea.

Marine Mary puts Bob in charge while she travels to another island to aid with a problem.  Bob faces another challenge when some dolphins get caught in a net and he relies upon his sea friends to help with the rescue. The Island Council is pleased with Bob’s work, but Bob’s feels overwhelmed and realizes he needs some extra help. He finds an assistant in a Molly, who he meets at the shore.

Blue Ocean Bob photoB17Photo compliments of Brooks Olbrys

Why I like this book:

  • This is the third book in Brooks Olbrys’ The Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob series. Olbrys has created a delightful and engaging sea adventure about Bob, a boy on a journey to pursue his dream of becoming a marine biologist and protecting the sea life and the ocean environment. Bob is an excellent role model for children.
  • The book is written in rhyme and is nicely paced. It is clever storytelling that will engage younger children who aren’t able to read alone. The plot is strong and packed with action. Each of the five chapters brings a new challenge for Bob. He learns to face his fear, develop a positive attitude, be courageous, and thoughtfully plan his missions. As he succeeds he becomes more self-confident and takes on more responsibility. Older readers will be drawn to Bob’s passion and enjoy the visit to the Sea of Kerchoo.
  • The characters are endearing, quirky, believable and faithful friends. Bob seeks advice from his mentor, Mary Marine, Doc, the wise sea turtle, Wallace the walrus, and Al the free-spirited dolphin. Xena is Bob’s lovable sidekick, always warning Bob about danger and adding some comic relief.
  • Readers interested in oceanography, marine life and protecting the environment, may want to check out the first two books in the series, The Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob: A Journey Begins and The Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob: A Challenging Job.
  • Kevin Keele’s rich and breathtaking illustrations of the marine life and Sea of Kerchoo fill every page and bring each chapter to life. Make sure you check out the end pages to view a map of the Island of Roses. The collaboration is a perfect marriage of art and text.

Resources: Parents and teachers can download a free Activity Guide on the Blue Ocean Bob website. You can also download iPhone and iPad apps. Endangered Species Day was celebrated May 20. Check out the National Marine Life Center where children can learn more about rehabilitation, adoption of rescued sea turtles and seals, and what they should do if they find stranded marine life.

Brooks Olbrys: Inspired by his son, Olbrys created this unique marine life series to share timeless achievement principles with children.  His over-arching theme is that “a positive attitude can help one overcome what at first may appear to be insurmountable obstacles.