As a child, I was very fearful. I was not brave. Everything was scared me. I was scared of heights, going fast, snakes, mascots, stickers, ink, crossing the street, etc. I did not like taking risks. I liked when things were safe, reliable and not the least bit daring. However, reading gave me a chance to be brave. I learned courage through opening a book. As a kid, reading a book gave me an opportunity to work through my fears. It opened my eyes to the stories of people who had to face real fears; other people’s fears helped minimize my fears in a healthy way.
One of the first books that made me feel brave was Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are. It’s one of my favorite children’s books of all time. In fact, my son dressed up as the main character (Max) for his first Halloween. This delightful classic follows one boy’s active imagination as he ventures far from home and into the land of the Wild Things. But Max isn’t the least bit scared of the Wild Things and their scare tactics. He becomes their king.
The illustrations of Where The Wild Things Are are vivid and deep. And yes, they scared me. But they also enabled me to conquer the land of the Wild Things with Max.
As Max conquered terrible roars and gnashing teeth, I learned what courage looked like. I learned that having an adventure far from home was fun and daring. The unknown was exciting. But I also learned that going home was wonderful, safe and comforting. When I finished Where The Wild Things Are and closed the book, it pushed me forward. It helped me feel brave. I learned how to overcome my fear. To roar terrible roars right back to the Wild Things in my life.
For a long time, I chose Where The Wild Things Are as my gift of choice for birthday gifts. I wanted to pass along courage to the birthday child.
What book helped you feel brave?