cover image Three Ways to Be Brave: A Trio of Stories

Three Ways to Be Brave: A Trio of Stories

Karla Clark, illus. by Jeff Östberg. Rise x Penguin Workshop, $19.99 (80p) ISBN 978-0-593-22242-3

Striking, stylish spreads by debut illustrator Östberg supply heft and drama for three stories in simplistic rhyming couplets by Clark (You Be Daddy). In the first, a Black child in space pajamas dashes to their parents’ room when a thunderstorm approaches, then changes tacks when a younger sister cries: “Tearful sob/ turn the knob.// Baby sis/ Hug and kiss.” Östberg drafts with silkscreen-like contours in nighttime blues and lavenders splashed with a bright pink-orange. In the second tale, a Black child who’s nervous about the first day at school (“Nervous belly,/ Toast with jelly”) finds fun and makes a new friend: “Time for art: / Decorate hearts.// One for me/ And one for Bree!” In the third, a white child melts down at the doctor’s when it’s time for a shot (“Scream and hit/ And throw a fit”) until the nurse demonstrates how to use mental imagery to sail through an injection. In straightforward language and saturated, unlined digital art, each story offers an object lesson on the way that occupying a mind with other concerns can drive fear away. Ages 3–5. [em](Aug.) [/em]