Braver Than I Thought

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A book review of Braver Than I Thought by Luke Reynolds

A book review of Braver Than I Thought by Luke Reynolds

Stars: ***

Aladdin/Beyond Words (2022)
Tween Nonfiction (* see review for my thoughts on this)
288 pages

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Summary: Magazine spreads and Hollywood hits showcase stars with perfect skin, perfect faces, perfect hair, perfect lives, perfect everything. But what if this absence of scars—the hidden and physical—is really a lie? And what if, underneath all that perfection, something far more powerful and authentic is waiting to be seen, shown, and heard?

In Braver Than I Thought, kids discover the true stories of remarkable people whose scars have been a part of their journey, who have helped them become the world-shakers and game-changers that they are! The engaging and high-interest stories include Black Panther’s Chadwick Boseman, war veteran and now-senator Tammy Duckworth, and beyond-belief rock climber extraordinaire Aron Ralston, who all endured intense trauma that led to pronounced scars, but also helped them forge purposeful identities as they came to peace with their bodies.

Readers will find that whatever the physical, mental, or emotional challenges that we face, it is not the end of a story, but rather the beginning of a new one.

Braver Than I Thought

This is a book of stories of real people with courage. The front cover of the book reads: Real People. Real Courage. Real Hope.

Before I go into how the book itself was I want to comment on the age range it’s recommended for. It’s listed as for ages 8-12 and I wholeheartedly disagree with this. It should be 13+ at least. Why? There are stories that include sexual abuse including incest, violence and mention of sexual trafficking. While I don’t believe in shielding our children from the reality of life completely, that’s too much for an 8 year old. Perhaps an 11 or 12 year old who is mature could handle it but many could not. I do NOT recommend this book for under 12 or conservative families. I DO recommend this book for ages 13+

So how is the book itself? The stories are by really famous people as well as less famous people but they all have one thing in common. The people in the stories were courageous in one way or another. Some didn’t hesitate, while some struggled with courage. Some had physical danger coming at them, some illness, some emotional struggles.

Each chapter features a new story and starts with the person’s name and a subtitle to their story. Also an artist’s rendition of the courageous person’s face. The author gives an introduction and then tells us about the person’s life and how they were courageous. Since this book is designed for kids/teens it gives a few “defining moments” where a word that might not be understood is explained quickly. A Keeping It Real section helps us learn something from the story.

At the end of each chapter is a small separate section about another person. So you get two stories per chapter technically. After that is the notes section which is basically a bibliography for the chapter.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.