Books by Theme

Being Brave

Being brave is hard. But it's also empowering! The imaginative, encouraging, and sometimes humorous stories in this book list can help young children learn to acknowledge and conquer their fears. These books are great for reading together and talking about.

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss


By: Star Livingstone, Molly Bang
Illustrated by: Molly Bang
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Harley is loner who just can't seem to getalong with the other llamas. But a shepherd who needs to protect his flock from coyotes sees something else inHarley. Harley not only befriends the sheep, he becomes a loveable animal hero in this short but informative and captivating book.

How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning

By: Rosalyn Schanzer
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Benjamin Franklin was amazing. He was a musician, aprinter, a cartoonist, a shopkeeper, an inventor andmore. He figured out how to solve many problems – including how to steal lightening from the sky toprevent it from starting fires in Colonial towns. Conversational text and lighthearted illustrationsintroduce this early American hero to a new generation.


By: Bob Graham
Illustrated by: Bob Graham
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The son of superhero parents, Max is frustrated when even his cape and encouragement from his parents aren't enough to help him learn to fly. But everything changes on the day he saves ababy bird and discovers that he, too, is a hero. Gently lined and colored illustrations depict slightlyfrumpy, appealing, characters in this engaging andencouraging tale.

Minnie and Moo and the Musk of Zorro

By: Denys Cazet
Illustrated by: Denys Cazet
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Bovine buddies Minnie and Moo are inspired afterreading about Zorro. Moo decides that there are justnot enough heroes and so she and her friend don disguises to become Juanita del Zorro del Moo andDelores del Zorro del Minnie. The heroic team set off to save thechickens and the farmer, providing lots of laughsalong the way. Young readers will enjoythis installment of the humorous series about twoloveable, laughable, and valiant cows.

New York's Bravest

By: Mary Pope Osborne, Steve Johnson
Illustrated by: Steve Johnson
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

When others ran from trouble, eight foot tall Mose Humphreys ran toward it as an extraordinary New York City firefighter. This larger-than-life story is actually a tall tale, an urban legend based on a real firefighter who lived in the 1840s. Text and illustration combine to create a fast-paced celebration of heroism and the man who earned the gratitude of an entire city.

Sumo Mouse

By: David Wisniewski
Illustrated by: David Wisniewski
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The “chubby champion” of the title is brightlycolored, larger than life and very heroic! In fact,“If Mount Fuji blows its stack, If a monster shouldattack, Don't just hide inside your house! Give acall for Sumo Mouse!" Illustrations of cutout paper,placed in an almost comic book format, move thishumorous parody along.

Talkin' About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman

By: Nikki Grimes, E.B. Lewis
Illustrated by: E.B. Lewis
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

After aviator Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman is lost in a plane crash, those who knew her celebrate her life. Different voices come alive in small portraits and beautifully crafted full-page scenes as individuals tell stories in free verse to present Bessie's unusual and heroic story. A biographical note extends the introduction to this early aviator.

Tasty Baby Belly Buttons

By: Judy Sierra, Meilo So
Illustrated by: Meilo So
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Uriko is small but brave, determined, and smart. In fact, she saves the town’s children when they are kidnapped by hungry oni, the ogres of Japanese lore whose favorite food is baby belly buttons. This lively retelling of a traditional Japanese folktale reads aloud well and is complemented by the illustrations, which call to mind the tale's Asian origin.

The Adventures of Sparrowboy

By: Brian Pinkney
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Mild-mannered paperboy Henry collides with a sparrow and turns into Sparrowboy just like his hero, Falconman – a superhero who not only delivers the paper but also helps out the neighborhood. When Henry returns from his comic-strip fantasy, things seem just a bit better than before.

They Called Her Molly Pitcher

By: Anne Rockwell, Cynthia von Buhler
Illustrated by: Cynthia von Buhler
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

When her husband followed George Washington into battle during the war for independence, Mary "Molly" Hays followed her husband, gaining the name Molly Pitcher by carrying water to the thirsty men on the battlefield. When she took up her wounded husband's position firing the cannon, a legend was born. The illustrations depict sturdy figures and fierce battles in this dramatic account.


By: Robert Blake
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

In 1925, dogsled teams braved a blizzard to carry much-needed diphtheria serum from Anchorage to a besieged Nome, Alaska. One remarkable husky, Togo, covered 350 of the 400 mile journey: this page-turning account dramatizes the exploits of this courageous canine.

Proceeds from the sale of books purchased at help support the Reading Rockets project. Thank you!

Sign up for our free newsletters about reading

Summer Reading Tips to Go! Delivered to your mobile phone in English or Spanish. Sign up today!

Our Literacy Blogs

Dr. Joanne Meier
Dr. Joanne Meier
February 14, 2014
Start with a Book: Read. Talk. Explore.
"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." — Walt Disney