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On Being Brave And Kind in Hische’s Lettering Art Picturebooks

What does it mean to be brave and kind?

Myra here.

This July to September, we are doing a book-series marathon.

typorama 13

We are featuring books that fit the following deliberately-nebulous criteria:

  1. Books that are part of an ongoing series
  2. Themed stories: books that are technically not part of a series, but fit a specific theme – e.g. intergenerational stories, nature-themed stories
  3. Short story collections
  4. Narratives of a similar genre 
  5. Stories written by same author

Last Monday, I shared stories about Joy, Hope, and LoveI thought I better follow it through with Jessica Hische’s series of books on being brave and kind.

Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written and Illustrated by Jessica Hische
Published by Penguin Workshop (2018)
ISBN: 9781524787011 (ISBN10: 1524787019) Borrowed from Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

I was drawn to Jessica Hische’s series of picturebooks on being brave and kind mainly due to the typography and design. I do acknowledge, though, that its strength on lettering art could also be its weakness, with some of the words too intricately or elaborately designed that it may not be easily comprehensible especially to young readers.

That observation being said, I like how Hische operationalizes being “brave” across key concepts that will make it easier for children to understand. For most young people, “brave” is an abstract concept, but here Hische breaks it down to being: adventurous, strong, smart (see image below), curious, creative, confident.

I like how each description is accompanied by concrete behaviours that children can do quite easily, leading to a sense of empowerment. There is also the recognition that being brave is not always easy, but having a parent around helps.

I normally do not gravitate towards self-help, inspirational books for children, but there is just something so earnest in this book series by Jessica Hische that I cannot ignore. Hopefully the message of being brave finds you too, with calligraphic art.

Tomorrow I’ll Be Kind [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written and Illustrated by Jessica Hische
Published by Penguin Workshop (2020)
ISBN: 9781524787042 (ISBN10: 1524787043) Borrowed from Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

Published just last year, I felt that this was a book most young people needed to hear, especially after being stuck at home for a long time because of the pandemic.

This time kindness is operationalized once again using concepts that young readers will find easy to grasp: there is being helpful, patient, gentle, honest, generous, and grateful.

It isn’t some far-reaching ideal that young people will find difficult to achieve; but the simple, little, everyday things that people can do to show that they care.

There is a coherence to Jessica Hische’s narratives that is comforting, from beginning to end. While I personally would have preferred actual children as protagonists in these stories rather than furry long-eared creatures, I still think the message would resonate with so many children (and parents, too), especially during these uncertain times.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

1 comment on “On Being Brave And Kind in Hische’s Lettering Art Picturebooks

  1. Pingback: [Saturday Reads] On Being Brave While Being Small In The City – Gathering Books

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