Courageous Lucy by Paul Russell
Lucy worries about everything. She’s so skilled at worrying that she worries about things no one else even thinks about - like running into the end of a rainbow, or how she might forget the Queen's name.
When a school musical is announced, Lucy wants to be part of it but is scared to try out. However, her teacher finds a part especially for her. Lucy stands proud and tall to be the best tree she can, even as her knees knock and her tummy ties in knots. Lucy’s bravery will show children everywhere that it’s okay to be worried, and they can still embrace opportunities.
Author Paul Russell was inspired by his own daughter and his own experience to write the story of Lucy. As such, it's a story that is instantly relatable to anyone who has ever felt nervous about the unknown.
Russell doesn't ignore anxiety in children nor offer a hollow suggestion of 'just be brave'. Instead, the book focuses on small steps and how important they are.
Illustrator Cara King adds whimsy and humour with her soft watercolour illustrations. There's a gorgeous double spread of children lined up for swimming lessons that my children spent a long time poring over. The illustration featuring aliens would be a wonderful example to use in an art class, with the salt crystals used to create detail and texture still present.
In fact, the entire book would be a wonderful addition to a classroom for many reasons. Not only will the story connect with children, the book can be used as a basis for many lessons - from drama to art, to literacy and science. EK Books offers teacher notes for anyone to access, and parents may find them useful to consider when broaching what can be a tricky topic such as anxiety.
Courageous Lucy is a gentle story that will allow children to see how small actions can help them through everyday worries.
Reviewed by: Rebekah Lyell EK Books, RRP $24.99