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What if the Cowardly Lion took a leap of faith? A story of courage, determination, and a dash of friendship.
Courage is something that comes from your heart. But if you can't find it there, you can wear it on your head at first.
Mae is a girl.
Bear is a bear.
But over the course of one life-changing, slightly nerve-racking train ride, they find out that this might be the only thing they don't have in common.
Kate Hoefler's signature lyricism and Jessixa Bagley's sweetly wry art combine for a gently whimsical, people (and bear) pleaser of a story about the fear of being different, the ways we overcome this fear, and the fact that often what's different is a lot more familiar than we might think. With courage, determination, and a dash of friendship, Mae and Bear discover all the humor, warmth, and beauty found in togetherness and in the unknown.
IMPORTANT THEMES: This sweet, moving story about new experiences is just right for kids facing the first day of school or a big move, but it's also more broadly about the importance of courage, trying things that scare you, making new friends, the beauty and importance of diversity, and dealing with the feeling of being an outsider.
TEACHES KINDNESS AND EMPATHY: This book emphasizes the importance of kindness, courage, empathy, and friendship. It's a perfect classroom or library read-aloud, as kids will be excited to share their own experiences of trying new things and discussing things that scare them.
BE BRAVE: It's all too common for kids to feel like outsiders at school, at camp, or anywhere else. This book shows it's okay to be different—and that trying new things is worth it, even when they seem scary or unfamiliar.
SWEET ILLUSTRATIONS: Fall in love with these adorable characters, portrayed with humor and sweetness by illustrator Jessixa Bagley!
• Parents and caregivers
• Teachers and librarians
• Anyone looking for an empathy read
• Kids moving to new schools or houses
• Parents encouraging kids to be brave in the face of new experiences
• Fans of unlikely friendship stories
About the Author
Kate Hoefler received her MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan, where she studied as a Colby Fellow. She is the author of Rabbit and The Motorbike, Real Cowboys, and Great Big Things. She lives in a quiet village in Ohio where she can hear the distant sounds of the highway.
Jessixa Bagley grew up in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon, where she developed a love of hamburgers, drawing, and anthropomorphic food. Her books have won the SCBWI Golden Kite Award, multiple Junior Library Guild selections, and an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor, among many other awards. She lives in Seattle, Washington.
“The narrative tells their story from a distant, knowing vantage point, creating a philosophical atmosphere. . . . The soft graphite and watercolor illustrations effectively use perspective and point of view to develop tension and meaning . . . While visually capturing the thrill of travel, this warm story pays tribute to bravery, new experiences, and special connections.”—The Horn Book Magazine