What can we learn from Sheila Rae?

Sheila Rae wasn’t afraid of anything.

That’s the first line of Sheila Rae, the Brave written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes. “Hey everyone,” I said, “Isn’t this just like some of you? No fears at all?” (This came out in our discussion yesterday) We decided to read and find out just how brave Sheila Rae really is.

Well, the dark didn’t spook her. Neither did thunderstorms, principals or closets supposedly full of monsters. She approached life brandishing her bravery. She rode her bicycle no handed. She walked backwards with her eyes closed. She bared her teeth at stray cats. Fearless and determined to show it! When her little sister Louise marvelled at her decision to walk home from school a new way (“You’re too brave for me.”),  Sheila Rae called her a scaredy-cat.

But when Sheila Rae suddenly finds herself lost, her bravado melts away. She sits on a rock and wails. Louise pops down out of a tree where she has been secretly spying and carefully leads Sheila Rae back home.

Phew! Home is in sight!

Sheila Rae is thrilled to get home and turns to her sister.

“Louise, you are brave. You are fearless.”

“We both are,” said Louise.

Our class talked about what Sheila Rae learned in this gem of a story. Some pretty thoughtful responses were volunteered.

  • It’s okay to be brave but you don’t have to be mean
  • Everybody can be brave
  • Everybody has some fears.
  • Brave people sometimes aren’t.

Stay tuned for more stories on this theme as we try to figure out just what it means to be courageous.

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