Benjamin the Brave

A Story About Anxiety

Children - General
36 Pages
Reviewed on 02/14/2018
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite

Benjamin the Brave: A Story About Anxiety is a children’s picture book, written and illustrated by Ameshia Arthur. Benjamin is a 7-year-old boy like so many others in that he is intelligent, confident and has many fun hobbies. Sometimes, however, Benjamin gets scared and cannot calm down. When told everything is fine, it does not help and his mind works overtime, thinking of the worse possible outcomes. Small troubles seem far bigger than they actually are, such as the upcoming dental appointment Benjamin has. No matter how he foresees the appointment, Benjamin always pictures the worst case scenario. While in a state of panic, Benjamin is puzzled as a paper airplane blows into view with a poem about confidence, strength and courage, just like a superhero. Benjamin uses the poem to help him get through his fear of the dentist appointment when it eventually arrives.

I was positively enchanted by young Benjamin – such a brave young boy who faces an incredibly scary obstacle. As a sufferer of Agoraphobia with Panic Disorder, I am unfortunately all too familiar with panic attacks which creep up on you, whether sporadic or due to a particularly unpleasant upcoming event. Ameshia Arthur’s tale of a young boy whose fears seem to take control of him is so beautifully illustrated. As one of the Indigenous peoples of Australia, I find it so refreshing to see the walls of race and color torn down, while looking at the pages of Benjamin’s story – all of which feature a Black family in this remarkable tale. Distraction is always a great way to beat the monster known as Anxiety, and Benjamin’s ability to immerse himself in the poem which he had read just one day earlier certainly did the trick. I very much enjoyed Benjamin the Brave: A Story About Anxiety and feel it would do well stocked in libraries in schools, medical facilities and in home libraries, so that it can be read to young children when they feel overwhelmed by events in their lives which leave them in a state of panic.