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Reviewed by Kristine Zimmerman for Readers' Favorite
In Brave in the Water by Stephanie Wildman, we meet Diante, a young boy who is afraid to put his face in the water. We also meet his patient and loving Grandma. She watches as Diante hangs upside down on the monkey bars and shares that she is too afraid to be upside down. There is a move in yoga called the peacock, which she would like to try, but you must balance on your hands and elbows. Diante wants to try the move, so together they practice some slow breathing to get ready. Diante succeeds at the peacock move, his grandmother conquers her fears and tries the move as well. Then Diante applies the same slow breathing technique to conquer his fear of the water with success.
Swimming is a fun summer activity and an important skill that all kids should learn. Brave in the Water addresses a common swimming fear in a new and empowering way. By using the yoga practice of slowing down and paying attention to your breath, Diante can maintain some control when he goes into the pool. Jenni Feidler-Aquilar’s illustrations depict a loving grandson and grandma. Feidler-Aquilar has included peacocks and peacock motifs throughout the illustrations, which kids will love pointing out. Stephanie Wildman has written a powerful story that will be appreciated by parents who have kids that struggle with a fear of water. She also might inspire some kids to practice the peacock pose too. Brave in the Water is a perfect holiday read.