THE BRAVEST HEARTS Empowering Our Friends –paperback


The Bravest Hearts is another darling children’s picture book by Jayne Sbarboro and illustrated by Wendy Leach.  The teacher in the classroom, Miss Work  teaches children positive ways  to practice bravery.  In a math lesson the children learn about making a pan balance equal and Ze realizes this can apply to people.  Justus, who represents ‘just us’ –those of us who are going to stand up to injustice– leads the way as the class realizes they can interrupt bullying behavior  before it makes its mark on a child.


The Bravest Hearts is the sequel to The Truest Heart: A Story to Share to Overcome Bullying.  In brief, when we consider ways to redress the problems of bullying, our actions should be two-fold: 

First: Triage the target.  In the storyline of The Truest Heart, Miss Work builds up young Ze’s heart by helping Ze recognize her strengths.  Ze learns the process and helps another student through it.  We have seen pictures and heard stories from around the country about the positive ripple effect with kids using this story.  It received a positive Kirkus review and is available in libraries.

Second: We teach other kids how to help. Bullying behavior is purposely done when adults are not around to stop it.  This is why we strive to teach the bystanders to take an active stand. Children who witness bullying behavior are uncomfortable. They don’t agree with the behavior, and yet they often don’t know what to do.  The storyline of The Bravest Hearts models positive ways for children to practice bravery and help each other.   The intention is to interrupt bullying behavior  before it makes its mark on a child.

     The Bravest Hearts is based on the author’s personal experience as a principal, underpinned by principles set forth in Olweus Bullyproofing — a successful curriculum developed in Norway which works by empowering bystanders to stand up to bullying behavior.