When You’re Scared

When You’re Scared by Andrée Poulin is a story about a young boy overcoming his fears while out with his mother on a camping trip. As a single parent, I love the image presented of a boy and his mother doing outdoor activities. 

The illustrations by Veronique Joffre are simple, yet eye-catching. Holding the reader’s attention throughout. The text is basic, therefore the illustrations really do drive the majority of the story. 

This story is a perfect add on for lessons about overcoming fears. 


About When You’re Scared

It’s a bright and beautiful day at the lake where a boy and his mother are camping. The boy is just a little scared of jumping into the water. At the same time, not too far away, a hungry bear cub is a little scared of diving deep into a dumpster, where tasty snacks await.

Later, when the boy encounters a distraught mama bear sniffing around the dumpster, he’s very scared. But so is her bear cub, who is trapped inside! Bold, graphic artwork moves the narrative along in this mostly-wordless book full of sound effects and simple variations on a single phrase full of so many meanings (“He was scared”). Parallel stories of the mother and son, and mama and cub, come together when the campers, despite being scared, help rescue the cub from the dumpster.

This simple, moving story invites readers to observe expressions, body language, and details are hidden in the illustrations to follow the narrative. It’s a sweet summer read that normalizes fear and encourages acting with courage and compassion—even when you’re scared.

Don’t forget to pin When You’re Scared for later!


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