We all have fears in life. Some people may be scared of flying, swimming, or simply sending their kids to school. However real or disillusioned fears may be, they are real to us. We can be told “not to worry,” “everything will be fine,” but, in the end, our fears remain. Children are no different. And nighttime fears can be a struggle for many parents and children. In my home, we discovered this reality with both of our children simultaneously.
Night after night, I found myself in either my daughter’s room or my son’s room, sometimes both. Often, several times throughout the night. I wasn’t sleeping. They weren’t sleeping. And worst of all, my little children were scared. No parent wants to see and feel this. Some nights I would be calm, laying with them until they were at peace and almost asleep again. But no matter how much time I spent holding them in their beds, it always ended the same way… them not wanting me ever to leave their side. Eventually, this grew old. My patience and sleep-deprived body had enough, and the calm me began to feel angry when my sweet and terrified children would wake me up. I began snapping, raising my voice, and continuously using phrases like “there is nothing to be afraid of,” “just go to sleep,” and finally, “don’t call me in here again!” Nothing was working.
I knew their fears were real. At least to them. Telling them not to be afraid was completely meaningless, coddling them didn’t help, and playing bad cop certainly had no positive results as well. So I turned to children’s books, a true specialty of mine.
As a retired teacher of ten years, I had read all sorts of books. During my teaching days, I knew how to “thumb through” a book within a matter of seconds to find the literary value. How was the character development? Plot? Theme? Rhythm, if it was poetry? Vocabulary? And so much more. There are many excellent children’s books available. Conversely, there are also too many terrible children’s books. I needed a good one. A great one. One that not only affirmed that fears could and are real but also reminded children - mine especially - that they are safe, loved, and can be BRAVE even when facing fears in the middle of the night. I soon discovered that finding the right book would be harder than expected. No matter how much I searched, all I found were books that drove home the idea that there are monsters. There wasn’t anything on the shelves that reinforced how children may feel, but also carried the theme of victory over their fears.
I had a minor in business and a BA in Advertising, and a master’s in education. Finally, I concluded that I had the perfect book all along. The characters were living in my home. One was crazy loud, boisterous, rambunctious, and loving, while the other always had her brother’s side, was creative, and wild. I knew the book’s premise and what I wanted to teach, and I also knew I had the background skills necessary to self-publish this book on my own.
BRAVE became the title of the book I wrote for my children. I wanted something short to read before bed because long bedtime stories can be rough when you’re “over” the nighttime routine. I wanted something appropriate for kids ages two to seven. And I wanted something that had a great vocabulary, colorful characters, and a beautiful theme of love and strength amidst fears.
My book was published several months later, and guess what? It worked! Not only for my children but for children all over the country who encountered issues at night. The best part about BRAVE is that it is a book for all children. It is a book that simply reminds kids, whether they have nighttime fears or not, that they are safe, they are loved, and they are BRAVE.
Life can be scary. And being brave when facing scary things is difficult. Learning how to manage our fears and understand that we are the ones who have power over them is a lesson that may take our whole lives to learn. All we can do is equip ourselves and our family with the emotional tools to face life and remember that we are in control in the end.
BRAVE can be purchased on Amazon by searching “BRAVE, by Kathleen Davis” and locally at Landmark Booksellers, Brilliant Sky Toys and Barnes and Nobles. You can also follow Kathleen and her family’s adventures throughout Franklin and the Nashville area on Instagram @kathleendavisbooks and Facebook @bravethebook.kd