Brave Like Mom – Monica Acker and Paran Kim

Brave Like Mom by Monica Acker, Paran Kim
Also by this author: The Magnificent Names of Jesus: Prayers and Praises to Love Him More
Published by Beaming Books on November 1, 2022
Genres: Children's, Children's Educational
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As one girl watches her mom battle illness, she sees Mom being strong, brave, and fierce on both good days and bad ones. Mom is fierce as she catches and wrestles a fish and brave as she endures needles from the doctor. The girl wants to be brave like Mom! As she worries about her mom's health, the girl realizes that bravery comes in many forms and that she can be brave too.
A poignant and sensitive story about a loved one living with a chronic illness, and an important lesson about how being brave doesn't mean you aren't scared.

Brave Like Mom is a personal, heartfelt tribute to mothers facing serious acute or chronic diseases who embody strength amid continual and sometimes failing battles. The author, Monica Acker, mentions in the afterword that her inspiration for the book was her sister-in-law, who passed away after battling cancer in January of 2020. The book’s illustrations definitely lend itself toward a portrayal of cancer, but as the book never explicitly specifies, it opens itself up to be applied in the context of any number of debilitating and chronic diseases.

It’s scary for young children to see their parents as anything else than perfect and think of them as potentially not being around. It’s scary for adults. Brave Like Mom interprets fighting against illness not as a weakness but a strength, showing it alongside other mom-like feats of strength. As such, it helps young children think of their mom not only through the lens of her sickness, but through the lens of her whole being. This is one of those books you hate to need, but when it’s needed it’s can be very helpful.

The story’s pacing is very intentional, its wording very deliberate. Acker holds a Master’s degree in childhood education and that expertise shows through the book as its weaves through things humorous and serious, sweet and bittersweet. Paran Kim’s illustrations are lifelike more than cartoonish, lending the book a feel of “realness,” grounding it in reality. It’s a sweet, sorrowful story of both overcoming and loss.