Book Review: Sophie Learns to Be Brave


Book Review: Sophie Learns to Be Brave

About This Resource

Summary Roshi Joan Halifax wrote Sophie Learns to Be Brave about a young girl and her encounters with a dog who teaches her friendship, presence, loss, and bravery. Sophie and the old dog cross paths in the midst of a wild storm. A mantra helps Sophie through her fears and can help readers through theirs.


After reading this story by Joan Halifax to a group of children at the Middle Way School in New York, messages from teachers and parents started coming back…it was creating a profound ripple effect. The story unfolds in a beautiful way that creates the perfect setting for a gem of a mantra to shine: Breathe in, I am safe. Breathe out, I am free. Halifax wrote the book—based on a childhood memory of getting lost in the rain and meeting a dog—during the pandemic when she felt children were suffering the collective fear of the adult world. Halifax says the storm in the story is also about the storms we encounter in our life, the losses that we experience, and the courage and love to show up for what really matters. From a parent: “It has been a challenging year for me. Yesterday in the car ride home from the tea party, my son told me the story he learned at school of the blind girl who regained her sight. And then taught me the meditation from the book. It was a really beautiful moment and spot on in terms of how I am currently approaching a major health obstacle. I just wanted to share how the dharma teachings are offering life skills to these young ones.”

Highly recommended for children ages 4–8.

Sophie Learns to Be Brave

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