The Brave Knight is here to help children realize the power of their own voice.
As a parent, it can be hard to find the right way to broach certain subjects with your children. There is a line carefully walked between educating and frightening, making them aware while maintaining their childhood innocence. But when it comes to the tough subject of body safety, West Virginia author Diane Tarantini brings you the perfect conversation starter in a child-friendly form.
The Brave Knight is an impactful, essential piece of children’s literature as well as a resource guide to walk parents through the conversation it sparks. Readers follow a young girl and her friendship with a dragon that resides in her village, until she realizes their “friendship” isn’t what it should be. Feeling small under the power of the great dragon, the young girl seeks help from the Brave Knight, who helps her find her voice and realize her own power.
The nuances of body safety and awareness are captured elegantly in both the narrative and the illustrations. Hauntingly beautiful sketches by Jessie Haring, another native West Virignian, bring the story to life with small details that make it that much more poignant. There is a sense of unease emanating from the pages, something that has you holding on as the book reaches its eye-catching turn. Even under the guise of a fantasy world filled with knights and dragons, we are meant to feel uneasy about the events transpiring, empowering not only children but adults to trust their gut when it comes to certain signs.
When the pandemic struck in 2020, the Morgantown-based women’s and teens’ nonprofit organization Libera was unable to continue its work of visiting schools to work with the very students who needed them most. LovePacks, bags filled with emotional and mental health resources and supplies for at-risk students, became the solution. The Brave Knight was one of the materials shared in those packs that provided important resources to 7,000 children in West Virginia.
“A child will experience the book one of two ways,” Tarantini says. “They either recognize that the dragon is a bad friend or recognize the thing the dragon is doing is happening to them.” With vital resources such as safety plan templates and a variety of useful telephone numbers, Tarantini helps parents and children alike feel educated, prepared, and brave like both the knight and the young girl, ready to help protect both themselves and others.
Tarantini will be speaking at Monongalia County Child Advocacy Center’s Girls’ Night Out at Tropics Restaurant and Bar as the keynote speaker on Friday, May 20. You can order a copy of The Brave Knight on Amazon or through Tarantini’s website.