5 Stories to Inspire Courage Through the New Year

Belonging. Friendship. Kindness. Confidence. Curiosity. Hope.

These are six of the seven strengths that our partners at LitWorld emphasize as necessary ingredients for a healthy and satisfying life. The last of these, which acts as a foundation for the others, is:


As Maya Angelou once said, “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without it, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” This is because courage is the cornerstone of life experience. It forces us to step beyond our comfort zones and approach the unfamiliar. It is the source of our drive, and what allows us to overcome our fears.

While courage is something we foster within ourselves, it may certainly be gleaned from a number of sources, such as books. The stories we read inspire real-world courage as we accompany our favorite characters through their trials and hardships. As they embrace challenge and rise to the occasion, we find the strength to do the same.

The Story Shares library is home to several such stories. Our books are filled with characters who exemplify bravery in the face of adversity, who embrace change, and who remain true to themselves when that is exceedingly difficult to do. We’ve compiled five of these stories for you below. It’s our hope that you’ll find yourself in these characters, and that you will take away whatever it may be that will help you continue moving forward in your life.

1. Keeping Time

This heartbreaking tale follows seven strangers as they are thrust into a dangerous and unpredictable scenario. In this midst of hunger, fear, and constant fighting, a lone boy with a pocket watch manages to keep hope alive. His show of courage will beg readers to search within themselves to find what’s truly important in life.

2. The Sailor's Tale

What begins as a frightening mystery fast transforms into a story of understanding and courage. Two young siblings and their unlikely accomplices bind together to confront their fears and bring peace to that which haunts them.

3. Arachnids

In this fun and unusual story told from alternating points of view, a girl and a spider work to overcome their terror of one another. A moment of courage is all it takes to bridge the gap between seemingly opposite worlds, and readers will learn the value of considering a new perspective.

4. The World Inside a School

High school can be a trying enough time without the additional burden of a strict and unyielding social hierarchy, but this one has been in place since any of the students can remember. Based on the medieval caste system, there are rules dictating where each student should sit, whom they should associate themselves with, and how they ought to regard the school’s “royalty.” These rules are followed to the letter, with no one having the courage to question them or suggest a new hierarchy. That is, until Arthur arrives.

5. Lorelei and the White Mare

Courage shows its face in many ways throughout this story. In the face of loss and tremendous life changes, Lorelei feels more uncertain than ever before. She knows she needs to move forward, but at the same time, she finds herself clinging desperately to the way things used to be. Realizing her struggle, a team of mismatched allies comes to her rescue to be the strength she needs until she finds it in herself.  

This blog post is part of the 7 Strengths Blog Series created by Story Shares and LitWorld, two organizations who are coming together to spread joy and hope through literacy.

You can read the other posts in this series here:

Stories Make Us Strong

6 Inspiring Stories About Confidence for the New School Year

5 Stories to Inspire Hope This Holiday Season

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