SEL Read Aloud: Brave Irene by William Steig

Brave Irene Cover


When Irene’s mother, a dress maker for the dutchess, falls sick the day of the royal ball, little Irene volunteers to deliver her dress to the palace. Before leaving, Irene tends to her sick mother and carefully packages the dress with tissue paper in a large yellow box. There is a winter storm outside, and Irene must walk for hours in strong winds and deep snow, up and down wooded hills, while facing even more physical and mentalal obstacles along the way. Still, she pushes onward, and her bravery is rewarded with a night — and morning — Irene will surely remember.

Discussion Questions

  1. How many distinct challenges did Irene contend with during her journey to the palace?
  2. How do the stakes change over the course of Irene’s journey? Were there times you thought the worst was over, only to discover a bigger challenge for her?
  3. What strategies does Irene use to push on?
  4. Is Irene’s mother brave too? In what ways?
  5. How is bravery rewarded in the book? Is bravery always rewarded in real life?

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Copyright Notice

The image on this page comes from the book Brave Irene by William Steig. Copyright © 1986 by William Steig.