Based on Alabama’s Motto
Mama and Papa Black Bear have two little black bears: Courage and Coward.
Whenever bullies come around,
Courage confidently looks at the bullies, keeps his voice calm, and uses the bullies’ names. Courage doesn’t allow bullies to intimidate him because he knows he has faithful family and friends that will help him.
Coward looks away, blurts out a shrill scream, and shrinks back in fear. Coward avoids going anywhere bullies may pop up.
At breakfast Mama serves juicy blackberries, peaches, and pecans.
An army of fire ants arrives and says,
“Give us your blackberries or we’ll bite you!”
Coward shrinks and starts passing blackberries to the ants.
Courage says, “No. Papa, please help. The fire ants are trying to take our breakfast.”
Together Courage, Papa, and Mama chase off the fire ants.
After breakfast, Papa Bear announces:
“Today we are going to the Peanut Festival.”
Courage packs his bag and gets ready.
Coward begs, “I’m afraid. Can I please go to Grandma and Grandpa’s instead?”
“What are you afraid of?” asks Papa Bear.
“Someone might pick on me.”
“We’re family,” says Papa. “We stand up for each other. We help each other. You have nothing to fear.”
“You wouldn’t want to miss the recipe competition or the cake decorating contest,” says Mama. “Let’s go! What fun!”
On the way to the festival, the Bear family passes a family of brown rats.
“Look how fat and black those bears are!” the rats shout.
Coward looks down in shame and hides behind Papa.
Courage responds calmly,
“Why would you say that?”
The brown rats don’t know what to say and slink away.
After a fun day at the Peanut Capital of the World, Mama suggests,
“Tomorrow, let’s drive through Birmingham to Huntsville and visit Earth’s Largest Space Museum!”
Again, Coward begs, “I’m afraid. Can I please go to Grandma and Grandpa’s instead?”
Papa says, “Fear is like a rocking chair; it gets you nowhere.”
Courage encourages, “Let’s go explore Rocket City!”
After standing beneath the world’s only full-stack Space Shuttle and walking the length of a Saturn V moon rocket, Coward sees Alabama’s Motto.
Audemus jura nostra defendere.
We dare defend our rights.
Coward thinks about how bravery made our country great. He decides, “I’m going to face my fears, defend my rights, and protect instead of cower.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Coward sees Collin the Cottonmouth Snake slithering around some frightened squirrels. He confidently calls out,
“Knock it off, Collin! You’re being a big bully!” and to everyone’s surprise Cottonmouth slithers away.
And do you know what? Coward isn’t a coward anymore. He is Mr. Brave and everyone admires and respects him.