Tomorrow will see the release of the new children’s book Star Wars: The High Republic – Jedi Brave In Every Way from Disney Books and Lucasfilm Publishing, and below are my thoughts on this release.
Jedi Brave In Every Way was written by the very young new author Rosemary Soule along with her father– regular Star Wars publishing contributor Charles Soule (Star Wars: The High Republic – Light of the Jedi), both of whom took the stage this past April at Star Wars Celebration in London to promote the book. As the title suggests, it takes place during the High Republic era, which is set hundreds of years prior to the events of the original Star Wars trilogy. More specifically, this kids’ release takes place during Phase I of The High Republic, when the Starlight Beacon space station was still intact and serving as a headquarters for the Republic and the Jedi Order in the Outer Rim.
The story sees Grand Master Yoda surprised to find a trio of Jedi Younglings– not the ones from the Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures animated TV series, though that is indeed set during the same era– afraid to face their future as Padawans and eventual Jedi Knights. Yoda’s solution to this problem is to bring in the Wookiee Burryaga, who relates to them in regards to being afraid. We get flashbacks to Burry’s time growing up on the forest planet of Kasyyyk, and his fear of climbing trees, which he soon learns to overcome thanks to the help of his family. Then it’s time for Yoda, Burryaga, and the three Younglings to take a trip around the galaxy to explore the ways in which fear affects the Jedi and how best to confront it. This narrative fits in with The High Republic’s overall theme of fear in a way that younger kids will understand and be able to process without actually scaring them too much– there are no Nameless creatures stalking the Jedi in these pages.
The group planet-hops to the worlds of Geonosis, Mon Cala, Elphrona, and Utapau as each Youngling addresses a specific fear and Yoda walks them through the best ways to deal with them. And though these are all imaginary locations being visited by fictional characters, the ideas at play are quite applicable to the real world as children begin to grow up. Illustrator Valerie Valdivia (I’ve Never Heard a Dog Go Woof and Other Poems) does a wonderfully colorful job of bringing the story to life, while the Soule father-daughter pair of authors bring their own unique perspectives to the material. I could easily see this being a child’s first Star Wars book, as it introduces some of the basic ideas of what it means to be a Jedi, not to mention much of the iconography with which long-time fans of the franchise will already be familiar. There are great lessons to be learned here, and what better way to learn them than through Master Yoda and a giant, friendly Wookiee companion?
Star Wars: The High Republic – Jedi Brave In Every Way will be released tomorrow, Tuesday October 10th, wherever books are sold, but is available for pre-order right now.