December 29, 2009

Book Review: Home of the Brave

Wow.  That's all I can say about this book.  Well, almost all...I've never been a person of few words! ;)  Another Battle of the Books pick, Katherine Applegate's Home of the Brave wasn't the first one to fly off the B.O.B. shelf in my classroom.  Most of the students grabbed for Wednesday Wars, Maximum Ride, or Wait til Helen Comes, and I have to admit I was with them.  This was at the bottom of my list of the B.O.B. "to-read's."  However, having read this amazing book in just a couple hours, it is definitely the BEST youth novel I have read in a long time, and I have read some pretty stellar ones lately! 

Written in a beautiful poetic free verse, Applegate spins a tale of a young Sudanese refugee, Kek, who finds himself suddenly dropped into snowy Minnesota.  Kek's story is one we can all relate to: that of an outsider who is conflicted in every possible way, who doesn't seem to fit in, and who desperately wants to find his place in the world, but who isn't sure what that place is.  As Kek learns both English and these strange American customs, readers will laugh and cry along with him.  From putting a set of dishes into the washing machine to breaking down in tears in the grocery store at the sight of so much plentiful food to rejoicing at the idea of free school in which one can sit at one's own desk and chair, Kek's journey is powerfully moving.  Not only is it one that any young person who has ever felt isolated or misunderstood could relate to, but it has the potential to open students' eyes to ideas they may know very little about: poverty, refugees, civil war, prejudices, etc. etc. etc. 

In short, Applegate's story is beautiful and powerful, and as I finished reading it, I was left with one thought: "I want to share this book with every child I can..."  A quick read and well worth it; definitely 5 stars!!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the very kind words! Your kids might enjoy reading about another class that read Home of the Brave and made a wonderful connection with a Sudanese refugee:

    Katherine Applegate


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