Home of the Brave


When the Flying boat returns to earth at last, I open my eyes and gaze out the round window. What’s all the white? I whisper. Where is all the world.”

-first sentence from Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate

From Amazon: Kek comes from Africa where he lived with his mother, father, and brother. But only he and his mother have survived. Now she's missing, and Kek has been sent to a new home. In America, he sees snow for the first time, and feels its sting. He wonders if the people in this new place will be like the winter―cold and unkind. But slowly he makes friends: a girl in foster care, an old woman with a rundown farm, and a sweet, sad cow that reminds Kek of home. As he waits for word of his mother's fate, Kek weathers the tough Minnesota winter by finding warmth in his new friendships, strength in his memories, and belief in his new country.

You know a book is special when find yourself continually stopping to record the words you have just read so you can sit with them a little longer and read them again some day. While most kids won’t have that urge, I believe this is a book they will love and remember.

Written as a novel in verse, Home of the Brave is easy to start and easy to finish. Following along with Kek as he journeys to America for the first time is truly a great adventure. Whether it is running a washing machine or going to the grocery store, Kek’s wonder at all he encounters will give you a fresh perspective and remind you how lucky we are.

One of my favorite scenes comes after Kek walks into a grocery store for the first time. Overwhelmed, he can’t prevent the tears and has to leave. Later as he processes the experience he says,

“I don’t know what to do with it all,”

I say.

I kick at a chair leg.

To have all this food and all these books

and all this freedom.

I feel sort of…

I don’t know the word.

Too lucky.”

This is the story of new experiences, new (and unlikely) friendships and holding on to hope.

Funny, sometimes sad, and always optimistic this book is really special. I dare you to not fall in love with Kek and root for him as you read along.

If your child:

They should consider adding Home of the Brave to their TBR.

Have you read Home of the Brave? If so, what did you think?

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