Home of the Brave – book review

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Home of the Brave
by Katherine Applegate
Novel in Verse
Realistic Fiction
Tween (grades 4-8)
* * * * Stars (Great!)

Kek is young boy who comes to America from a refugee camp in Africa to stay with relatives. His father and older brother were shot by men who came to their village. He ran when they came, and was separated from his mother. Now he doesn’t where she is or if she even survived, and the not knowing makes him anxious and sad. America is very different from his home and Kek has to learn about all of the ways it is different as well as a new language (English). Despite all of the sorrows and challenges he faces, Kek is generally optimistic about his life. He is especially joyful when he arranges for himself and his older cousin, Ganwar, to do farm work for an elderly woman. Kek notices she has a sad cow and offers to help out – cattle are something he knows and misses from home. When he learns that his employer will soon have to sell her farm and the cow will lose her home, Kek is even more heartbroken. What can he do to make things better and survive in this terrible and confusing place? Spare and lovely, sad and hopeful.

Reviewed by YA Librarian