Home of the Brave

( 9 )

Overview

Kek comes from Africa. In America, he sees snow for the first time, and feels its sting. He's never walked on ice, and he fallls. He wonders if the people in this new place will be like the winter--cold and unkind.

In Africa, Kek lived with his mother, father, and brother. But only he and his mother have survived, and now she's missing. Kek is on his own. Slowly, he makes friends: a girl who is in foster care, an old woman who owns a rundown farm, and a cow whose name means ...

See more details below
Paperback (STRIPPABLE)
$7.99
BN.com price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (22) from $1.99   
  • New (12) from $4.47   
  • Used (10) from $1.99   
Note: Kids' Club Eligible. See More Details.
Sending request ...

Overview

Kek comes from Africa. In America, he sees snow for the first time, and feels its sting. He's never walked on ice, and he fallls. He wonders if the people in this new place will be like the winter--cold and unkind.

In Africa, Kek lived with his mother, father, and brother. But only he and his mother have survived, and now she's missing. Kek is on his own. Slowly, he makes friends: a girl who is in foster care, an old woman who owns a rundown farm, and a cow whose name means "family" in his native language. As Kek awaits word of his mother's fate, he weathers the tough Minnesota winter by finding warmth in his new friendships, strength in his memories, and belief in his new country.

Bestselling author Katherine Applegate presents a beautifully wrought novel about an immigrant's journey from hardship to hope.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In her first stand-alone book, Applegate (the Animorphs series) effectively uses free verse to capture a Sudanese refugee's impressions of America and his slow adjustment. After witnessing the murders of his father and brother, then getting separated from his mother in an African camp, Kek alone believes that his mother has somehow survived. The boy has traveled by "flying boat" to Minnesota in winter to live with relatives who fled earlier. An onslaught of new sensations greets Kek ("This cold is like claws on my skin," he laments), and ordinary sights unexpectedly fill him with longing (a lone cow in a field reminds him of his father's herd; when he looks in his aunt's face, "I see my mother's eyes/ looking back at me"). Prefaced by an African proverb, each section of the book marks a stage in the narrator's assimilation, eloquently conveying how his initial confusion fades as survival skills improve and friendships take root. Kek endures a mixture of failures (he uses the clothes washer to clean dishes) and victories (he lands his first paying job), but one thing remains constant: his ardent desire to learn his mother's fate. Precise, highly accessible language evokes a wide range of emotions and simultaneously tells an initiation story. A memorable inside view of an outsider. Ages 10-14. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA - Chris Carlson
Kek's brother and father are killed in the Sudan, and he is separated from his mother. A refugee group finds Kek a new life in Minneapolis with his aunt and teenaged cousin. Although Kek finds the culture, economics, and climate of America vastly different from Africa, he makes friends and assimilates easily. He gets a job taking care of a cow because it makes him feel closer to his homeland where his father raised cattle. When the woman who owns the animal is forced to sell her farm, Kek's inventiveness saves the cow from being destroyed, demonstrating his abounding ability to find the positive in hardship. This beautiful story of hope and resilience is written in free verse, a device that allows the author unlimited capacity to use colorful language and literary devices to compare the unfamiliar with the familiar, the positive with the negative. The result is an almost lyrical story of a young African boy who manages to remain upbeat despite the hardships and horror that he has witnessed and despite being thrust into an environment in sharp contrast to what he knows. Kek's voice is particularly strong as he models the difficulties experienced by a new immigrant. This book would make a great read-aloud as well as a discussion starter on the reasons why people choose to immigrate or how they might feel in a strange land. The book highlights the importance of attitude to success, a life lesson worth repeating as well.
Children's Literature
Kek’s life in Sudan is destroyed when his family is attacked. His father and brother are killed, and he becomes separated from his mother. He is sent to join his aunt’s family in Minnesota, where he is encouraged to be grateful for his new home, but Kek does not feel at home. His loss overwhelms him, as does his new, strange environment. He now shares a home with the cousin he so admired back in Sudan, but his cousin’s life has been shifted so dramatically he now seems as lost as Kek. The new country offers beauties and harshness, as do the people who surround Kek. He recognizes hope in an elderly widow’s cow that reminds him of his father’s herds and strives to make meaning in his life as he cares for the cow and its owner, but when her farm must be sold, how can Kek save the cow and himself? The author provides a lyrical journey for her readers as they experience, with Kek, the struggle of re-making an identity and the amazing resilience of hope. Readers older than the stated age range would surely enjoy such a beautiful story. Reviewer: Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger
From the Publisher
“American culture, the Minnesota climate, and personal identity are examined in this moving first-person novel written in free verse . . . Kek is both a representative of all immigrants and a character in his own right . . . Kek will be instantly recognizable to immigrants, but he is also well worth meeting by readers living in homogeneous communities.”—School Library Journal, starred review

“In her first stand-alone book, Applegate (the Animorphs series) effectively uses free verse to capture a Sudanese refugee's impressions of America and his slow adjustment . . . Prefaced by an African proverb, each section of the book marks a stage in the narrator's assimilation, eloquently conveying how his initial confusion fades as survival skills improve and friendships take root . . . Precise, highly accessible language evokes a wide range of emotions and simultaneously tells an initiation story. A memorable inside view of an outsider.”—Publishers Weekly

“This beautiful story of hope and resilience . . . is an almost lyrical story . . . Kek’s voice is particularly strong as he models the difficulties experienced by a new immigrant . . . The book highlights the importance of attitude to success, a life lesson worth repeating as well.”—VOYA

“The boy’s first-person narrative is immediately accessible. Like Hanna Jansen’s Over a Thousand Hills I Walk with You, the focus on one child gets behind those news images of streaming refugees far away.”—Booklist

“. . . [Kek] relates the process of adjusting to his new life in poignant and lyrical free verse, a stylistic choice that helps set the tone of a character who of necessity thinks in images when he can't find the words to carry him from his old language to his new language . . . Kek’s observations about the weirdness of American culture and customs will be familiar to immigrants and will cause non-immigrants to see everyday patterns and material possessions in a new light; the evocative spareness of the verse narrative will appeal to poetry lovers as well as reluctant readers and ESL students.”—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (BCCB)

“. . . beautifully written in free verse . . . a thought-provoking book about a topic sure to evoke the empathy of readers.”—KLIATT

“In an immediate, first-person voice, we get a detailed, emotional glimpse into Kek’s adjustment to America and its ways. With exact and accessible language—as well as many evocative metaphors, as Kek tries to acclimate to his new life . . . —Applegate gives young readers a compelling account of life as an outsider in America.”—Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast (blog)

“Kek’s experience is not simply that of an immigrant boy looking to be brave in a new situation. He teaches much, of course, of the things challenging a person recently introduced to a place and culture. He also teaches about preserving the valuable parts of one’s own history and culture. But most important, his universal longing to be part of a family, to display bravery and courage, to be accepted, make him just like any young person. His poignant story communicates the shared longings of all young people.”—Children’s Literature Network

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312535636
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 12/23/2008
  • Edition description: STRIPPABLE
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 307
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 7.63 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Katherine Applegate is the author of several best-selling young adult series, including Animorphs and Roscoe Riley Rules. Home of the Brave, her first standalone novel, received the SCBWI 2008 Golden Kite Award for Best Fiction and the Bank Street 2008 Josette Frank Award. “In Kek’s story, I hope readers will see the neighbor child with a strange accent, the new kid in class from some faraway land, the child in odd clothes who doesn’t belong,” she says. “I hope they will see themselves.” She lives with her family in Irvine, California.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Snow

When the flying boat

returns to earth at last,

I open my eyes

and gaze out the round window.

What is all the white? I whisper.

Where is all the world?

The helping man greets me

and there are many lines and questions

and pieces of paper.

At last I follow him outside.

We call that snow, he says.

Isn't it beautiful?

Do you like the cold?

I want to say

No, this cold is like claws on my skin!

I look around me.

Dead grass pokes through

the unkind blanket of white.

Everywhere the snow

sparkles with light

hard as high sun.

I close my eyes.

I try out my new English words:

How can you live

in this place called America?

It burns your eyes!

The man gives me a fat shirt

and soft things like hands.

Coat, he says. Gloves.

He smiles. You'll get used to it, Kek.

I am a tall boy,

like all my people.

My arms stick out of the coat

like lonely trees.

My fingers cannot make

the gloves work.

I shake my head.

I say, This America is hard work.

His laughter makes little clouds.

Read More Show Less

Recipe

Kek comes from Africa.

In America, he sees the snow for the first time, and feels its sting. He’s never walked on ice, and he falls. He wonders if the people in this new place will be like the winter—cold and unkind.

            In Africa, Kek lived with his mother, father, and brother. But only he and his mother have survived, and now she’s missing. Kek is on his own. Slowly, he makes friends: a girl who is in foster care, and old woman who owns a rundown farm, and a cow whose name means “family” in his native language. As Kek awaits word of his mother’s fate, he weathers the tough Minnesota winter by finding warmth in his few friendships, strength in his memories, and belief in his new country.

            Bestselling author Katherine Applegate presents a beautifully wrought novel about an immigrant’s journey from hardship to hope.

 

Katherine Applegate is the author of several bestselling series, including Animorphs, as well as The Buffalo Storm, a picture book.

            Home of the Brave is Katherine Applegate’s first stand-alone novel. “In Kek’s story, I hope readers will see the neighbor child with a strange accent, the new kid in class from some faraway land, the child in odd clothes who doesn’t belong,” she says. “I hope they see themselves.”

            Ms. Applegate lives with her family in North Carolina.

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

In this novel, told in free verse, an eleven year old African boy who has seen more than he should have seen and known great loss and sadness, opens our eyes to the horrors of war. Through his perceptions we also get a fresh view of our own county and ourselves, and we are prompted to ask questions and come to conclusions.

The combination of young Kek’s innocence, the poetry of the telling, and the emotional impact of the story itself, compels readers to respond powerfully to the book, to the issues it raises, and to the telling itself.

You’ll find many Literature, Language Arts, and Social Studies lessons in the novel – and many opportunities for discussion.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2012

    Like this author.

    I enjoyed this book very much

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    Highly recommended!

    I got this book on the recommendation of a co-worker (who is a 6th grade teacher) and I wasn't sure I was going to love it. But I COULD NOT put it down after reading the first paragraph. It was an honest story about the life of an African child trying to adapt to a new and foreign life in the US. It was a definite window to others perspectives and as well as an engaging story. The characters were easy to like and root for. A must read for anyone who interacts with people outside of their family (EVERYONE!)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Powerful

    I think that Home of the Brave was a great book.After every chapter it keep making me want to read more nad more.My favorite part was the end. Home of the Brave made me have tons of questions!Befor reading,during reading,and after reading.It's one of my favorite books!I wouldn't recomed it that much for classrooms because it says something about a war that involvels blood and killing. Other than that I think that it was a wonderful story! The aouther is brilliant!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 20, 2009

    Review for Home of the Brave

    This is a great book. Kek comes from Sudan to live with his aunt in Minnesota after he saw his brother and father killed. He tries to help out around the house but makes mistakes and finally gets a job caring for a cow that reminds him of the herd's his father had. He goes to school and finds much diversity and racism. Very good book for 5th or 6th graders.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 16, 2009

    An Unforgettable Story

    Moving to a new country has its challenges, especially when you have to learn a new language, and even more challenging when you are leaving your loved ones behind. This is the story of Kek, from Sudan, who comes to the USA to start life all over and with the hope to find his mom. Kek's story, struggle, and optimistic view of life, despite of it all will win your heart.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2008

    Kek is a compelling character

    I agree! Kek is a compelling character: alone, hurt, and guarded, and yet humorous and powerful. I used this book in a middle school classroom to study the complicated character of a human boy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2008

    A reviewer

    I can't believe I only happened across this book and still haven't seen recommendations or promotions. After reading this book myself, I used it as a read aloud in my fifth grade classroom. Not only was it an excellent example of good writing, it provided thought provoking topics for discussion.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)