Home of the Brave Book reviews


Author(s): Katherine ApplegateDownload  


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 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; an old woman who owns a rundown farm, and a cow whose name means “family” in Kek’s 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.Home of the Brave is a 2008 Bank Street – Best Children’s Book of the Year.

Some Reviews: 1418 in Goodreads.com

Krista the Krazy Kataloguer

Krista the Krazy Kataloguer rated it      

This is the story of a young Sudanese boy, one of the “Lost Boys,” who comes to the U.S. to live with his aunt and cousin and tries to adjust to life in a new land. Things like snow and American food are new, he barely knows the language, and, above all, he’s anxious that they find his mother in a refugee camp and send her to be with him.

I think anyone reading this book is bound to come away with a new appreciation for the courage it takes to emigrate to a new place, especially after experiencing war and trauma. I don’t think I’ll ever look at the ESL students in our college the same way. They need to be made to feel welcome, and helped to adjust, not laughed at and scorned as some of the students in the school in this book did. We take our freedoms and the abundance of food and other necessities here for granted. This book lets us see all of it through the eyes of someone who had so little. I HIGHLY recommend this book to young and old!


Petra rated it      

A touching beginning. One feels for Kek right away.

Finished and so glad I read this story. Kek’s courage, love of life and sorrow for his family is felt on every page.
This book is a wonderful story of what it must be like to emigrate to America after a life of war and camps. Kek braves both his home and his new home, never losing hope that Life will somehow be alright, even while he mourns and hopes for his lost mama.

A humbling story, reminded me of how much I have and how much I haven’t had to live through. My heart goes out for all the Keks of the world and I hope they all find a welcoming new home.

A beautiful, heartwarming story.


Mandy rated it      

This is an important book in today’s environment. It is a beautiful look at the experiences of a young refugee whom moves from Africa to Minnesota. It is a reminder of humanity. A story of loss and hope and love and discovery. A little glimpse into a life of someone who went through so much and is discovering how different things can be. A little reminder that sometimes we have no clue about what others have gone through, and maybe we need to remember to treat people with kindness.

I got through this book quickly as it really is written for a younger audience. I look forward to reading it out loud to my kids and discussing the beautiful prose and story.

I really like Katherine Applegate. I enjoy reading her books with my daughter, who is also a fan.
4.5/5 stars.

Destinee Sutton

Destinee Sutton rated it     

As I go to write this review, I’m reminded of Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper, which I reviewed pretty negatively because I was distracted by its literary shortcomings as I was reading it. A lot of other goodreads reviewers told me I completely missed the point of Out of My Mind. They told me that it was such an important book for throwing light on a kind of life most kids don’t know much about it. How could I criticize it so harshly?!

Well, that’s kind of how I feel about this book. I’ve read some negative reviews, and I know it’s not perfect, but it was a very beautiful story to me. I didn’t see its shortcomings as I read. I thought Katherine Applegate was able to convey a lot of meaning in short, simple poems.


Nat rated it     

First: My love for cows has been rejuvenated.

Second: This is one of the best books about identity that I’ve ever read, and at no point did I ever feel like this was A Book About Identity. Applegate seemed to effortlessly and subtly weave a story about family, friendship, loss, connection, kindness, and the immigrant/refugee experience without thrusting anything upon the reader. I felt like I recognized Kek from the first page. I cheered for him when he was hopeful, and sometimes my heart would break for him even as I was shaking my pom-poms. More than any other time in the book, I felt this when Kek expressed his excitement for “being an American” and his cousin said, “You’ll never be an American. They won’t let you.”

Educators — read this! Home of the Brave should be a classroom resource at your fingertips. I certainly plan on using poems from it this year.


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