Erin Reilly-Sanders's Reviews > Home of the Brave

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate
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Dec 31, 11

bookshelves: fiction, foreign, juvenile, verse
Read in December, 2011

While I found Applegate's writing quite lovely and the story dear and engaging, I have to question mainly the authenticity of the story. My first main objection is to the fact that Kek says that he is from Africa. To my knowledge, people in Africa are even less likely to refer to themselves as from Africa than Americans are likely to refer to themselves as from North America. It is much more likely that Kek would have had the name of a village or region to refer to as his home if not a country, which eventually comes out as Sudan. Which is not to say that I am an expert on Sudan bringing me to the point that I don't know how Applegate became such as expert as to be able t speak for this fictional boy. I really would have appreciated a note that mentions something of books read, trips, and interviews. Without that suggestion of research and resulting claims at authenticity, I would be wary to use this book without the confirmation of a Sudanese immigrant or someone very familiar with their situations. While Home of the Brave does paint a very sensitive portrait of a perceived outsider, it also seems to suggest that Sudanese immigrants would be happier if we let them tend cows which seems a bit odd to me. Regardless, I very much liked the book, even if I am being rather critical.
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Nina I teach children from Africa. They often refer to themselves as from "Africa." I have read this book with these students and they ALL have made concrete, deep connections to the book. It is not that they would be happier if we let them tend to cows, rather, it outlines the longing one might have to get a glimpse back into the life and/or lifestyles one had in their previous home. In the cold harsh winter of the USA, this boy finds the cow comforting, because it is one of the ONLY familiar things.


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