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Some Kind of Courage
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Some Kind of Courage

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  2,140 Ratings  ·  592 Reviews
A Kirkus Best Middle Grade Book of 2016

Saddle up for a life-defining, death-defying adventure.

Joseph Johnson has lost just about everyone he's ever loved. He lost his pa in an accident. He lost his ma and his little sister to sickness. And now, he's lost his pony--fast, fierce, beautiful Sarah, taken away by a man who had no right to take her.

Joseph can sure enough get he
Hardcover, 234 pages
Published January 26th 2016 by Scholastic Press
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Popular Answered Questions
Sarah McReynolds Yes. This book is for upper elementary and middle school. It is a Bluebonnet book. I think this book would be really good for reluctant readers.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jesse (JesseTheReader)
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
full video review/discussion:

This was great! I do think that I liked Dan's first book a bit more, but I still really enjoyed this book. The one negative thing that I can pin point is that this book seems to follow a similar story structure to his first book, The Honest Truth. Both stories are about boys who go on a journey facing big obstacles along the way. I didn't really mind that though, because while they follow similar story structures, this one had nice twists
Colby Sharp
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
2016 is going to be a very good year for books.

I loved The Honest Truth, so I was a little worried to see what Mr. Gemeinhart had for us with book 2. He didn't disappoint. I'm beginning to think that kids today will look at Dan's work like my generation looks at Gary Paulsen's.
Joyce Yattoni
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Okay, I know I should have been grading, but when you begin a Dan Gemeinhart book, it is really difficult to put down. This book is for anyone who has a closeness to an animal/pet that can't be explained, but especially for kids who have grown up with horses. This book is also for the Hatchet fans and Alabama Moon readers. I also see my dormant readers enjoying this story. What's not to like? Set in 1890 at the end of the Westward Expansion Joseph has lost everything. His Dad from a wagon accide ...more
Mary Lee
Don't tell my students that I finished this book ahead of our read aloud schedule. But it's a good thing I did. If you needed tissues for The Honest Truth, get two packs for this one. I'm sure I'll still cry reading aloud the last few chapters, but at least I might be able to do it without sobbing now.

Reading this book aloud right after finishing The Honest Truth has been magical. My students have made so many comparisons between the two books, and you should have heard the collective gasp when

God, this book. *Wipes tear*

This is the story of a boy named Joseph, a boy who's lost everything. His mother, his sister, his father, and now his beloved horse, who's all he has left. But, unlike his family, he can get her back.

With surprising grit and determination, Joseph sets out after her, along with a Chinese boy with his own mission, these two trek countless miles through the wilderness, facing bears, Indians, and dangerous men, all trying to find the only thing that will complete their h
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook-reads
I loved The Honest Truth, but I wasn't super excited for this one because the two genres it falls under (historical and adventure) are not usually ones that I gravitate to. I thought I would try the audio version and am glad I did--it was great.

The story is full of non-stop action and lots of emotion. Even if I wasn't 7 months pregnant I would have been reaching for the tissues (I recommend you keep some nearby). Joseph meets so many interesting characters on his journey to find his only remaini
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
The plot of the book is fine. I can see a lot of kids relating to the adventure, of a boy who has lost everything going after the one thing he has left.

I am left uncomfortable by the multicultural aspects of this book. I think that, at this point in time, if you are in children's literature and just going to use the term "Indian" without naming a tribe, then you're not doing enough. There is enough backlash and blogs to let you know that's not cool. If it had just been the pony, I think I would
Set in 1890 Washington, 12 year old Joseph Johnson has nearly lost everything. His mother and sister to typhoid and his pa to an unexpected wagon accident. He still has his horse, Sarah, until one day he returns to his caregivers home only to find that his pony was sold. This is the epic tale of Joseph's pursuit in finding and getting Sarah back. Having to forge his way though the rough terrain of the Cascade Mountains, facing harsh weather and the dangers of others, the kindness of a Chinese bo ...more
Aug 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2016
6/5 *
I just loved it! Even more than "The Honest Truth".
Had to go cuddle my horse after finishing <3
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, powerful, heart/warming! This story has it all. So so good. Read it!!!
Kendall 2/3
Mar 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
I did not like this because it dragged on for such a long time that I had no interest. I did not care what happened to the characters at all, I thought there was something unlikable about pretty much all of them. Some of the plot literally had no point and it just made me frustrated that the book was STILL going on. The main character, Joseph, was trying to get his horse Sarah back after it was sold but it kept just getting passed from person to person and he kept chasing it for SO LONG. I'm pre ...more
Michelle Glatt
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Things I am not a huge fan of:
Horse books
Historical fiction

Thing I am a huge fan of: this beautiful heartprint book that is, as the author says, mostly about family but is certainly a historical fiction book and a horse book.

I cheered Joseph on through his journey, gasped when he was in peril, and smiled when he was helped by or gave help to someone else.

Excellent middle grade literature.
This is a fast paced action adventure set in the American West. Joseph has lost much in the past year, but when he also loses his horse, he is determined to get his beloved Sarah back. Gemeinhart's new middle grade novel is a hero quest and along the way Joseph must use every life lesson his parents have taught him to cope with the obstacles on his journey. He has to make some hard choices, and meets some incredible people, but with each encounter he shows strength, determination and courage. An ...more
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I can't believe I loved this middle school book designed for 8-12 year old children so much! I chose this book because I love the cover and I needed a book with a title that didn't go horizontal for a challenge. As soon as I finished it I purchased it for my two granddaughters, ages 9 and 14...siblings. The 14 year old takes horseback riding lessons and works for her lessons every Saturday. I know they will both connect, even though the book is designed more for my 9 year old.

The story fol
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am not generally a fan of Westerns. At least, that's what I've got in my head.
This was amazing and fantastic.

It made me cry.
Plus, I loved the portrayal of eastern Washington. The book shows you what the landscape of Wenatchee to Ellensburg to Walla Walla was like in the 1800s. We even gave it The Washington State Book Award for Middle Grade Readers in 2017.
The writing is really great.

The only things that gives me a measure of ambivalence were the depictions of native tribes and Ah-Kee, the Ch
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 stars from my 9 year old son and myself. We completely enjoyed reading this adventure filled book together. The main character, Joseph, is a determined boy with excellent values. The best part for me was how my son fully recognized Joseph's admirable qualities and we had a great post-read conversation together.
Wow! This book made me cry with sadness and happiness! It is so good! It is some kind of book!
And the audiobook was perfect. The right narrator + an amazing book = magic.
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book.
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
I nominate this, the hands down, best book to listen to with a group of boys, in the summer, on a roundtrip. It's Louis Lamour, for kids!
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is our "One Book/One Community" book this year (2017). I only read it because our book club is reading it to be a part of the community read. When I started it, I didn't expect to like it very much. But as I got into the story, I started to really enjoy the characters and the author's "down home" writing style. The main character, Joseph, is an orphan, in the west, sometime around the Civil War era. And the man who is his guardian has just sold Joseph's horse, Sarah, who is the only "family ...more
Saowbia (Ever the Reader)
Aug 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Review Posted On Marvelous Eden of Books

Spoiler Free Review:

I read The Honest Truth, Dan Gemeinhart's debut last year. I have a review, which was my very first review and it is very embarrassing, you can read it, but I wouldn't recommend it. Anyway, I'm still amazed at how he managed to create a beautiful coming of age story. It became one of my favorites of last year, so I was eagerly anticipating his next book. Some Kind of Courage is quite different than his first novel. It is a western his
Ms. Yingling
Oct 26, 2015 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Joseph is being cared for by the horrible drunkard Mr. Grissom after the death of his father in an accident. He's been mistreated, but the final straw is that Grissom has sold his horse, Sarah, to the equally horrible Ezra Bishop. Joseph takes his father's gun, the money Grissom got for Sarah, and a few provisions to which he feels entitled, tells Grissom what he's doing, and runs away. Before he gets too far, he meets a Chinese boy who has lost his relativ
I've read a lot of wonderful children's literature this year, but this one captured my heart hook, line, and sinker. It's my new favorite pick for the 2017 Newbery. It's got everything - action, adventure, survival, love, loyalty, heart, courage, hope, grit, friendship, honor, and a horse. What more could you ask for in a story?! It's also a journey story with a reluctant hero. My favorite kind. I laughed, cried, sat on the edge of my seat, and didn't want it to end. I loved how Gemeinhart skill ...more
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I feel as if I will have a hard time drafting this review. My emotions are all over the place, but not with contempt or condemnation of the book. No, I have nothing but elation and love for this book. It was such an enjoyable and touching and powerful experience to read this book. I found myself smiling most of the way through my read. I have to give the author a lot of credit because the language in this book is perfect. He expertly captured the draw and poetic appeal of the Wild West without i ...more
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When book nerds take a break it's a safe assumption reading will be involved. Sometimes a couple of chapters stretch into an hour. The task at hand is resumed but completed as quickly as possible so the reluctantly-paused reading can begin again. An evening vanishes as well as most of the following morning until the final word is read. In less than twenty-four hours a two hundred thirty-four page book is consumed.

This kind of book makes everything else disappear as you drop into the story. This
Aliza Werner
To follow up THE HONEST TRUTH, one of my absolute favorites of 2015, is no easy feat, but Dan Gemeinhart's second middle grade novel brings the heart, adventure, and strength in writing of his debut novel. At no point did I want to put the book I didn't. I read cover to cover the beautifully historically set story of journey, family, and doing the right thing even when it's the hard thing. COURAGE will take readers on an incredible adventure as Joseph sets off to find his sweet horse, ...more
Mrs. Krajewski
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing tale of love, friendship, loyalty, and determination! Joseph doesn't have much anymore. His parents and sister are gone, so the only family he has left is his horse Sarah. Unfortunately for Joseph, the old man that was supposed to care for him sold Sarah behind Joseph's back. But Joseph is determined. He plans to get Sarah back, no matter the cost. I fell in love with this book from page one, just like I did with The Honest Truth. I will forever read any book that Dan Gemeinhart ...more
Lauren Waters
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
It was refreshing to read a novel with such an honest main character with a good heart. I enjoyed the adventure Joseph embarked on to retrieve his wrongfully sold horse, and I liked how he developed so many types of relationships with a variety of people throughout his journey. This novel will make a great addition to my classroom to show the significance of setting and characterization.
Michele Knott
This book is a perfect one to pass along to readers who loved Gary Paulsen's Hatchet.
An action-adventure Western that explores the theme of right vs wrong and friendships and family.
Gemeinhart's sophomore book proves he is an author who will be around for some time! Wonderful writing.
Alyssa Calhoun
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The best books are the ones that when you finish, you don't even want to read anything else for awhile because you want to sit and think about the story you just finished. This book did that for me.

Great voice. Plenty of action. Emotional moments.
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“That's how memories work, I suppose; you just go through life collecting them, never letting go of the precious ones but leaving room in your heart for more.” 3 likes
“I missed 'em, sure enough, true and deep and hard, but the loving was stronger than the missing.--Joseph Johnson on p. 233 Some Kind of Courage” 3 likes
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