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Some Kind of Courage

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  3,076 ratings  ·  822 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
Hardcover, 234 pages
Published January 26th 2016 by Scholastic Press
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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.…moreYes. 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. (less)

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Average rating 4.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,076 ratings  ·  822 reviews

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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 ...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
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
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 ...more
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!
Some Kind of Courage is a book about a young boy who has lost his family to sickness and has only his beloved horse left. After his horse is sold unrightfully, Joseph goes on a journey to get his horse back, the only part of his old life he has left. Along the way, he makes new friends, loses them, and finds a new home.
Some Kind of Courage is a brilliant book with themes along the line of finding yourself and coming of age. This book had themes I wasn't really into- the main one was realism.
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.
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, powerful, heart/warming! This story has it all. So so good. Read it!!!
Leni - The White Book Cottage
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
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 ...more
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Second time around: Read this with much less critical eyes and am convinced that it is everything a middle-grade book should be. Full of action, moral fortitude, and great passion. We put this book on our Battle list this year and it is proving to the favorite of favorites.

First review: Thrilled to have an actiony western to hand to my students but the flatness of main character left me cringing as he "my Sarahed" to his noble end.
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.
Libby Manship
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another great Young Hoosier book recommendation from my 11-year old! Quick read and lots of excitement with an old western feel. It ends in a great way after lots of suspense. I hope this is made into a movie or series. Will definitely look for more from this author!
Natalia Block
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the book! I loved how there was many different problems and challenges Joseph went through. The book was never boring, it always had unexpected twists and turns. I would definitely recommend this to a friend.
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
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
What a wonderful book! Reminded me a lot of one of my favorites from childhood, I Want My Sunday, Stranger!, which has a similar premise: boy sets out to find his missing horse. But while that book was set during the Civil War and takes place in a wide array of locales across the country over the span of the war, this one is set in a specific location, the 1890 frontier of Washington state. It's been ages since I read the Sunday book, so my memories are probably hazy, and I'd love to read it ...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
Holly Mueller
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 ...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
Sarah 8/9
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book "Some Kind of Courage" was an amazing book with a great message. This book is about a boy whose horse is wrongfully sold to someone else. He then goes on a journey to find him. The theme that I pulled from the book is that you should not give up on someone you love. If I could change one thing about this book I would choose to move the plot along a bit faster. I recommend this book to those who live meaningful stories.
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.
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
loved this heartwarming middle grade coming of age story. I don’t usually enjoy westerns and I don’t especially love reading about horses, but man was this special. Dan Gemeinhart is the master of writing about children undergoing sad, horrible things…and courageously prevailing through some trying circumstances- all while meeting some quirky and memorable people along the way. My kind of book.
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