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Home of the Brave

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  6,940 Ratings  ·  1,099 Reviews
A man I helped to settle here
taught me a saying from Africa.
I'll bet you would like it:
A cow is God with a wet nose.

Kek comes from Africa where he lived with his mother, father, and brother. But only he and his mother have survived. Now she's missing, and Kek has been sent to a new home. In America, he sees snow for the first time, and feels its sting. He wonders if the p
Paperback, 267 pages
Published December 23rd 2008 by Square Fish (first published August 21st 2007)
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Erin A Long Walk to Water. We taught this in conjunction with the documentary God Grew Tired of Us, which might be too much for your younger readers. My…moreA Long Walk to Water. We taught this in conjunction with the documentary God Grew Tired of Us, which might be too much for your younger readers. My 8th graders loved both. (less)
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Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
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 experiencin
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: told-in-verse
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
Sherrie Petersen
May 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never thought I would read a novel in verse. Somehow the concept made me think of William Wordsworth or Burt Bacharach. Or Dr. Seuss. And to be honest, I didn't want to read anything written by those people for 200 pages or more.

But last year someone gave me Because I am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas. I ignored it for a while, let it sit on the shelf. But let me tell you, when I finally opened it, I couldn't put it down. I was blown away.

So this year I was actually excited when I got my hands on
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 b
Home of the brave is a very inspiring and sad book. It is silly too, the way Kek talks sometimes and humorous. It is a amazing book 10/10 and I think any reader would enjoy it unless they don't like a bit of sadness. The author Katherine Applegate has vivid descriptions and very good humor.
Barb Middleton
Katherine Applegate puts words together creating beautiful images. Dave is a an American helping Kek, a Sudanese refugee, settle in Minnesota with his cousin and aunt. Kek thinks Dave's partial use of Dinka and English sounds like "...a song always out of tune, / missing notes / To help him, / I try some English / but my mouth just wants to chew the words / and spit them on the ground." She captures what it is like to be new to a country. To not understand the language. To know this new place is ...more
Jan 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever went to a public library or school library, trying to look for a common book? Well today is your lucky day, My book is called Home of the Brave. The genre is Realistic Fiction.My opinion on this book is I liked it, at first I took it because it had short words and paragraphs. But once i started reading it I was starting to get the hang of it. I liked how the author described the way the character Kek was talking because he was not from the country. When he arrived to America, he c ...more
Destinee Sutton
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 s
Oct 23, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not a fan of books in verse in general and that was the first problem. The greater problem was my concern with the portrayal of a young Sudanese refugee as naive to the modern world in the extreme.I find it hard to believe a young man having spent time in refugee camps has never heard of jeans and calls television a "TV machine." At best it was an unsuccessful attempt at telling the story in broken English and at worst poorly researched and first-world, white bias on Katherine Applegate's pa ...more
Christina Hanson
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.

My first book of 2018 did not disappoint. Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate was a beautifully written novel in verse about Kek and his struggles to fit in, learn a new language, and make America feel like his native home of Sudan. This book would pair up great with A Long Walk to Water. I’m definitely making this one an o
Jun 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kid-s-stuff
I am always impressed by authors who can speak in the voice of a non-english speaker, and still make the story clear and strong. Kek is a boy who can find the sun on a cloudy day and his words are those of an African boy using the world he knows to describe a world that is foreign to him. Both the characterizations and descriptions of America are crisp and clear. Applegate invokes all the sadness of the attrocities in Sudan, and also keeps the story accessible to children.
In the age of "own-voices" I'm not sure I'm allowed to like this as much as I did. It is very Applegate, full of hope, kindness, and joy. Young readers will walk away feeling more connected to humanity.

I do hope to find more representation of refugee stories, coming from the source.
Lara Lillibridge
All of the books I've read by Applegate are melancholy and hauntingly beautiful and this was no exception. It's fast read yet a deeply immersive experience. You will fall in love with Tet, a boy new to America, who misses his family and homeland, and his friends and family. It's truly remarkable.
Jul 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
Recommended to booklady by: Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Incredible book! A tender story about a young African refugee to America struggling to not only learn our strange language, customs and changing patterns, but also cope with a bitter Minnesota winter, the violent deaths of his nuclear family and growing up in a foreign country. And yet despite the sorrows of Kek's young life, it is positive, hopeful and joyous story. His analogies for everyday things like airplanes, snow, and even beards is what makes Applegate's story so poignant and page-turn- ...more
Amber Kaldy
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An awful thing has happened in Africa where Kek lived. A war has killed his father and brother and there is no where knowing where his mother is, since the night he left her. He travels all the way to the America, on a "flying boat." He meets a girl named Hannah that lives in his building that he is staying at with his aunt and cousin, Ganwar. Kek faces many challenges, but makes friends on his journey. A cow that he named Gol, lives with a friend Lou, an old lady, he met on the way to the build ...more
Jul 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A simple read, much like the people I have frequently worked with over the years. The tale is one which I can relate to , which is "Hey, I don't speak your language yet but I'm working on it"; the other message is let folks figure out what they need to do or who they need to be, and move on from there. The end is semi-predictable, but for once is a feel-good in this world of "Reality crap" that pollutes our minds. About time someone wins not only once but twice. Contrary to popular media, there ...more
Apr 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a beautiful story written in verse about a boy named Kek who is a refugee from Sudan. He comes to Minnesota to live with his aunt and cousin. A touching story about mistakes, optimism, and friendship, as well as hardship. I think any child could identify with this story, but it is nice to see a book written from an immigrant's perspective. I loved this book.'s book wizard states that the interest level is grades 6-8, with the grade level equivalent of 4.3. I would recomme ...more
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone, please read this book. It is beautiful. Amazingly beautiful and relevant.

Too bad that I can’t give it 10 stars. I may have to go back and downgrade my other ratings so that this one can stand above most others, where it belongs with a choice few.

And I had no idea that Katherine Applegate wrote the Animorph books. One of my brothers and one of my children really loved those. I never read them, the premise was too creepy. And The One and Only Ivan wasn’t all that either, but now I’m an
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book offers an amazing perspective that kids (and adults) would probably otherwise never understand. The poetry format keeps the writing simple and accessible, although this is a rich, layered, complex story. Building empathy- ✔, understanding our society from a different perspective- ✔, becoming more aware and appreciative of diversity-✔, engaged in a well told story- ✔... please offer this book to a 9-13 year old in your life, and read it yourself, too. ...more
Ms. Foley
Jan 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow--if you want a book that reaches in and GRABS your heart, this is the one! The author writes the story in verse, kind of like a series of poems, so it's fast to read, but every word has so much weight and meaning. I imagine there will be a lot of refugees from Haiti coming soon, so it's very relevent. It is one of the 2010-2011 Bluebonnets too.
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this book. Just read it. Then contact any governing official that has the power to create laws regarding refugees entering the USA and tell them to read it. It is profound and it is moving and it is beautiful.
Sep 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was really emotional and full of things that you wouldn't understand if you had never been in that situation, loved it!
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book made me feel lots of different emotions like happiness, sadness, worry and sometimes suspense. But at times the book was a little confusing, though.
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is gorgeous. If everyone started their day by reading it, I think we’d automatically become a kinder, more caring society. Read it. It will make your heart full.
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great class read aloud! Amazing use of figurative language. A very happy story :) It’s hard not to fall in love with the main character!
Matthew Gregware
Home of the Brave
Katherine Applegate

What if you were living in one of the hottest places in the world, and then the next day you woke up halfway across the world in below freezing temperatures with nothing you have ever seen before? What if you woke up one day and realized that everything you have loved and been granted had been killed off? Do you think you could overcome these challenges?
In the fictional novel “Home of the Brave” by Katherine Applegate, a young boy named Kek faces many difficul
I am not a huge fan of free verse novels, but it did seem to work for this book. With the exception of the rather abrupt ending, I enjoyed this book. It is interesting to see the familiar through unfamiliar eyes and it brings to mind my own year as a foreign student in Germany - many things seem like missteps. I would like to have seen a bit more, but I suppose the story is really about family and not about being a stranger in a new land.
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wow-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
L13 Tracy Beling
Golden Kite Award winner for fiction.

This book was very moving and informative. It tells the story of a boy named Kek who is a refugee of Sudan. His family is gone and he has been relocated to Minnesota to live with his aunt and cousin who also left Sudan. The book expresses the difficulty immigrants face when trying to assimilate to America. Here is one of the humorous moments.

"Hey, I say back,
but I can't talk anymore
because my mouth is already
full of new tastes.

Excuse me, I say when I have swa
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-for-the-kids
I read this book so I could follow along with the 5th grade class that I work with as an elementary school aide. I am most familiar with the author's "Roscoe Riley" series since my kids have listened to them in the car multiple times, so this was a change for me. (I am adding The One and Only Ivan to my to-read!) This book was amazing! I loved the poetic prose, I loved the perspective offered by the main character and the glimpse it provides into a world experience so different than ...more
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Katherine Applegate is the author of THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN, winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal. Her novel CRENSHAW spent over twenty weeks on the New York Times children's bestseller list, and her first middle-grade stand-alone novel, the award-winning HOME OF THE BRAVE, continues to be included on state reading lists, summer reading lists, and class reading lists.

Katherine has written three pictur
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“About chocolate: "This is what laughing tastes like.” 13 likes
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