Home of the Brave

Home of the Brave
Age Range
Release Date
December 23, 2008
Buy This Book

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 people in this new place will be like the winter—cold and unkind. But slowly he makes friends: a girl in foster care, an old woman with a rundown farm, and a sweet, sad cow that reminds Kek of home. As he waits for word of his mother’s fate, Kek weathers the tough Minnesota winter by finding warmth in his new friendships, strength in his memories, and belief in his new country.

Editor review

1 review
Heartbreaking and Heartwarming
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Katherine Applegate's gorgeous Home of the Brave tells the story of Kek, a Sudanese refugee who moves to Minnesota to start his new bittersweet life. Almost everyone in his family is dead and his mother is missing, so he stays with his aunt and a cousin who lost a hand in the war.

There are so many beautiful details in the story, such as Kek's friendship with Gol, a cow that he adopts. It has funny moments too, such as when he puts his aunt's dishes in the washing machine, shattering them all. I found myself rooting for Kek, hoping that his mother would return, that he would make friends, that he would have the happy ending that he deserves.

The free verse writing makes it a quick read, although I found myself pausing to reflect on the story or just admire Applegate's word choice. I think that some of my quiet students will really connect with Kek but I think anyone will enjoy it. Put it on your bookshelf now.
Good Points
Kek is a sweet and inspiring character.
Teaches tolerance
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