Home of the Brave

by Katherine Applegate

Hardcover, 2007

Call number



Feiwel & Friends (2007), Edition: First Edition, 256 pages


Kek, an African refugee, is confronted by many strange things at the Minneapolis home of his aunt and cousin, as well as in his fifth grade classroom, and longs for his missing mother, but finds comfort in the company of a cow and her owner.

User reviews

LibraryThing member ChrisRiesbeck
A sweet first-person juvenile about a Lost Boy from Sudan learning to find his place in Minnesota, with too much winter and too few cows. The book is laid out in free verse form, which works surprisingly well with the simplified sentences and introspective ruminations of Kek, the main character.
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Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member mayaspector
This book may have a rather strange-looking cover, but inside is one of the finest books I have read this year. It tells the story of Kek, a refugee from the Sudan. His father and brother were killed, and he lost his mother during an attack on the refugee camp where they were staying. Now he has
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arrived in Minnesota in the winter - a strange place that is colder than anything he could have imagined. Fortunately, Kek has an aunt and cousin to live with, understanding teachers and social worker, and a new friend named Hannah.

The story is told by Kek himself. His words are simple, but his thoughts are deep. He holds on to the hope of reuniting with his mother when no one else seems to believe she is alive. It is a painful, difficult time, but Kek is resourceful, bright and a real charmer.

Recommended for kids in grades 5 and up. This would make a great classroom read-aloud.
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LibraryThing member mrslibrarianvt
A touching, uplifting story. Kek gives us a view of what American's take for granted, and how strange it is to much of the world.
LibraryThing member BooksByLinda
Kek comes from an African refugee camp. The country is not indicated. He travels to live with his aunt and cousin and Minnesota. He misses the cattle that were a large part of life in his country and he connects with a cow on a small farm. Eventually, he begins to work for the widow lady who still
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lives on the farm. Throughout the book, he hopes that is mother will be located in a refugee camp and he will be reunited with her. The story is told in poetic format and flows beautifully and Kek tries to adjust to his new strange, cold life in his 5th grade class in minnesota.
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LibraryThing member Aftran
This is the story of a young boy from Sudan who comes to the United States as a refugee. His father and brother have been killed and his mother is missing, and he’s been staying at a refugee camp until he comes to Minnesota to live with his aunt and cousin. The poetry format is perfect for this
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book—it illustrates the cultural and language differences that Kek struggles with, as well as the emotional trauma he is going through. It’s enlightening to look at one’s own culture through the eyes of someone outside of it, and it’s hard not to feel overwhelmingly grateful after reading this book for all the blessings we have. Above all, this book is about finding home after your old one has been lost, and it’s about hope and how hard, but important, it is to find hope when it seems like there is none.
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LibraryThing member anniecase
I know this book is talked about as being one of the greatest of last year, but I found it contrived. The verses are so adult as to lose the feel for the teenager writing them. Some of the scenes are incredibly vivid, however, and the premise is both relevant to our times and moving.
LibraryThing member ewyatt
Kek describes his experience arriving in America after leaving a relocation camp in Sudan. His dad and brother were killed in the violence and his mom is missing. Kek tries to understand this new country after arriving in Minnesota during the middle of winter. Written in verse, the language is
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poetic and beautiful. Fifth grader Kek remains optimistic and has a way of connecting with people, carving out a new life for himself in spite of heartbreaking and nightmarish experiences endured in his young life.
This book is touching and poignant. I loved it!
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LibraryThing member aje3
This book made me laugh and it made me cry. It was excellently written in a verse form and I loved the similies the main character used to describe the strange things he found in this country (ex. "cooking fire" p.87 is a stove.) The author did a great job portraying the thoughts and frustrations
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of a young Sudanese boy trying to live a new life in a new world. I think most immigrants from almost any nation could somehow relate to this book. Although I enjoyed reading it as an adult, I don't know how many junior high students would be able to appreciate it as much as I did (unless, of course, they're immigrants.)
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LibraryThing member NickSerra
In her first stand-alone book, Applegate (the Animorphs series) effectively uses free verse to capture a Sudanese refugee's impressions of America and his slow adjustment. After witnessing the murders of his father and brother, then getting separated from his mother in an African camp, Kek alone
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believes that his mother has somehow survived. The boy has traveled by flying boat to Minnesota in winter to live with relatives who fled earlier. An onslaught of new sensations greets Kek (This cold is like claws on my skin, he laments), and ordinary sights unexpectedly fill him with longing (a lone cow in a field reminds him of his father's herd; when he looks in his aunt's face, I see my mother's eyes/ looking back at me). Prefaced by an African proverb, each section of the book marks a stage in the narrator's assimilation, eloquently conveying how his initial confusion fades as survival skills improve and friendships take root. Kek endures a mixture of failures (he uses the clothes washer to clean dishes) and victories (he lands his first paying job), but one thing remains constant: his ardent desire to learn his mother's fate. Precise, highly accessible language evokes a wide range of emotions and simultaneously tells an initiation story. A memorable inside view of an outsider. Ages 10-14
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LibraryThing member CatheOlson
This was a wonderful and touching book about a boy Kek who comes from Africa to winter in Minnesota because his father and brother have been killed and his mother is missing. He tries to adjust to life in the US where there is such abundance of everything while knowing back in Africa people are
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dying and starving. It's beautifully written and I cried at the end. It's one of those juvenile novels that is just a pleasure for adults as well. I highly recommend this book.
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LibraryThing member debnance
Make that eighteen more Bluebonnets to go. Home of the Brave is book two. Kek escapes from his warring homeland in Africa to live with family in icy cold Minnesota. Kek sees America with fresh eyes and bravely starts to make a new life here, quickly befriending a foster girl and a thin cow, hoping
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his mother has survived and will be reunited with him. Told in free verse (a device which serves well to reflect Kek’s real voice).
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LibraryThing member edspicer
I would shoe them that this book illustrates how hard it is to move to America from another country and that this puts a whole new twist on it. It was about an African kid. I wanted to see his views. AHS/LE
LibraryThing member leahmartin
The story of Kek, a Sudanese refugee boy in America. Funny, heartwrenching, inspiring. Told in the prose style of "Love That Dog". An easy and compelling book that will prompt readers to think about and discuss serious topics like refugees and racism.
LibraryThing member kerriwilliams
I enjoyed the book as it was written in a poetry style. It was a quick read but very powerful and thought provoking it helps the reader to understand what it might be like for people who are new to America. I would share this story while teaching a poetry unit.
LibraryThing member lindamamak
Written in prose this fast read tells the story of a young boy displaced to America after the his parents are killed in war torn Africa. Happy ending
LibraryThing member SmithA45
Home of the Free tells the story of Kek, a Sudanese refugee who moves to Minnesota. Back home he had a whole family, but only his mother has survived and they were separated before Kek arrived in the United States. Kek struggles with life in America, such as grocery shopping and snow, but he makes
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friends with a foster girl in his building, and finds friendship with Dave from the Refugee Resettlement Center, an older woman named Louise who lets him look after her cow. He names the cow Gol, which means family in his language.
It took a little bit of getting used to the style of writing in this book, as it is written in poetic style verse, but it represents Kek's learning of English. This book touches on many issues related to immigrants, and I think that it is a good read to help kids understand some of the issues that recent newcomers undergo.
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LibraryThing member ref27
Sudanese refugee in Minneapolis struggles with new home and guilt over missing mother. Plausible challenges, lovely writing, a little optimistic--especially the end.
LibraryThing member abbylibrarian
Kek is a ten-year-old refugee from Sudan coming to live in America. He's staying with his aunt and cousin in Minnesota and everything is strange. Snow covers the ground, everyone speaks a language he doesn't know, and everyone here has so much while his people in Africa have so little. Kek's
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waiting for his mother to be found; they were separated as they fled from shooters in Sudan. Life is cold and tough here in this new country where he's not sure he belongs, but Kek "finds sun when the sky is dark" and he won't lose hope.

The story is told in verse and I thought it was really interesting to see immigration from a refugee's point of view. It's funny at times and sad at times and the story is ultimately hopeful. Unfortunately, there is no author's note included. I'm disappointed, as I would have liked to know what inspired Katherine Applegate (author of the Animorphs series) to write this book and how she researched it. The lack of author's note knocked it down to four stars from five. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if this one got a bit of Newbery action, although I haven't heard any buzz thus far...
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LibraryThing member scote23
I listened to this on audio, and I was crying as I was driving. It's really good. I gave it to Andy to read after. Tt's nominated for a Maine Student Book award, and while I wish it would win, I think that Diary of a Wimpy Kid is going to end up the champion. I'm not sure I will ever look at cows
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the same way again.
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LibraryThing member lindap69
life in the United States from the point of view of an orphan from Sudan - beautifully told in free verse. I loved this book!
LibraryThing member rgruberexcel
RGG: Wonderful story about a "lost boy" acclimating to the United States. The verse is a bit easier to follow than Thanha Lai's Inside Out and Back Again. Very relatable. F-P: W.
LibraryThing member smheatherly2
This story, written in verse, is about a Sudanese refugee boy, Kek, , who has just come to Minneapolis to live with his cousin and aunt after his refugee camp was infiltrated. Very moving story that allows you to get an understanding for what it is like for people of different cultures to be
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plopped down in a new land, not knowing the language, customs, or goods. Well worth the read.
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LibraryThing member rgruberexcel
RGG: Wonderful story about a "lost boy" acclimating to the United States. The verse is a bit easier to follow than Thanha Lai's Inside Out and Back Again. Very relatable. F-P: W.
LibraryThing member amrahmn
I love this book! It is a lovely story of Kek, an African refugee, surviving in America. I enjoyed the way it was written as it flows nicely; I really felt as if I understood how difficult it was for Kek to be without his family. Wonderful use of metaphors!I would use this book to help students
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understand cultural differences, see how hard it could be to move to a new country, or to understand some of the political problems in Sudan.
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LibraryThing member DanielleMD
This is a children's book written in verse. It tells the story of a young boy, Kek, from Africa who has come to America from a refugee camp to live with his Aunt and cousin. Kek has lost his father, brother, and possibly his mother.
Kek has a pretty difficult time, as you can imagine, adjusting to
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life in America and dealing with his feelings about everything he has gone through. His cousin Ganwar has also lost a lot and is having difficulties. The two boys begin work on the farm of an older woman tending to her land and animals, including an old cow, who Kek names Gol (meaning Family). Kek also meets a wonderful little girl who becomes his friend.
This is a truly remarkable book, and Katherine Applegate is quickly becoming one of my favorite children's authors.
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