Tuesday, October 22, 2013

find our place

About two or three years ago I read Katherine Applegate's book, Home Of The Brave, and loved it. The other day, I saw that it had come out in paperback. I loved the new cover, so I picked up a copy to read again.

Upon reading this book a second time, I may have loved it even more.  The story is written in verse, which I love, and it works beautifully.

 We begin our slow, strange herding down the
edge of the highway,
followed by a police car.
The red, white and blue lights
remind me of the American flag.
I feel like the President.
Kek is a Sudanese boy who saw his father and brother killed in Africa. He finds himself as a refugee in Minnesota where he is sent to live with his aunt and wait for word on the fate of his mother.

This story would be a wonderful read-aloud and provides a great opportunity for discussion.

Be sure not to miss the Author's Note at the end of the book.
Somewhere, sometime, as your glorious and complicated life unfolds, you are going to find yourself putting dishes in a washing machine.
I'm speaking metaphorically, of course. You won't make the same mistakes Kek makes in Home of the Brave, because your mistakes will be uniquely and wonderfully your own.
But you will make them, I promise you. Lots of them. Someday, you will find yourself adrift in a place where you feel you don't belong, with people who don't understand who you are. You'll feel alone and lost. And you'll be absolutely certain that you will never, ever belong to the world again.
You don't have to be a refugee to feel lost. It happens because we are human, and because life has a way of changing the rules when we're not looking. But if you're lucky, someone will reach out a hand when you're most alone and say, "I've been lost, too. Let me help you find your way home."

Fiction, it's been said, makes immigrants of us all. But it's just as true that fiction helps us find our place in the world. 

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