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Home of the Brave
by Katherine Applegate
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1.Why do you think the title of this book is "Home of the Brave"?
2.What does "home" mean to you?
3.In Kek's refugee camp he says they called America "heaven on earth." Why would they say that? In what ways is it true? In what ways isn't it true?
4.What are some of Dave's qualities that make him so helpful to Kek?
5.What are some of Kek's personal qualities that help him adjust to his new life and a new culture?
6.Why is Kek so attracted to the cow?
7.Why do you think that "America people don't understand the wonder of a cow"?
8.Why do you think that Kek names Lou's cow Gol, which means "family" in his own language?
9.Why doesn't Ganwar want to get a job?
10.Why is Ganwar's attitude so different from Kek's? Is his negativity a self-fulfilling prophesy? How does he change during the course of the story?
11.Are you someone who "finds sun when the sky is dark," like Kek? Or are you more like his cousin Ganwar? And why do you think Ganwar is so ready to believe bad things instead of seeing the possibility of good?
12.How is Hannah a good friend to Kek? How is he a good friend to her?
13.Have you ever had the experience of helping someone from another place "learn the ropes" of your culture, city, or school? What was that like?
14.What good things happen for Kek when he "just walks up to a door and asks"? How might the story have been different if he hadn't been brave enough to ask for what he wanted and needed?
15.Kek goes to English-as-a-Second-Language classes where there are 16 students who speak 12 different languages. Are there kids in your class who speak other languages at home but have to speak English at school? What do you think it must be like for kids who are learning English?
16.Kek tries to wash dishes in a clothes washing machine. Can you think of other things that might be confusing to someone who has never used appliances or electronic devices?
17.Lou, the woman who owns the small farm, tells Kek that her husband's family came to America from Norway, and her own family was from Ireland. Most Americans' families originally came from other countries, so at one time they were immigrants just like Kek. Do you know what countries your families came from? What do you suppose life was like for them when they first came to live here?
18.When Kek visits the zoo with his class, he wonders how the gazelles came to live "in this strange, cold world." He says, "They're safe here, but they don't know it." In what ways are the gazelles like Kek and other immigrants who move to America?
19.Why do you think Kek is so upset when he goes with Hannah to the grocery store?
20.Kek says that a bus driver "makes a face that says stupid-new-to-this-country-boy." Why do you suppose some people don't think very nicely about people who come from other countries?
21.There are some people who are mean to Kek, like the boy who throws the apple at him and the boys who yell at him for being friends with a white girl when he is black. But there are also good people, like Dave and Hannah and the police, who help Kek. After reading this book, do you think you might try to treat people differently, when you know they might be new to America? What can you do?
22.Why do you think Kek doesn't want to work at Lou's farm anymore when he finds out she is going to sell it and get rid of the cow? Why wouldn't he want to spend as much time as possible there before Lou and Gol have to go?
23.What do you think Kek's mother meant when she used to tell him, "If you can talk, you can sing. If you can walk, you can dance?"
24.What do you think it is like for Kek to have to use an unfamiliar language to communicate all the time in America? And what would it be like for you if you could no longer use English to communicate, but if you had to speak in another language instead?
25.For a boy who raised cattle in the country and learned his family's history from songs instead of books, the school and public libraries seem like such treasures. He says, "The library workers don't even know me, and yet they promise I can take books home." Do you think children who grow up with libraries realize how valuable they are? Why or why not?
26.Each of the four parts of the book begins with an African proverb. How does each proverb relate to each section?
27.There is a saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover." If this book hadn't been chosen for book club, do you think you would have decided to read it (or not read it), based on its cover? Why or why not?
28.Did you like the ending? Why or why not?
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