This is the heartwarming story of an immigrant named Kek. He came to the United States as an African war refugee. He comes to live with his aunt and cousin. He doesn't know if his mom is alive or not. His story really makes you stop and think about what it would be like to go somewhere not knowing anyone, or even the language.
This book is beautifully written in free-verse with the best imagery ever. Kek calls an airplane a flying boat. He doesn't understand what the "unkind blanket of white" is and why the cold "is like claws on [his] skin" (p. 3-4).
Kek goes to school and is in a class for children learning English. He decides to get a job helping a widow with her farm. He makes best friends with a cow, Gal, that he takes cares of and talks to. Gal helps Kek feel comfortable because cows are very important back home. The widow eventually needs to sell her farm and Kek needs to find a safe place for Gal. The story shows the intricate relationships between Kek and Gal (the cow), Gunwar (his cousin), Hannah (a foster child), Lou (the widow), and Kek's missing mom.
Home of the Brave is one of my new favorite books. I think it would make a wonderful read aloud chapter book with many opportunities for important discussions.