Brave Like My Brother

Dear Reader,

How wonderful to see you looking for more serious novels. Short humorous stories are fine to read once in awhile, but you are now at an age – in grade six – where you are ready to consider more mature topics. You already know that life is not always fun. Not always easy. And you are ready to read stories that depict characters in circumstances that call for courage.

But I know that you cannot yet read quickly enough to enjoy a long book with small print. So what novels can you read that are more than simply entertainment? Here’s one just for you! 

Nobleman, Marc Tyler. Brave Like My Brother. New York: Scholastic Press, 2016.

Only 100 pages long, this story is printed in a large font with lots of space between the lines and large margins. And each chapter is only 4 pages long. Actually, each chapter is a letter. Yes, a letter. It is a series of letters. The first and the last one are from Charlie, writing to his older brother, Joe, a soldier sent to England during World War II. All the others in between are from Joe, writing to tell of his experiences during the days leading up to D-Day, the Allied invasion of France.  It will not take you long to read this novel of courage in the face of bullying and fear.

And when you are finished, think about these questions: What did you learn about history from reading this story? How is being a soldier different than you expected? How do Joe and Charlie and their parents and their grandmother all show courage during the war?

pleased that you are growing into a thoughtful reader,
Ms. R.

More stories of World War II 

More stories about bullying

More stories of courage

Wonder

Wonder by R.J. Palacio (Alfred A. Knopf, 2012) is the story of August, a boy born with extreme facial abnormalities who was not expected to survive infancy. Life changes for 11-year-old Auggie when his parents stop homeschooling him and put him into a public school where he endures taunting and bullying. Now he must figure out how to be accepted. Will the bullying ever stop? Will he ever be accepted? Read this inspiring novel to find out! (by Rabia in grade 6)

More stories about bullying

More stories of individuality

Pink Shirt Day

“Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.” – Theodore Roosevelt, 26th American president

Bottner, Barbara. Miss Brooks’ Story Nook. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.
A school librarian humorously teaches her students a lesson about bullying. 

French, Simon. My Cousin’s Keeper. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2014, c2012.
Eleven-year-old Kieran tries to be one of the popular kids at school, one of the powerful kids.  What will he do when his cousin arrives in town? A cousin who isn’t athletic. Isn’t outgoing or confident. Soon Bon is the target of the powerful bullies. What should Kieran do? Life becomes even more confusing when the girl Kieran admires becomes friends with Bon, more complicated when he discovers why Bon has come. This memorable novel from Australia is recommended for readers 10 to 14 years old. 

Javaherbin, Mina. Goal! Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2010. 
A group of soccer playing buddies fend off bullies who try to spoil their game in this picture book set in a South African township.

Woodson, Jacqueline. Each Kindness. New York: Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012.
Chloe and her friends realize they should not have been making fun of a classmate after a lesson from their teacher.

Picture books and novels about bullying

Who Are You?

“I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.”
– Rita Mae Brown, American writer

French, Simon. My Brother’s Keeper. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2014, c2012.
Eleven-year-old Kieran tries to be one of the popular kids at school, one of the powerful kids.  But what will he do when his cousin arrives in town? His cousin Bon isn’t athletic. He definitely isn’t outgoing or confident. Instead, his cousin is soon the target of those powerful boys who like to bully everyone else. Life becomes even more confusing for Kieran when the girl he admires becomes friends with Bon. It becomes more complicated when he discovers the reason Bon has come to live in his home. This well-written memorable novel from Australia is recommended for readers 10 to 14 years old.  [Australia; Bullying; Conduct of life; Cousins; Imagination; Individuality; Jealousy; Moving (Household); Parent and child; Schools]

“The things that make me different are the things that make me.”
– A.A. Milne, author of Winnie-the-Pooh

Feathers

Woodson, Jacqueline. Feathers. New York : Puffin Books, 2007.
Sixth-grade Frannie is reading a poem about hope in class. But there’s not much hope in her life. Her friend Samantha is becoming peculiar. The class bully is becoming more trouble. And the new boy, nicknamed ‘Jesus Boy’, says he’s not white but he sure looks like he’s white. What’s going to happen next? A novel for thoughtful readers 10 to 15 years old. [African- Americans; Bullying; Moving, Household; Racism; Schools]