Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate Discussion Questions

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

'Home of the Brave' is a novel by Katherine Applegate about a young Sudanese boy who emigrates to the United States. These questions can help your students work through their thoughts and feelings about this book.

Home of the Brave

Home of the Brave is a 2007 young-adult novel by American author Katherine Applegate. The story follows a young boy named Kek as he relocates from Sudan to Minnesota and must try to find a new life in the United States. These questions can help guide your class through a discussion about this novel's characters, plot, and themes.

Questions about Characters and Plot

  • Who is the main protagonist of Home of the Brave? How are we introduced to Kek? What are some of the first things we learn about him? How does he present himself? How do you think he would describe himself? How would you describe Kek's personality? Where is this shown in the story?
  • In one sentence, explain the plot of Home of the Brave. What is this novel about? What is the central conflict? How is that established? How is it developed?
  • Kek's story is one of being constantly exposed to new things. What is one of the very first examples of this in the book? What do you think it would be like to experience winter and cold for the first time? How does the author use the time of year and setting as a metaphor for Kek's worries and expectations?
  • Winter is not the only new thing that Kek is exposed to. In your opinion, what three other new things had the biggest impact on Kek? What is he exposed to? How does he handle it? How does this influence him?
  • At the start of the novel, what does Kek want and need? How does this develop throughout the story? What else does he find that he wants and needs? What sorts of relationships is he able to form? How is he able to do this?
  • What does Kek represent to other characters in this novel? What does he represent to Dave, Lou, Hannah, Nyatal, and Ganwar? What do they represent to him? What about Gol?
  • What is the climax of this novel? How did the conflict reach this point? How is the conflict resolved? What is resolved? What isn't? What did you think of the novel's ending? How has Kek changed and grown? What is a sign of this?

Questions about Structure

  • What perspective is used to tell this story? What are the advantages of using the first person perspective? What are the risks?
  • Have you ever seen the first person perspective used like this before? What does it remind you of? Why do you think the author writes this way, dividing the lines into poetry-like stanzas? How does this influence the way we see Kek? How does this impact the way we view his personality? What does this tell us about him? How does this reinforce ideas about language and culture?

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