Archive for the ‘Boomerang’ Category

A Surprise Package of New Ideas

A Surprise Package of New Ideas

Back in 2002, I dreaded opening a big thick textbook for any school subject. There’s something heavy about knowing you have 200+ pages of any program to get through, delivered all at once, to be parsed out correctly over ten months.

I had been using Family Fun magazine as my primary schooling inspiration in the 1990s, and loved it! Each month came fresh. Felt like a surprise package of good new ideas!

It dawned on me that we could do something similar for writing and education at home.

  • What if we picked one read aloud per month for the whole family?
  • What if all the language arts activities and practices were included in one package?
  • What if the practices could be modified up or down for a variety of ages and skills?

The Arrow was born—one book to read aloud, one family to listen, four copywork/dictation passages to adapt to all levels + notes in conversational English, one literary element explored, one writing activity to try. The Arrow spread like wildfire. I think you all felt relieved, just like I did. One month at a time.

I must have tapped into something because the Arrow quickly became our best-selling product (still is). We expanded to create similar products for other levels (the Boomerang is the higher level). And we’ve expanded the contents to include discussion questions and book club party ideas.

Today, the monthly Arrow and Boomerang run some 40 pages! We don’t leave you to figure out how to use them either. We provide detailed, user-friendly guidelines, too.

What’s cool is we’ve been at it for 18 years so we have a slew of single issues for a wide variety of titles. You can pick a book you want to read and buy an Arrow or Boomerang to go with it.

For under $12.00 (!), you will purchase a month’s worth of reading, writing, and language arts for multiple ages of kids, complete with guidance for how to grow your writers.

Check out the Single Issues of the Arrow and Boomerang in our store.

We have free samples (click on single issues pages) for you as well. All products are digital and can be printed at home or via any print shop if you prefer.

Tolkien Reading Day

Tolkien Reading Day 2020

March 25 is Tolkien Reading Day!

The Hobbit is by far our most popular Boomerang* language arts guide! Why? You might say, J. R. R. Tolkien has a bit of a following. (If you have a day, you’re popular! Just saying…)

Brave Writer is no exception in this matter: We’re fans!  

Not only did we accompany Bilbo on his uncomfortable adventure in The Hobbit through the Boomerang, but we’ve thrown a Hobbit-themed Poetry Teatime (with no cracked dishes or broken plates) and traveled with Bilbo there and back again on Movie Wednesday

Are you a Tolkien fan?

  • What’s your favorite Tolkien book?
  • Favorite Tolkien quote?
  • When did you first read Tolkien and what were your first thoughts?
  • What’s your fancy: books or movies? (Or: Both are awesome!)
  • What will you do to celebrate Tolkien Reading Day? 

Use the questions above for writing prompts! And feel free to share your family’s answers on our Facebook page.

*The Boomerang is a digital downloadable product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel. It is geared toward 8th to 10th graders (ages 12—advanced, 13-15) and is the indispensable tool for Brave Writer parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

Boomerang Book Club: April 2020

Boomerang Book Club

Rather than teens reading in isolation, without the benefit of examining the writing and the layers of meaning novelists intend their readers to experience, Brave Writer’s The Boomerang Book Club  provides a forum for that opportunity.

The book discussions are drawn from rich works of fiction that will easily fulfill the English credit requirement for literature for a year of high school.


[This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]


Look what we’re discussing in our April Boomerang Book Club (ages 13-18): The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani. Kokila, 2018. 272 pages.

This is the harrowing story of Nisha, a 12-year-old girl, who is half-Hindu, half-Muslim. As tensions rise after India gained independence from British rule, she finds herself in the middle of a conflict between Hindus and Muslims. India’s independence and the partition that followed disrupted Nisha’s idyllic life in what was to become Pakistan. She becomes a refugee and must flee the only home she has ever known. Along the way, she records her hopes and fears in a journal as letters to her mother—a mother who passed away while giving birth to Nisha and her twin brother. Nisha’s story is one of family, hope, and bravery. It gives readers a touching and insightful look at this tumultuous time in the region’s history.

Purchase the novel here.

Boomerang Book Club

Calling All Stargirl Fans

Calling Stargirl Fans

Stargirl fans! Grab your ukuleles, Stargirl is coming to the silver screen!

Well, okay—the small screen in your living room, but that’s not nearly as dramatic.

The Stargirl movie will release on Disney+ March 13th!

Tip: Find a friend with Disney+ and have a watch party with your teens.


[This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]


Not a Stargirl fan yet?

Prepare for the movie by reading the book —and dig deeper into the book with the Stargirl Boomerang (literature-based language arts guide)!

Brave Writer mom Christyn shared her experience working through the Stargirl Boomerang with her daughter:

Stargirl was a book and Boomerang selected on a whim, a last-minute addition to our fall semester…and I’m so glad I made that choice. The story of this smart and whimsical homeschooled teenager fit perfectly with our overarching theme of “identity” this year and opened up some poignant conversations, especially when paired with the Think Piece Questions.

My daughter and I both enjoyed the “Try It!” sections: Week One’s playing with metaphors was a favorite.

The Boomerang guided us deep into the book, drawing our attention to figurative language, setting, and dialogue, and a discussion of how the author’s specific choices enhanced the story.

The “Inside Scoop” and “Beyond the Passage” sections added another layer of insight and discussion. To paraphrase from the Week One dictation passage, I was perpetually astonished at the depth of the story that the Boomerang unlocked for us, but I never had to wonder what we might be missing: the Boomerang’s attention to detail covered everything the story had to offer.

We <3 Stargirl — and immediately ordered the sequel, “Love, Stargirl”!

Note: The “Inside Scoop” and “Beyond the Passage” sections were added to the Boomerangs in August 2019. 

Stargirl is a quick read with lots of topics to inspire Big Juicy Conversations with teens!

Grab the Stargirl Boomerang


What’s a Boomerang? Read on to learn more!

The Boomerang is your boots-on-the-ground master tour guide, intrepidly leading you through the challenging terrain of high school literature.

Our language arts field guides:

  • Choose a powerful novel to read
  • Select four insightful passages for copywork and dictation
  • Offer expert, easy-to-understand language notes for you and your teen
  • Guide students in literary analysis
  • Plan book club parties so you don’t have to (select issues)!

Boomerangs are available as

  • single issues or
  • a discounted 10 month program which includes a skills tracker, a weekly planner, and access to a private Facebook group for support and training.

Psst: The Boomerang program is also available in our bundles for teens!


Brave Writer Arrow and Boomerang Programs

Boomerang Book Club: March 2020

Boomerang Book Club

Did you know that we’re hosting live chats in our online book clubs?

Brave Writer coaches will post the day and time to invite kids to chat in real time as part of the club.


[This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]


Look what we’re discussing in our March Boomerang Book Club (ages 13-18): 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne. SDE Classics, 2018. 317 pages.

Undersea marvels await readers in this timeless classic. Verne’s novel brings Captain Nemo, Dr. Aronnax, and marine life that few had seen at the time to life on the page. Dr. Aronnax is torn between a desire for freedom from the confines of the Nautilus and the urge to join Captain Nemo on his adventures to the depths of the ocean. He considers spending his life on the Nautilus and is reluctant to leave, until a fateful night when Nemo does the unthinkable. The story highlights the clash between man and nature, and it introduces readers to the ideas of justifiable revenge and the fight for liberty—at any cost.

Purchase the novel here.

Boomerang Book Club