Happy Birthday, Donald J. Sobol!

Encyclopedia Brown Brave Writer Arrow Sale

In celebration of Donald J. Sobol’s birthday (October 4, 1924), we’re making a special offer! The Arrow for his novel, Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective, is:

HALF OFF until Friday at midnight EST! ($4.95)
OFFER HAS EXPIRED


[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!]


Born on October 4, 1924, in the Bronx, New York City, Sobol served in World War II before attending college and earning his bachelor’s degree. Among other things, Sobol worked as a reporter before beginning his career as a mystery writer.

Sobol is most known for authoring the Encyclopedia Brown series. The story follows the adventures of young sleuth Leroy “Encyclopedia” Brown and his friend Sally as they solve mysteries and foil schemes around their neighborhood. The first book in the series, Boy Detective, was published in 1963.

Donald J. Sobol passed away in July of 2012 at the age of 87. The final book in the series, Case of the Soccer Scheme, was published in 2012 posthumously.

Celebrate Sobol’s birthday and life and take advantage of this special offer!

If you’d like to buy a copy of the novel, it’s available through Amazon: Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective


The Arrow is the monthly digital product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel (you purchase or obtain the novels yourself). It’s geared toward children ages 8-11 and is an indispensable tool for parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.


Globe-Trotting + Homeschooling!

Brave Writer Podcast S3E3 Christina Celebi

Season 3 is off to a seismic start! The podcast blasted to the top of the iTunes charts for K-12 the first week already, and we’ve loved all your reviews and emails. Thanks for sharing the podcast with your friends. We appreciate you!

Episode 3: Christina Celebi!

This week’s episode features an adventurer! Meet Christina Celebi. She’s a homeschool mama who gets itchy feet. When she does, she and her husband pack up their tribe, and they head wherever the cheap airfares take them. I’m inspired by her bold vision and hope you will be too!

Even if you aren’t inclined to travel, there’s much to glean from Christina’s can-do spirit in this podcast. I hope you’ll listen along!

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the show notes here.

Download Show Notes

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Tune in to the Brave Writer podcast on iTunesStitcher (or your app of choice), and here on the Brave Writer blog.


Would you please post a review on iTunes for us? You’ll help a homeschooler like you find more joy in the journey when you do. Thanks in advance!


Friday Freewrite: If Trees Could Talk

Friday Freewrite If Trees Could Talk

If trees could talk, what would they say to each other?

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.


October in the Homeschool Alliance: Rethink Motivation

October in the Homeschool Alliance: Rethink Motivation

Who among us hasn’t worried at times about our kids’ motivation?

If your days sometime feel like a struggle to pull your kid through the learning process, then October in the The Homeschool Alliance is for you! Join us as we “Rethink Motivation” and explore how we can let go of our fears for our kids and utilize their own inherent interests and desires to help them become engaged in the world around them.


[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!]


We’ll explore ideas from Gretchen Rubin’s new book, The Four Tendencies, to gain insights into our kids and consider the myriad of other factors that come into play when it comes to motivation. Learn how you can work with your children to get things done, instead of feeling as if you are constantly working against them. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even learn a little bit about yourself in the process!

Our live webinars are great fun and a wonderful opportunity to ask all your specific questions about your particular kids.

Join us in October! You can join any time and leave any time. We will support you as we hash out parenting, learning, and living this lifestyle we call homeschooling.


Join the Homeschool Alliance!


Movie Wednesday: A Series of Unfortunate Events

Movie Wednesday A Series of Unfortunate Events

By Brave Writer Alum Amy Frantz

Don’t look! Stop reading now. Unless you are a strange person and enjoy stories about misfortune and mishaps befalling young people, then I suppose you may continue.

Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire suddenly find themselves orphaned when their parents die in a suspicious fire. They are sent to live with their “closest” relative Count Olaf, whose uninviting behavior is matched only by his dilapidated home and unreasonable list of chores he expects the children to perform. It soon becomes clear that Olaf’s intentions towards the children are sinister indeed–a phrase which here means “not with the Baudelaires’ best interests at heart”–in fact he just wants their fortune and will stop at nothing to get it. The children’s pleas for help are not taken seriously by the adults who surround them, leaving them to their own resourcefulness to escape the dreadful Olaf.


[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!]


The Bad Beginning, the first book in A Series of Unfortunate Events, was first published in 1999 by author Daniel Handler under the pseudonym—a word which here means “a fictitious name used by an author”—Lemony Snicket. In the books, Snicket is actually the fictional narrator of the Baudelaire children’s misfortunes and constantly advises the reader to stop reading (which really, you should do. Turn away now before it’s too late).

The books use a Gothic tone contrasted with exaggeratedly absurd events, while Snicket as the narrator maintains that his story is as true as it is unpleasant, bringing an element of whimsy to the otherwise bleak story.

In 2004 the first three books in the series were adapted into a film starring Jim Carrey as the nefarious Count Olaf. Behind-the-Scenes difficulties, however, prevented the making of any sequels.

But in 2017 Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events breathed new life into the story, adapting the first four novels of the Baudelaire children’s unhappy lives to screen.

The Bad Beginning was recently covered in the Arrow Book Club. If your kids wish to know more about the “misfortune, misery, and despair” of the Baudelaire orphans, for reasons which we here cannot fathom, then take this opportunity to deep dive into the filmed adaptations. Watch one or both and compare!

Discussion Questions

  • When the Baudelaires learn of their parents’ death, Snicket says that if you haven’t experienced what the children are experiencing, then you cannot imagine how they feel. Do you think this is true? Explain why or why not.
  • In the 2004 film, the events of the first book, The Bad Beginning, are split up and bookend the film instead of being kept together the way they are in the novel. How do you think this alters the characters’ journeys in the story?
  • The Netflix series adds in several scenes that aren’t in the books. Particularly Mr. Poe’s wife being more concerned with getting good headlines for the newspaper than actually caring about the newly orphaned children. How do you feel about these additions and what do you think they might be saying about society?
  • The film has an uplifting ending in stark contrast with the Netflix series, which maintains the ongoing nature of the Baudelaires’ unhappiness. Which way do you prefer the story to be told and why?
  • Which portrayal of Count Olaf do you find the most effective, Jim Carrey’s slapstick humor of the film or Neil Patrick Harris’ more subdued and sinister performance in the Netflix series? Explain your answer.

Additional Resources

How to make DIY A Series of Unfortunate Events themed mug, pillow, and notebook

The ArrowLearning language arts with the Bad Beginning Arrow!

The Arrow is the monthly digital product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel (you purchase or obtain the novels yourself). It’s geared toward children ages 8-11 and is an indispensable tool for parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.