Boomerang Book Club: February 2020

Boomerang Book Club

Looking for a great read for teens that is filled with potential for insightful Big Juicy Conversations? Look no further than Brave Writer’s online Boomerang Book 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!]


February’s selection (for ages 13-18): Unbound: A Novel in VerseAnn E. Burg. Scholastic Press, 2018. 352 pages.

Grace, a 9-year-old enslaved girl is sent to work in the Big House. Her mother warns her to keep her head down. Witnessing the heartlessness and hatefulness of the Master and Missus first-hand, it is increasingly difficult for strong-willed Grace to hold her tongue. A terrible chain of events is set off when Grace lets out the thoughts she has been holding inside. Grace’s story introduces readers to a little-known chapter in American history—the story of enslaved people who sought freedom in the Great Dismal Swamp, a region spanning the boards of Virginia and North Carolina.

Purchase the novel here.

Brave Writer book clubs provide thought-provoking questions, engagement with one of our talented writing coaches, and a safe place to have interactions online about a common interest: books!

Join us!

Boomerang Book Club

Arrow Book Club: February 2020

Arrow Book Club

Brave Writer offers a virtual living room space–where students gather to freely discuss the novels they read with you at home.


[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!]


February’s Arrow Book Club title (for ages 9-12): Stella by StarlightSharon Draper. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books Reprint Edition, 2016. 352 pages.

Stella is a brave, tenacious girl growing up in a segregated North Carolina town during the depression. When Sella and her brother witness the activity of the Ku Klux Klan late one night, it is a sign of unwelcome changes to come. As Stella struggles to find her purpose, her community grapples with the oppression perpetrated by the Klan members in town. This book about family, community, and hope is infused with a sense of time and place. Draper weaves song and dialect into the story to create vivid scenes that bring the story to life.

Purchase the novel here.

Join the Arrow Book Club and let Brave Writer do all the heavy lifting for you. All you need to do is provide the cookies!

Arrow Book Club

You Deserve Respect

You Deserve Respect

What’s the difference between empathy and accepting mistreatment?

Empathy is the capacity to imagine someone else’s perspective—how that person sees the world. It’s an important skill to foster peace-giving relationships. We use it every day with our kids. We imagine crankiness is hunger in disguise. We imagine a tantrum is a cry for one-on-one time. These are good solutions to childishness in most cases. Sometimes we are off target. The child has pinworms. Our empathetic imagined reason was wrong.

Empathy gets trickier as human beings age. We guess an angry smart-mouthed teen is masking a failure on the soccer field so we offer cheerleading and reminders about how the next game will be different. We get back biting rebukes and a surly look, only to find out much later it was a broken heart (first love rejection by text-invisible to us).
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In our compassion, we misdiagnose…frequently. Where empathy goes south is when your projection of what must be happening turns out to be a thinly veiled excuse for someone else’s mistreatment of you. If you’re a peace-keeper and peace-maker, the tool called empathy can be used to diminish your needs—for kind treatment, for respect, for communication. The focus becomes how to understand why they are being cruel or abusive or angry, using you as an emotional punching bag. You may think “My husband had a rough childhood” or “My friend had an alcoholic mother”—this is why they are going nuclear on me. I can empathize.

That capacity to see the source of pain is not, however, an excuse for their out of order behavior.

Instead of empathy, in that moment, show up for your own needs. Name them. “I can’t be yelled at right now. I need you to master this emotion before we talk about it.”
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You might say: “I told you what I need. I’m happy to discuss it. I will not be punished.”
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It’s respectful to not guess why someone is misbehaving as well. Empathy is not a diagnosis. It’s the willingness to not know why and to accept that how it is for them is not how it is for you. You still deserve to be handled with love and care, not their out of order cruelty.


This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!


Brave Writer Lifestyle

Friday Freewrite: Joint Effort

Friday Freewrite

Describe a time you accomplished a difficult task with the help of a partner.

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.


Training Tip: Out of the Ordinary

Training Tip: Skip into Science

Blend writing instruction and scientific curiosity!

Are homemade volcanoes, paper airplanes, and animal behavior your kind of thing? Want to become a better writer while finding out how the flu spreads or what it takes to make a high-speed train go faster?

Brave Writer’s Skip into Science class is popular with kids who are less about writing and more about

  • exploring,
  • analyzing,
  • and experimenting.

Writing gets tossed into the bargain. 

Training Tip

Our Skip into Science class… 

  • introduces students to formatted writing. Students pick from a variety of interesting project types.
  • allows your kids to choose topics of interest. This choice fuels a sense of ownership over their work.
  • keeps writing assignments short and manageable. We make sure we’re catching your child’s best moments—no burnout, breakdowns, or boredom!
  • offers plenty of support! Our writing coaches are masters of affirming, helpful feedback that your children want to receive.
  • cultivates writer’s voice. Students reveal their quirky interesting personalities in their writing for powerful connection to the reader.
  • ignites their love for learning. Academia is based on inquiry and curiosity—and it’s FUN!
Skip into Science