Mechanics & Literature: August 2023

Brave Writer

August’s Dart, Arrow, Boomerang, and Slingshot selections feature adventure-driven plots and strong protagonists. Buckle up for these adventures as you explore the writing, mechanics, and literary devices featured in these stories.

And this month’s Quill is a deep dive into the world of spectacular sea mammals! Make a splash as your family reads picture books, connects with nature, and explores food webs and biodiversity!

Brave Writer Quill
Quill (ages 5-7)

Under the Sea: Sea Mammals

In this Quill, we’ll:

  • explore book anatomy with a scavenger hunt;
  • spot similarities and discover differences;
  • spout off about our favorite marine mammals with descriptive narration;
  • polish fine motor skills with a few grains of sand; 
  • see how humans stack up to whales in an investigation of relative size; and
  • have a ton of fun comparing weights.

In the Brave Writer Book Shop, you’ll find books about sea mammals that we adore! These are not required (you can use any books about sea mammals you have in your stacks or find at your library), but we find it’s helpful to have a list to get you started! Check out the Under the Sea list to start curating your read-aloud stack! 

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Brave Writer Dart
Dart (ages 8-10)

Odder by Katherine Applegate

A playful, curious, daredevil otter makes for a lovable protagonist in this heartwarming and humorous story told in free verse.

This month’s literary device is verse novels. What are the characteristics of a verse novel? Lyrical beauty and lush language of poetry with the plot-based narrative are the backbone of this form. Join us in August for a closer look! 

Inside this Dart, we’ll also:

  • frolic with a perfect choice of adjectives;
  • get playful with parentheses;
  • cavort with conjunctions;
  • skylark with a series;
  • gambol with verbs;
  • smile over similes; and so much more! 

Purchase the book.

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Brave Writer Arrow
Arrow (ages 11-12)

Amari and the Great Game by B.B. Alston

Join Amari on an epic adventure to save her brother that could also determine the future of magiciankind. If you’ve just wrapped up vacation, this action-packed novel is the perfect way to jump back into your homeschooling routine!

August’s literary device is puns—an amusing form of wordplay that appeals to all ages!

In this Arrow we’ll also: 

  • set the scene with inventive information;
  • analyze useful, colorful, helpful adjectives
  • find out who’s who using job titles;
  • discuss dynamic dialogue and fill in the details with awesome action beats and attribution tags;
  • predict patterns while we examine possessive apostrophe-S;
  • get up and go with strong action verbs; and so much more! 

A note about content: Amari and the Great Game is the second novel in a series. It can be fully appreciated as a stand-alone story, but your child might also enjoy reading the book that preceded it, Amari and the Night Brothers, also an Arrow.

Purchase the book.

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Brave Writer Boomerang
Boomerang (ages 13-14)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

This suspenseful novel is sure to keep your family turning the pages!

In this Boomerangwe’ll

  • expose exposition;
  • wonder at withholding to create suspense;
  • dig into dialogue;
  • embrace the ellipsis
  • brush up on media literacy;
  • give a nod to adjectives and alliteration;and so much more!

A note about content: The Hunger Games is the first book in a dystopian fiction series that centers around family, friendship, loyalty, compassion, and courage. It deals with potentially charged topics around power and wealth. You, as the parent, can decide if this book is right for your family and how you want to engage in the discourse this book might spark. We encourage parents to read ahead in order to be prepared for deep conversations with teens.

Purchase the book.

Get the Boomerang.

Brave Writer Slingshot
Slingshot (ages 15-18)

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

This beloved classic is full of atmospheric writing, unforgettable characters, and so many literary points to unpack!

In this Slingshot, we’ll:

  • connect with careful character analysis
  • dig through dialogues
  • ruminate over rhetorical questions
  • promenade through punctuation fashions
  • envision visual images of hope and despair, 
  • use synecdoche to see how parts stand in for the whole, and much more.

A note about content: People all over the world or in distant eras are products of the society in which they live. They are susceptible to the norms of their cultures, as are every one of us, for better or for worse. In choosing to include this classic (and time-bound) selection in the Slingshot collection, we open the door to big juicy conversations that contribute to the greater dialogue about racism, sexism, socioeconomic differences, or other prejudices held in the past and, in some quarters, to this day. By using classic literature as a teaching tool to foster understanding and growth, the intimate nature of language and history blend to provide a context in which to discuss these evolving ideologies. You, as the parent, can decide how far you want to step into the room of discourse with your teens as you explore this work.

Purchase the book.

Get the Slingshot.

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