Archive for the ‘Language Arts’ Category

Mechanics & Literature: January 2022

Brave Writer

In January’s Dart, Arrow, Boomerang, and Slingshot, circumstances have upended the lives of our protagonists. Now they’re looking for love and belonging as they rise to meet big challenges.

Get inspired by these characters’ savvy and spirit while exploring, in meaningful ways with your family:

  • writing,
  • mechanics,
  • and literary devices.

[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!]


 Wishtree
Dart (ages 8-10)

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

Trees can’t tell jokes, but they can certainly tell stories. . . .

Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood “wishtree”―people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches. Along with a crow named Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red’s hollows, this wishtree watches over the neighborhood.

You might say Red has seen it all.

Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red’s experience as a wishtree is more important than ever.

Funny, deep, warm, and nuanced, this is Katherine Applegate at her very best―writing from the heart, and from a completely unexpected point of view. ~Amazon

Purchase the book.

Get the Dart.


Front Desk
Arrow (ages 11-12)

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Mia Tang has a lot of secrets. Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests. Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed. Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language? It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?

Purchase the book.

Get the Arrow.


The Barren Grounds
Boomerang (ages 13-14)

The Barren Grounds by David A. Robertson

Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other, and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home — until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality, Askí, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only hunter supporting his starving community, Misewa, Ochek welcomes the human children, teaching them traditional ways to survive. But as the need for food becomes desperate, they embark on a dangerous mission. Accompanied by Arik, a sassy Squirrel they catch stealing from the trapline, they try to save Misewa before the icy grip of winter freezes everything — including them.

Purchase the book.

Get the Boomerang.


The Secret Life of Bees

The Secret Lives of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily’s fierce-hearted black “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina–a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sister, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come. ~Amazon

Purchase the book.

Get the Slingshot.


Brave Writer

Mechanics & Literature: December 2021

Brave Writer

Whether searching for home, new community connections, or a piece of the American Dream, the characters in this month’s Dart, Arrow, and Boomerang are all on a quest to find their place.

Read about it while exploring writing, mechanics, and literary devices in meaningful ways with your family.


[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!]


Brave Writer Dart
Dart (ages 8-10)

Heartwood Hotel: A True Home by Kallie George

When Mona the Mouse stumbles across the wondrous world of the Heartwood Hotel in the middle of a storm, she desperately hopes they’ll let her stay. As it turns out, Mona is precisely the maid they need at the grandest hotel in Fernwood Forest, where animals come from far and wide for safety, luxury, and comfort. But the Heartwood Hotel is not all acorn souffle and soft moss-lined beds. Danger lurks, and as it approaches, Mona finds that this hotel is more than a warm place to spend the night. It might also be a home.

This delightfully enticing start of a new chapter book series tells a tale of friendship, courage, and community, with exquisite black-and-white illustrations throughout. -Amazon

Purchase the book.

Get the Dart.


Brave Writer Arrow
Arrow (ages 11-12)

The Lion of Mars by Jennifer L. Holm

Bell has spent his whole life — all eleven years of it — on Mars. But he’s still just a regular kid — he loves cats, any kind of cake, and is curious about the secrets the adults in the US colony are keeping. Like, why don’t they have contact with anyone on the other Mars colonies? Why are they so isolated? When a virus breaks out and the grown-ups all fall ill, Bell and the other children are the only ones who can help. It’s up to Bell—a regular kid in a very different world—to uncover the truth and save his family . . . and possibly unite an entire planet. Mars may be a world far, far away, but in the hands of Jennifer L. Holm, beloved and bestselling author of The Fourteenth Goldfish, it can’t help but feel like home.

Purchase the book.

Get the Arrow.


Brave Writer Boomerang
Boomerang (ages 13-14)

Great American Short Stories (Dover Thrift Editions) edited by Paul Negri*

Featuring 19 of the finest works from the most distinguished writers in the American short-story tradition, this new compilation begins with Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1835 tale “Young Goodman Brown” and ranges across an entire century, concluding with Ernest Hemingway’s 1927 classic, “The Killers.” Other selections include Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Melville’s “Bartleby,” Harte’s “The Luck of Roaring Camp,” “To Build a Fire,” by Jack London, “The Real Thing” by Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Bernice Bobs Her Hair,” plus stories by Mark Twain, Sarah Orne Jewett, Charles Chesnutt, Kate Chopin, Stephen Crane, Willa Cather, Ambrose Bierce, Theodore Dreiser, and others.

*A note about this Boomerang: These stories touch on mature themes of human experience—love, unexpected windfall, but also danger, stolen luxuries, race, poverty, and death (including suicide in “Paul’s Case”). We highly recommend you preread each story before sharing it with your teen and review the content provided in the Boomerang to help you teach these stories in historical context.

Purchase the book.

Get the Boomerang.


Brave Writer

Cozy Reads for December

December Cozy Reads

We’ve got a big sale coming up on Cyber Monday! Biggest one in 3 years.

If you were wanting a complete language arts bundle, get ready now.

If you feel ready to jump into one of our writing project programs, do your research now!

Even more, we know how much you love a chance to stock up on Literature Singles—those amazing tools (Dart, Arrow, Boomerang, and Slingshot) we offer you to make teaching language arts natural and enjoyable.

There’s a “find the right product” selector on the home page of the store, too, if you need help.

For those who are new or are looking for some guidance, we’ve got a collection of options for you that feature December holidays and seasons.


Cozy December Reads

December is bursting with holidays! Whether you celebrate just one or many, it’s often a busy time of year. How can you enjoy a cozy and delight-filled time, while also making a dent in your homeschool plans? We can help!

We’ve gathered a selection of delightful reads that also happen to have Brave Writer mechanics and literature handbooks to accompany them.

Dart (ages 8–10)

Arrow (ages 11–12)

Boomerang (ages 13–14)

You get to snuggle on the couch, read an engaging book, connect with your kids, AND have the lesson planning done for you! Wins all around!

These handbooks cover:

  • grammar,
  • punctuation,
  • spelling and vocabulary, 
  • literary devices, 
  • writer’s craft, 
  • literary analysis (Boomerang), 
  • and include book club party ideas you may even want to incorporate into your holiday celebrations. 

Quick Tips for using these handbooks during the holidays: 

  • Select just one or two passages for copywork or dictation.
  • Simply discuss the passages and save the copywork for another time (revisiting books you’ve read before is great for recalling and reminiscing). 
  • Pick one book for the family to read aloud and adjust the copywork and dictation up or down for your children. 
  • Watch the movie then read the book. Compare the two. (This works especially well for the Boomerang-level books.) 

What’s that? You’ve read all of these titles! Check out the Literature Singles page for more choices—we have over 200 issues to choose from!


Brave Writer

Mechanics & Literature: November 2021

Mechanics and Literature November 2021

This month’s Dart, Arrow, Boomerang, and Slingshot feature journeys leading toward peace and belonging within community and nature.

We’ll observe how stories, both fiction and nonfiction, shape and shift our understanding of people’s experiences in the world.


[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!]


Dart Nov 2021
Ages 8-10

Peacemaker by Joseph Bruchac

Twelve-year-old Okwaho’s life has suddenly changed. While he and his best friend are out hunting, his friend is kidnapped by men from a neighboring tribal nation, and Okwaho barely escapes. Everyone in his village fears more raids and killings: The Five Nations of the Iroquois have been at war with one another for far too long, and no one can remember what it was like to live in peace.

Okwaho is so angry that he wants to seek revenge for his friend, but before he can retaliate, a visitor with a message of peace comes to him in the woods. The Peacemaker shares his lesson tales—stories that make Okwaho believe that this man can convince the leaders of the five fighting nations to set down their weapons. So many others agree with him. Can all of them come together to form the Iroquois Great League of Peace? -Amazon

Purchase the book.

Get the Dart.


Arrow Nov 2021
Ages 11-12

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Edited by award-winning and bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith, this collection of intersecting stories by both new and veteran Native writers bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride.

Native families from Nations across the continent gather at the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In a high school gym full of color and song, people dance, sell beadwork and books, and celebrate friendship and heritage. Young protagonists will meet relatives from faraway, mysterious strangers, and sometimes one another (plus one scrappy rez dog).

They are the heroes of their own stories. -Amazon

Purchase the book.

Get the Arrow.


Boomerang Nov 2021
Ages 13-14

The Sea in Winter by Christine Day

It’s been a hard year for Maisie Cannon, ever since she hurt her leg and could not keep up with her ballet training and auditions.

Her blended family is loving and supportive, but Maisie knows that they just can’t understand how hopeless she feels. With everything she’s dealing with, Maisie is not excited for their family midwinter road trip along the coast, near the Makah community where her mother grew up.

But soon, Maisie’s anxieties and dark moods start to hurt as much as the pain in her knee. How can she keep pretending to be strong when on the inside she feels as roiling and cold as the ocean? -Amazon

Purchase the book.

Get the Boomerang.


Slingshot Nov 2021
Ages 15-18

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise” (Elizabeth Gilbert).

Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings―asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass―offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices. In reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return. -Amazon

Purchase the book.

Get the Slingshot.


Brave Writer Language Arts

Mechanics & Literature: October 2021

Brave Writer

Friendship is the tie that binds October’s Dart, Arrow, and Boomerang.

Dig deep into the writing, mechanics, and literary devices that make stories sparkle. And watch friendships transformed by empathy and compassion as our protagonists navigate extreme circumstances, illness, and personality differences.


[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!]


Brave Writer Dart

Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake

Wallace and Gromit meets Winnie-the-Pooh in a fresh take on a classic odd-couple friendship, from Newbery Honor author Amy Timberlake with full-color and black-and-white illustrations throughout by Caldecott Medalist Jon Klassen.
 
No one wants a skunk.
 
They are unwelcome on front stoops. They should not linger in Important Rock Rooms. Skunks should never, ever be allowed to move in. But Skunk is Badger’s new roommate, and there is nothing Badger can do about it.
 
When Skunk plows into Badger’s life, everything Badger knows is upended. Tails are flipped. The wrong animal is sprayed. And why-oh-why are there so many chickens? ~Amazon

Purchase the book.

Get the Dart.


Brave Writer Arrow

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

For as long as ZJ can remember, his dad has been everyone’s hero. As a charming, talented pro football star, he’s as beloved to the neighborhood kids he plays with as he is to his millions of adoring sports fans. But lately, life at ZJ’s house is anything but charming. His dad is having trouble remembering things and seems to be angry all the time. ZJ’s mom explains it’s because of all the head injuries his dad sustained during his career. ZJ can understand that—but it doesn’t make the sting any less real when his own father forgets his name. As ZJ contemplates his new reality, he has to figure out how to hold on tight to family traditions and recollections of the glory days, all the while wondering what their past amounts to if his father can’t remember it. And most importantly, can those happy feelings ever be reclaimed when they are all so busy aching for the past? ~Amazon

Purchase the book.

Get the Arrow.


Brave Writer Boomerang

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

A refugee and child soldier challenge the rules of war in this coming-of-age novel set against the political and military backdrop of modern-day Burma.

Chiko isn’t a fighter by nature. He’s a book-loving Burmese boy whose father, a doctor, is in prison for resisting the government. Tu Reh, on the other hand, wants to fight for freedom after watching Burmese soldiers destroy his Karenni family’s home and bamboo fields. When Chiko is forced into the Burmese army and subsequently injured on a mission, the boys’ lives intersect. Timidity becomes courage and anger becomes compassion as both boys discover that everything is not as it seems. Mitali Perkins delivers a touching story about hopes, dreams, and the choices that define who we are. ~Amazon

Purchase the book.

Get the Boomerang.


Brave Writer