On My Bookshelf: As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds

September 10, 2018

As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds begins with question #460, immediately revealing Genie's curiosity about the world around him. His earnestness is contrasted by his smooth, almost fourteen year old older brother Ernie who is constantly wearing sunglasses. The two brothers spend a month of their summer at their grandparents' home in rural Virginia, worlds away from their life in Brooklyn. The elements of country and their grandparents' eccentricities provide one surprise after another for the brothers. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: Genie’s summer is full of surprises. The first is that he and his big brother, Ernie, are leaving Brooklyn for the very first time to spend the summer with their grandparents all the way in Virginia—in the COUNTRY! The second surprise comes when Genie figures out that their grandfather is blind. Thunderstruck, Genie peppers Grandpop with questions about how he hides it so well (besides wearing way cool Ray-Bans).

How does he match his clothes? Know where to walk? Cook with a gas stove? Pour a glass of sweet tea without spilling it? Genie thinks Grandpop must be the bravest guy he’s ever known, but he starts to notice that his grandfather never leaves the house—as in NEVER. And when he finds the secret room that Grandpop is always disappearing into—a room so full of songbirds and plants that it’s almost as if it’s been pulled inside-out—he begins to wonder if his grandfather is really so brave after all.

Then Ernie lets him down in the bravery department. It’s his fourteenth birthday, and, Grandpop says to become a man, you have to learn how to shoot a gun. Genie thinks that is AWESOME until he realizes Ernie has no interest in learning how to shoot. None. Nada. Dumbfounded by Ernie’s reluctance, Genie is left to wonder—is bravery and becoming a man only about proving something, or is it just as important to own up to what you won’t do?

As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds begins with question #460, immediately revealing Genie's curiosity about the world around him. His earnestness is contrasted by his smooth, almost fourteen year old older brother Ernie who is constantly wearing sunglasses. The two brothers spend a month of their summer at their grandparents' home in rural Virginia, worlds away from their life in Brooklyn. The elements of country and their grandparents' eccentricities provide one surprise after another for the brothers. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
Why I liked it: After reading Ghost and Patina, the first two installments in Jason Reynold's Track series, I was excited to read As Brave As You. The novel begins with question #460, immediately revealing Genie's curiosity about the world around him. His earnestness is contrasted by his smooth, almost fourteen year old older brother Ernie who is constantly wearing sunglasses. The two brothers spend a month of their summer at their grandparents' home in rural Virginia, worlds away from their life in Brooklyn. The elements of country and their grandparents' eccentricities provide one surprise after another for the brothers. Genie develops a special relationship with his blind grandfather, taking him on walks around the yard at night and caring for the barn swallows in his greenhouse-like room. Genie's kindness, thoughtfulness, and desire to do the right thing were refreshing to see in a male pre-teen character. 

Classroom application: The novel is appropriate for upper elementary through middle school. Your not-so-macho male students will connect with Genie. The novel touches on what it means to be brave and be yourself, how to forgive others, and even includes an anti-gun message. This reading group guide would be a great starting point for using it as a whole class or small group novel.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of As Brave As You for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds begins with question #460, immediately revealing Genie's curiosity about the world around him. His earnestness is contrasted by his smooth, almost fourteen year old older brother Ernie who is constantly wearing sunglasses. The two brothers spend a month of their summer at their grandparents' home in rural Virginia, worlds away from their life in Brooklyn. The elements of country and their grandparents' eccentricities provide one surprise after another for the brothers. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

You Might Also Like

0 comments