Click on the "2021-2022" tab above for details on our book titles.

Picture this: bean bag chairs, a box of LEGOS, your rocking chair. #

You read to your kids and they listen, taking it in, sometimes commenting as they keep their hands busy.

When you finish, you ask curious questions, like: “What do you think will happen next?” and “Who are you rooting for? Why?” and “Does this story remind you of any other book we’ve read?”

They answer—eager to share.

Now, picture this kind of conversation happening with lots of kids, all together, guided by a discussion leader who helps these kids take their answers deeper. Imagine that instead of talking out loud, these same kids use a keyboard and transcribe their thoughts into writing—the kind you can print and save, read again and consider.

Due to popular demand, Brave Writer offers a way to engage middlers (9-12) who want to discuss novels with their peers, who are ready to learn the art of thinking and writing simultaneously, all while excited about a great story!


The Skinny #

If I could host you all in my cozy living room, I would. Instead, Brave Writer provides you a virtual living room space—where students gather to freely discuss the novels they read with you at home.

The Arrow Book Club provides an online discussion space that is text-based and asynchronous, in a bulletin board style—like their own private forum! This way students learn to discuss literature using literary analysis vocabulary without the pressure of writing “essays.” Homeschool students especially need the chance to talk about what they read—yet the busy mother-of-many doesn’t always have time to take the discussion to a written form.


Continuing this year!

Our instructors will host "live" chats where everyone is invited to post in the classroom at the same time once a week. Students will have a taste of the in-person book club discussion experience as they exchange ideas in real time—and they'll do it all in writing!

Important Note: Live chat is an optional activity. The schedule will be set by the instructor according to the instructor's availability once class starts. If your child can't make live chat, there's plenty of discussion to be had in the classroom!


Our book discussions are drawn from entertaining works of fiction that your kids are sure to love!

Instructors will guide students in provocative discussion of the Arrow books. They'll coax, encourage, and expand how your middlers think about novels, all while providing an engaging dialogue partner to them.

Remember—in Brave Writer, we move incrementally.

  • First, we expose kids to great literature.
  • Second, we talk about it.
  • Third, we write about it freely without structure.
  • Fourth, we learn to write about it with structure.

The Arrow Book Club helps you with steps 1-3.

Your kids will both talk and write about literature without the imposition of specific writing forms.

We’re sneaky.

All that discussion will be put “into” writing but it will be invisible to them. They will feel like they are just “talking” when in fact they are writing! This rich experience of putting thoughts and insight into writing will create the foundation for applying the insights to academic formats later.


Here’s our list of captivating reads for 2021/2022! #

[This page 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!]

2021

August—Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston

September—Leon Garfield's Shakespeare Stories by Leon Garfield **NOTE: We'll read these stories from the book: Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, and Julius Caesar.

October—Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

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

December—The Lion of Mars by Jennifer L. Holm

Note: In December, we start discussion on December 1. Plan to read the first 1/3 of the book ahead of time!

2022

January—Front Desk by Kelly Yang

February—Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson and Kwame Alexander

March—The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden by Karina Yan Glaser

April—Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte

May—Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca


How Book Club Works #

Each enrolled student will receive a copy of the issue of the Arrow, to be used at home in conjunction with the club (the price of the Arrow is already included in the tuition for participation in the book club).

Monthly Tuition: $99.00

This is our only class with a regular discount. Sign up for more than one club and save!

$99.00/ individual month

$290/ 3 months

$475/ 5 months

  • Week 1: Students start reading the book. No discussion online.
  • Week 2: Students continue to read the book. The instructor posts discussion questions; students comment and discuss with each other and with the instructor.
  • Week 3: Students finish the book. More questions are posted with more discussion of literary elements, themes, plot, character development, and literary style.
  • Week 4: The last batch of questions are discussed. Students and instructor draw some conclusions about the novel on the whole. Students share a favorite quote (what we call a “Golden Line”); they explain to the class why they picked it.

Parents may print the online discussion and save it as evidence of work with each novel.

Time off will be granted for holidays.

Important Note: In Brave Writer, we read a wide range of essays and literature that address a wide variety of perspectives and that include time-bound references. By using literature as a teaching tool to foster understanding and growth, we have the opportunity to discuss these evolving ideologies.

We encourage you to pre-read books and essays to determine their appropriateness for your family and to prepare to have discussions on these topics with your students as they participate in the class.

For more information about how the classes are run, please read about online classes.

To explore our Brave Writer classroom, click here to access a sample class.

Important Note: In Brave Writer, we read a wide range of essays and literature that address a wide variety of perspectives and that include time-bound references. By using literature as a teaching tool to foster understanding and growth, we have the opportunity to discuss these evolving ideologies.

We encourage you to pre-read books and essays to determine their appropriateness for your family and to prepare to have discussions on these topics with your students as they participate in the class.

[This page 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!]

AUG 2021

Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston

Amari Peters has never stopped believing her missing brother, Quinton, is alive. Not even when the police told her otherwise, or when she got in trouble for standing up to bullies who said he was gone for good.

So when she finds a ticking briefcase in his closet, containing a nomination for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain the secretive organization holds the key to locating Quinton—if only she can wrap her head around the idea of magicians, fairies, aliens, and other supernatural creatures all being real.

Now she must compete for a spot against kids who’ve known about magic their whole lives. No matter how hard she tries, Amari can’t seem to escape their intense doubt and scrutiny—especially once her supernaturally enhanced talent is deemed “illegal.” With an evil magician threatening the supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she’s an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t stick it out and pass the tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.

SEPT 2021

Leon Garfield's Shakespeare Stories by Leon Garfield

**NOTE: We'll read these stories from the book: Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, and Julius Caesar.

How to introduce children to Shakespeare, not just to the stories behind the plays but to the richness of Shakespeare’s language and the depth of his characters: That’s the challenge that Leon Garfield, no slouch as a wordsmith himself, sets out to meet in his monumental and utterly absorbing Shakespeare Stories. Here twenty-one of the Bard’s plays are refashioned into stories that are true to the wit, the humor, the wisdom, the sublime heights, the terrifying depths, and above all the poetry of their great originals. Throughout, Garfield skillfully weaves in Shakespeare’s own words, accustoming young readers to language and lines that might at first seem forbiddingly unfamiliar. Leon Garfield’s Shakespeare Stories is an essential distillation—a truly Shakespearean tribute to Shakespeare’s genius and a delight for children and parents alike.

OCT 2021

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?

NOV 2021

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.

DEC 2021

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.

JAN 2022

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?

FEB 2022

Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson and Kwame Alexander

Before he was a household name, Cassius Clay was a kid with struggles like any other. Kwame Alexander and James Patterson join forces to vividly depict his life up to age seventeen in both prose and verse, including his childhood friends, struggles in school, the racism he faced, and his discovery of boxing.

MAR 2022

The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden by Karina Yan Glaser

While Isa is off at sleepaway orchestra camp, Jessie, Oliver, Hyacinth, and Laney are stuck at home in the brownstone with nothing to do but get on one another’s nerves. But when catastrophe strikes their beloved upstairs neighbor, their sleepy summer transforms in an instant as the Vanderbeeker children band together to do what they do best: make a plan. They will create the most magical healing garden in all of Harlem. In this companion to The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, experience the warmth of a family and their community as they work together to bring a little more beauty and kindness to the world, one thwarted plan at a time.

APR 2022

Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte

Mary Lambert has always felt safe and protected on her beloved island of Martha's Vineyard. Her great-great-grandfather was an early English settler and the first deaf islander. Now, over a hundred years later, many people there — including Mary — are deaf, and nearly everyone can communicate in sign language. Mary has never felt isolated. She is proud of her lineage. But recent events have delivered winds of change. Mary's brother died, leaving her family shattered. Tensions over land disputes are mounting between English settlers and the Wampanoag people. And a cunning young scientist has arrived, hoping to discover the origin of the island's prevalent deafness. His maniacal drive to find answers soon renders Mary a "live specimen" in a cruel experiment. Her struggle to save herself is at the core of this penetrating and poignant novel that probes our perceptions of ability and disability. It will make you forever question your own ideas about what is normal.

MAY 2022

Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca

Can Mimi undo the mayhem caused by her baking in this contemporary fantasy retelling of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream?

Eleven-year-old Mimi Mackson comes from a big Indian American family: Dad's a renowned food writer, Mom's a successful businesswoman, and her three older siblings all have their own respective accomplishments. It's easy to feel invisible in such an impressive family, but Mimi's dream of proving she's not the least talented member of her family seems possible when she discovers a contest at the new bakery in town. Plus, it'll start her on the path to becoming a celebrity chef like her culinary idol, Puffy Fay.

But when Mimi's dad returns from a business trip, he's mysteriously lost his highly honed sense of taste. Without his help, Mimi will never be able to bake something impressive enough to propel her to gastronomic fame.

Drawn into the woods behind her house by a strangely familiar song, Mimi meets Vik, a boy who brings her to parts of the forest she's never seen. Who knew there were banyan trees and wild boars in Massachusetts? Together they discover exotic ingredients and bake them into delectable and enchanting treats.

But as her dad acts stranger every day, and her siblings' romantic entanglements cause trouble in their town, Mimi begins to wonder whether the ingredients she and Vik found are somehow the cause of it all. She needs to use her skills, deductive and epicurean, to uncover what's happening. In the process, she learns that in life, as in baking, not everything is sweet.

JUNE 2022

TBA

Class Structure Description

Brave Writer online classes are specially designed with the busy homeschooling parent in mind. Classes last anywhere from four to six weeks. We offer courses that address a specific writing need so that you can take the ones that suit your family throughout the school year. Short class sessions enable you to work around family vacations, out-of-town swim meets, recovering from wisdom teeth removal, and visits from grandparents. We operate on the quarter system, including a summer session. Our most popular classes repeat each quarter, while others are seasonal.

Our classes meet in a customized online classroom, designed specifically to meet the needs of Brave Writer. Only registered students and the instructor have access to the classroom to ensure your privacy. Assignments and reading materials are posted by Brave Writer instructors each week (no additional supply fees necessary, unless otherwise indicated). Either you (homeschooling parent) or your child (homeschooling student) will visit the classroom daily at your convenience to read helpful information about the current topic or to find the writing assignment. We operate "asynchronously" (which means that the discussion is not live, but that posted information remains available to you in your time zone at your convenience). Instructors check the classroom throughout the day to answer questions and give feedback on writing.

Writing is done at home and then typed into the classroom, and shared with both the instructor and other classmates. You're not required to be online at any specific time of the day. We have students from all over the world participating in our classes so "live" discussion is impossible. Instead, the online classroom enables the instructor to post information and assignments when it is convenient to the instructor. Then, when it is convenient for you, you come to the classroom and read the latest postings.

Instructor feedback to student writing is offered for all participants to read. Writing questions are welcomed and encouraged! That's the point of class. We aim to give you immediate support as you face writing obstacles.

Brave Writer takes seriously the need for encouragement and emotional safety in writing. No student is ever at risk of being humiliated or mistreated. All online dialog is respectful and supportive of your child's process. This is the core of Brave Writer philosophy. You can read about Brave Writer values here.

What makes our program especially unique in the world of online education is that we value a corporate experience. Rather than teaching your child in a tutorial format, we prefer students to have the opportunity to both publish their work for an audience (other students) and also to have the chance to read other student writing. In no other setting is this possible. Schools-in-buildings rarely have students read each other's work. Homeschooled children are rarely in a classroom environment to begin with, so the opportunity to read peer-writing is nil.

Our classes provide an utterly unique experience in the world of writing instruction. Since most writers grow through emulation of good writing, it is a real advantage to Brave Writer kids to get the chance to read the writing of their fellow home-educated peers. They love it! They get to examine and internalize other ways of writing, analyzing and expressing ideas similar to their own. They have the chance to validate and cheer on their peers. And of course, the best part of all is that they receive the praise and affirmation of kids just like them.

Not only that, all instructor feedback is posted to the classroom for all students to read. That means your kids get the benefit of instructor comments on many papers, not just their own. We've noted that this style of instruction is especially effective and hope you'll agree!

To explore our Brave Writer classroom, click here to access a sample class.