I don’t know when I fell asleep, but I woke up wrapped in chrome yellow and Spanish red, feeling like that streak of blue was the core of myself worn as a token of love. —Emily X. R. Pan


Important note: We encourage adults to pre-read this book to determine its appropriateness for your family and teens, and to prepare to have discussions with your teens as they participate in the class.


The most colorful book we’ve ever included in our literary analysis line-up! You are going to love this reading experience.

Meet Leigh, a Taiwanese-American high school student with a bright future in art, who has just suffered a terrible loss. Grappling with her mother’s death by suicide, Leigh is trying to come to terms with her past and future. On top of it all, she’s developed confusing feelings for her best friend, Axel, right when she needs him the most. Supported by her new friend Caroline (who is on her own journey since coming out to her parents), Leigh learns you can get by with a little help from your friends.

This book is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for teens who love art, food, culture and the genre of magical realism. This is a YA novel with style that rivals poets and the great classic writers. Emily X. R. Pan indulges in rich metaphors and lush descriptions that transport the reader, page by page, to times past and worlds far away. We'll discuss her writing techniques as well as concepts like grief, language, identity and tradition.

Students will engage in lively discussion surrounding the plot points, literary devices, and reflections on the readings for each week. They’ll also engage in thoughtful reflection about how the book connects to their identities and the world we live in today.

IMPORTANT: To stay in sync with the pace of the class, students should read at least half of the novel before class begins.

The Astonishing Color of After is a highly readable yet layered story, touching on serious themes:

  • Parent death by suicide
  • Sexual references (though no descriptions of sex acts)

We invite parents to screen this book in order to determine if this story, its themes, and characters are right for their family. Be prepared to discuss sensitive topics with your students.

In Brave Writer, we select a wide range of essays and literature that include a variety of perspectives. Please be aware that you may experience strong reactions as you read. By using literature as a teaching tool to foster understanding and growth, you and your students have the opportunity to explore literary style as well as challenging content.

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.

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!