This is the story of Kek, a young boy from Sudan who has witnessed the death of his father and brother along with countless other atrocities. The whereabouts of his mother are unknown.
After spending time in a refugee camp, he is sent to America to live with his aunt and older male cousin. He arrives in Minnesota in the dead of winter. It is his first time seeing snow.
On the way to his aunt's home from the airport, he sees a cow out in a field. He asks the gentleman from the agency if he will stop and let him see the cow. A bit reluctantly, he pulls to the side of the road and allows Kek some time with the cow. Little do we know how this cow will become to the story.
Of course, it was the idea of a cow helping a boy fit in that drew me to this book. It seems that in Sudan, cows are a very important part of life. As cow herders, a man's wealth and even his character can be sized up by his cows.
As difficult as the story is, there are also some funny moments. As you can imagine, trying to learn to live in a place so different from your own home could have some interesting consequences. Kek must learn to navigate not only the snow, but also public school, public transit, and modern conveniences like running water and washing machines.
I highly recommend Home of the Brave to anyone who believes in the impossible (or just loves cows). At the heart of this book is the notion that if you want a door to open, sometimes you just need to knock.