Bravery Book Club

Through a Critical Literacy Lens

Why Bravery?

Character Education is an important topic in our schools and works best when integrated throughout the curriculum. Book clubs can be an inroad into character education. Another bonus is by providing a broad theme, such as bravery, our students can examine a variety of world issues, and we can provide them with a range of book choices resulting, hopefully, in engagement in reading and their chosen topic.


Fiction has many purposes, but developing empathy by providing windows into the lives of others or acknowledging the self by giving our students mirrors to see themselves reflected back are two of the most important. Compound this with the accountable talk and the reduction of stigma or a deeper understanding of various issues could ensue.


We need to provide a wide range of books to appeal to all students, and when we introduce the books make sure we showcase the accessibility of the books for our students. Are they character-based versus plot-based books? What is the font-size? How much white space is there? Are audio options available? How will multiple narrators, time jumps and dialect impact students?


Make sure our students have the best chance of choosing a book they want to and can read in the timeline we provide!

All synopses are from Goodreads. Please click on the titles if you wish to read more.

Body Image, Beauty Pageants

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.
Dumplin' Book Trailer - Spirit of Texas Reading Program, High School, 2016

War, Child Soldiers

Michel is like many other five-year-olds: he has a loving family and spends his days going to school and playing soccer. But in 1993, the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Michel and his family live, is a country in tumult. One afternoon Michel and his friends are kidnapped by rebel militants and forced to become child soldiers. This is the basis of Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls are Used in War
Michel Chikwanine

Belonging, Poverty, Family

In The Outsiders, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for "social") has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers--until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc.
S.E. Hinton On Location in Tulsa

School Shootings, Friendship

Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The Hate List he used to pick his targets.
HATE LIST trailer

Dyslexia, Stigma, Strengths

In Fish in a Tree, Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.
Fish in a Tree book trailer

Resources, Child Labour

A boy and his friends must find a way to survive in the mining tunnels after their new space colony is attacked in this gritty action-adventure novel, MiNRs, which School Library Journal called “a solid survival story.”

In space. Underground. And out of time.
You may want to watch this video to know where to cut it off for your class...
Make Me Read 1x3: "MINRS” Kevin Sylvester versus DeAnne Smith

OCD, Anxiety, Friendship

OCDaniel is the back-up punter for the Erie Hills Elephants. Which really means he’s the water boy. He spends football practice perfectly arranging water cups—and hoping no one notices. Actually, he spends most of his time hoping no one notices his strange habits—he calls them Zaps: avoiding writing the number four, for example, or flipping a light switch on and off dozens of times over. He hopes no one notices that he’s crazy, especially his best friend Max, and Raya, the prettiest girl in school. His life gets weirder when another girl at school, who is unkindly nicknamed Psycho Sara, notices him for the first time. She doesn’t just notice him: she seems to peer through him.
Wesley King interview on Global TV on OCdaniel