The Boomerang

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On Sale in June, 2015

Skip to the 2015-2016 Book List


Target audience:

  • 7th to 10th grades (ages 12—advanced, 13-15)
  • Transition to Ownership stage of growth
    (Chapter 14 in The Writer’s Jungle).

It takes approximately 24 hours to activate your year long subscription or your monthly subscription to the Boomerang. You will hear from us via email with your login credentials once we’ve created your account.

What is the Boomerang?

The Boomerang is a monthly digital downloadable product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel. You may download a sample issue to view (and use!) by clicking on the “Download a Sample” button on the right.

It is the indispensable tool for Brave Writer parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context, using copywork and dictation. It is a language arts resource that equips you, the homeschooling parent, to fulfill your best intentions related to:

  • Spelling
  • Punctuation
  • Grammar
  • Literary elements
  • Quality living literature
  • Literary analysis

The practices of copywork and dictation teach your children the fundamentals of written communication. These practices naturally facilitate the development of accurate mechanics in the context of quality literature (the best words, in the best style, accurately edited).

The Skinny

  • Each month, the Boomerang features one classic novel to be read by the student.

  • Each week, it features a selected passage from that novel. The passages are accompanied by notes that detail spelling, punctuation, grammar and literary style elements found in the passage. These notes are designed to make it easy to pre-teach the passage (no advanced preparation necessary).

  • Each issue also provides Think Piece Questions that provoke deeper investigation of the novel’s themes, plot and characters. These questions are meant for both written and oral responses to provide students with the beginning of thoughtful literary analysis.

  • Each issue, students are reminded to keep a journal of favorite quotes from the novel. We call these Golden Lines. These are to be accompanied by thoughtful comments by the student.

The Boomerang introduces literary analysis through the practice of guided freewriting. Before we expect kids this age to marry formats to insight, we give them a chance to explore a variety of aspects of each novel in writing without the pressure of essay writing. If you want to give your students a chance to produce a specific writing product in response to some of our selected novels, we offer literary analysis classes.

You may subscribe to this school year’s Boomerang (new issues published on the 1st of each month), or buy them all at once (Complete Year Subscription for a reduced price) or you might like to buy them ala carte: Single Issues.

How do I use the Boomerang?

You and your child will read the passage out loud to hear the musicality of the language, to notice the correct use of apostrophes or semi-colons, to note new vocabulary and tricky spellings, to pay attention to the grammatical structure or the special dialog punctuation. The Boomerang supplies you with notes to help you notice what you might overlook in the passage. The Boomerang helps you identify why the writing works and is enjoyable to read, as well as highlighting excellent uses of punctuation or alliteration or description.

After you’ve enjoyed the passage together, your child will either copy it into a copy book attempting to reproduce it exactly, paying close attention to all of the spelling and mechanical demands of the passage (copywork), or you will read the passage to your child and he or she will write it out onto a sheet of paper while listening to you, attempting to remember how to punctuate and spell the passage correctly (dictation). Copywork/dictation done about once a week over several years does more to increase your child’s ability to punctuate and spell correctly than any other practice I’ve ever run across.

The French swear by it and use dictation from Kindergarten all the way through lyceé (high school). I had to take dictation in college when I attended a French university! One other benefit to a steady diet of copywork and dictation is that eventually your kids will be able to take clear notes during lectures in high school and/or college. They will have developed an ear for really listening to the words and writing them quickly as well as accurately. This skill (writing accurately and quickly) is especially valuable in timed essay writing—college admissions tests as well as in-class essay exams.

Consistent copywork/dictation practice allows you, the home educator, to use quality literature to cover the aspects of writing that you care most about without the tedium of workbook sentences isolated from the context of real writing.

How it Works

The Boomerang is a digital product only. We post each month’s issue in a private folder for subscribers. When you sign up, you are granted access to the private folder where the Boomerang is housed. You may then open the folder, download the current issue and print it. You have a month to access and retrieve your issue of the Boomerang. It does not exist in hard copy format.

You can order the ten-issue, year-long subscription to the Boomerang for a reduced price (issues cost $7.90 rather than $9.95). When you do, you have access to all the issues as they are posted throughout the year in that special online folder. What that means for you is that you can come back to the folder in January and re-download September’s issue if you’ve accidentally deleted the file off your computer. A wonderful bonus! You may sign up for the year long program at any time (August is fine, but so is November or March!). You will receive all ten issues as they are published on the first of the month (those already published will be in the online folder waiting for you).

Every subscription to the Boomerang includes a Guide that teaches you how to execute copywork and dictation practice, as well as how to modify dictation based on the age and stage of your student. Download a sample Boomerang by clicking on the “Download a sample PDF” button in the upper righthand portion of this page.

Be sure to consider pairing The Writer’s Jungle with The Boomerang in our Two-Product Package for a complete year’s worth of writing instruction. You won’t need anything else AND these two together will cover a range of ages and levels.

The Boomerang Book Club

For those of you who would like their kids to talk about these books with an enthusiastic Brave Writer community of kids, led by Johannah Bogart, check out The Boomerang Book Club. It’s a fabulous way to foster a literary imagination!

2015-2016 Boomerang Book List

IMG_5426 This list is available for whole-year purchase or monthly subscription starting June 1, 2015.

Year Long Subscriptions:

Starting June 1, 2015, the Writer’s Jungle Two Product Package and year-long subscriptions to the Boomerang will be subscribed to the 2015-2016 book list with the release of the first issue on August 1, 2015.

Monthly Subscriptions:

Monthly subscriptions begun before August 2015 will receive back issues of the Boomerang for June and/or July, depending of the start date of your subscription. The first issue of the new list will be posted on August 1, 2015.

About the Book List:

Books must be purchased by you separately.

Caveat: Please remember that you’re the parent. If you have doubts about the content of a particular book, please check the reviews of the novel or read it for yourself before you purchase the year-long subscription. Some books will have sexual content, profane language, and controversial social issues. It is up to you to be sure that your child is ready for the book’s content.

We don’t substitute issues when you order a year-long subscription so be sure you want every title.

If you’d prefer to subscribe to some books and not others, simply select the month-to-month subscription. You may cancel any time and resubscribe any time.

The ISBN numbers are only guidelines for locating the book. You are free to use a different edition for your homeschool.

August: The Sea of Monsters (Book #2); Rick Riordan
(ISBN-13: 978-0786856862)
Link for reviews.

The heroic son of Poseidon makes an action-packed comeback in the second must-read installment of Rick Riordan’s amazing young readers series.

September: I Am Malala; Malala Yousafzai
(ISBN-13: 978-0316322409)
Link for reviews.

I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.

October: Life of Pi; Yann Martel
(ISBN-13: 978-0156027328)
Link for reviews.

Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel published in 2001. The protagonist, Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, a Tamil boy from Pondicherry…[endures] 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a boat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

November: The Great Gatsby; F. Scott Fitzgerald
(ISBN-13: 978-0743273565)
Link for reviews.

A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, The Great Gatsby captured the spirit of the author’s generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology.

December: The Pearl; John Steinbeck
(ISBN-13: 978-0142000694)
Link for reviews.

Like his father and grandfather before him, Kino is a poor diver, gathering pearls from the gulf beds that once brought great wealth to the kings of Spain and now provide Kino, Juana, and their infant son with meager subsistence.

January: The Book Thief; Markus Zusak
(ISBN-13: 978-0375831003)
Link for reviews.

Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp.

February: Brown Girl Dreaming; Jacqueline Woodson
(ISBN-13: 978-0399252518)
Link for reviews.

National Book Award Winner: Jacqueline Woodson, one of today’s finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.

March: Paper Towns; John Green
(ISBN-13: 978-0142414934)
Link for reviews.

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar.

April: Things Fall Apart; Chinua Achebe
(ISBN-13: 978-0385474542)
Link for reviews.

THINGS FALL APART tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria.

May: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; Mark Haddon
(ISBN-13: 978-1400032716) Link for reviews.

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057.

2014-2015 Book List

available through the end of May.

August: Catching Fire; Suzanne Collins
(ISBN-13: 9780439023498)
Link for reviews.

In Catching Fire, the second novel in the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before…and surprising readers at every turn.

September: To Kill a Mockingbird; Harper Lee
(ISBN-13: 978-0061120084)
Link for reviews.

This regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.

October: What the Moon Saw; Laura Resau
(ISBN-13: 978-0440239574)
Link for reviews.

Out of the blue, 14-year-old Clara Luna receives a letter from her grandparents inviting her to spend the summer with them in Mexico. She has never met her fathers parents and he has not seen them since he left his homeland more than 20 years ago. Wary of visiting people she doesn’t know and yet frustrated and restless with her life at home, Clara embarks on the two-day journey to the remote village of Yucuyoo.

November: Lord of the Flies; William Golding
(ISBN-13: 978-0399501487)
Link for reviews.

Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies has established itself as a true classic.

December: The Call of the Wild/White Fang; Jack London
(ISBN-13: 978-0486269689)
Link for reviews.

Two classic nature-wilderness-survival tales set in Alaska by an American great: Jack London.

January: The Joy Luck Club; Amy Tan
(ISBN-13: 9780143038092)
Link for reviews.

Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who’s “saying” the stories, set in the US and China.

February: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry; Mildred D. Taylor
(ISBN-13: 9780140348934)
Link for reviews.

Newbery Medal Winner: Set in a small town in Mississippi at the height of the Depression, this powerful, moving novel deals with issues of prejudice, courage, and self-respect.

March: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian; Sherman Alexie
(ISBN-13: 9780316013680)
Link for reviews.

In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation.

April: Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl; Anne Frank
(ISBN-13: 978-0553296983)
Link for reviews.

Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.

May: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; Douglas Adams
(ISBN-13: 978-0345391803)
Link for reviews.

Join Douglas Adams’s hapless hero Arthur Dent as he travels the galaxy with his intrepid pal Ford Prefect, getting into horrible messes and generally wreaking hilarious havoc.

How to Purchase the Boomerang

The Boomerang can be purchased as a monthly automatic payment starting at the end of July. Sign up using the Paypal button for subscribers on the upper right side of this page. Each individual issue is $9.95.

Year Long
You may also purchase all ten issues at once for a reduced price: $99.00 for all ten issues. These will be published on the first of each month. Sign up here.

Or, send a check (made out to Brave Writer LLC) to the following address:

Brave Writer LLC
7723 Tyler’s Place Blvd. Ste. 165
West Chester, OH 45069

Be sure to state that you want the Boomerang and include both an email address and phone number.

Refund Policy

The discounted, year long price is a non-refundable subscription. If you aren’t sure whether or not the Boomerang is for you, sign up for the monthly subscription at the end of July so that you can cancel if you choose to or download the sample issue so that you may try it out first.