The 2017-18 Arrow Book Club opens for registration on July 31. The August Arrow Book Club begins on August 7 and the book discussion begins on August 14.

Read about the book titles in the 2017-2018 tab at the top of the page.

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, sometimes distracted.

When you finish, you ask curiosity 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 used a keyboard and transcribed their thoughts into writing–the kind you can print and save, read again and consider?

Due to popular demand, Brave Writer now offers a way to engage middlers (10-12) 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 (asynchronous, bulletin board style) for students to 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.

Let Brave Writer help you. These book discussions are drawn from entertaining works of fiction that your kids are sure to love!

Johannah Bogart, Julie’s 26 year old homeschooled daughter, and Mary Wilson, author of the book club “party school” ideas in each Arrow guide, will take turns teaching this class.”  They 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.


How it 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: $79.00

  • 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.

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 first.

AUG 2017

The Bad Beginning, Lemony Snicket. Illustrated by Brett Helquist. New York: HarperCollins, 1999. 162 pages.

“If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.” Despite this warning, Lemony Snicket’s thirteen volumes of woeful tales about the Baudelaire orphans, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, have maintained an enthusiastic audience since their first publication. Intrigue aplenty, dastardly deeds galore, yes, but at its heart this is the story of three siblings’ resilience and love, told by a writer with a keen wit. It was adapted to a feature film in 2004 and began airing as a Netflix series in 2017 slated to cover all thirteen books. Available as an audiobook read by Tim Curry.

Purchase the novel here.*

SEPT 2017

Esperanza Rising, Pam Muñoz Ryan. New York: Scholastic, 2000. 262 pages.

Forced to flee to California during the Great Depression, 13-year-old Esperanza and her mother leave behind their comfortable ranch in Mexico to settle in a camp for farm workers. Tough new circumstances demand that Esperanza find a way to rise and find her own strength. This title is available as an audiobook read by Trini Alvarado.

Purchase the novel here.*

OCT 2017

The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Kelly Barnhill. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Young Readers, 2016. 400 pages.

“Enmagicked” by a witch who feeds her moonlight while she’s an abandoned baby, Luna has a power that is mounting as her 13th birthday approaches. An intense, layered story of two heroines written by an author with a refreshing, lyrical voice. Available as an audiobook read by Christina Moore.

Purchase the novel here.* 

NOV 2017

Johnny Tremain, Esther Forbes. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011. 320 pages.

A 14-year-old apprentice silversmith who injures his hand and, forced to take work as a horse-boy and messenger, becomes involved in the events of the American Revolution stars in this classic tale that won the 1944 Newbery Medal. Real-life figures as Paul Revere, Sam and John Adams, John Hancock, and episodes including the Boston Tea Party and Paul Revere’s ride round out a historical novel that has remained popular since it was first published. This title is available as an audiobook read by Grace Conlin.

Purchase the novel here.* 

DEC 2017

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Grace Lin, with illustrations by the author. New York: Little, Brown, 2011. 278 pages.

Minli (a name that means “quick thinking”) lives in a hut with her parents at the foot of Fruitless Mountain. Wanting to improve her family’s fortune, Minli sets off on a quest full of magical creatures to seek help from the wise Old Man on the Moon. Fantasy, Chinese folklore, and family love combine in this tale of going and returning that appeals to young and older children Available as an audiobook read by Janet Song.

Purchase the novel here.* 

JAN 2018

Finn Family Moomintroll, by Tove Jansson, translated by Elizabeth Portch. New York: Square Fish/Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010. 176 pages.

Moomin Valley is a fanciful world created by the Finnish novelist and illustrator Tove Jansson in the years following World War II. Jansson created many books and comics devoted to Moomintroll and his parents (who look a bit like hippos), and their friends Snufkin, Little My, the Snork Maiden, the Hemulen, and many more. Generations of children have grown up with this eccentric tribe. We bet you can’t read just one! This title is available as an audiobook read by Hugh Laurie.

Purchase the novel here.* 

FEB 2018

Elijah of Buxton, Christopher Paul Curtis.

At a Canadian settlement of runaway slaves, eleven-year-old Elijah, the first child in town to be born free, is thought of as frightened and fragile. When a former slave steals money from Elijah’s friend, Elijah sets off on a perilous journey. Available as an audiobook read by Mirron Willis.

Purchase the novel here.* 

MAR 2018

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, e. l. konigsberg. Illustrated by the author. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2007. 168 pages.

Runaway Claudia Kincaid chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City as her cushy hideout, inviting her brother Jamie along. A mystery involving an angel statue leads Claudia to the eccentric Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. For anyone who has ever wanted to live in a museum! The audiobook version is read by Jill Clayburgh.  

Purchase the novel here.* 

APR 2018

The Red Pencil, Andrea Davis Pinkney. Illustrated by Shane W. Evans. 368 pages.

Amira must leave her Sudanese village after it is invaded by Janjaweed attackers and head to a refugee camp. Hope arrives in the form of a red pencil. Pinkney’s story is told in the first person by Amira, and in free verse. Available as an audiobook read by the author, Andrea Davis Pinkney.

Purchase the novel here.* 

MAY 2018

The Thing About Luck, Cynthia Kadohata. Illustrated by Julia Kuo. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2014. 304 pages.

Summer and her younger brother Jaz, their parents called away to care for relatives in Japan, go with their grandparents to harvest wheat. This story of a girl growing up is full of family warmth and humor—it’s also a detailed look at how grain is harvested. Available as an audiobook read by Joy Osmanski.

Purchase the novel here.* 

*Affiliate links.

Individual Month Custom

Select which months you’d like to enroll your student: $79.00/per month.

Payment by check #

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

Include:

  • Student name
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • The Arrow Book Club (months and books indicated please)

Refund Policy #

There is no refund after the class discussion begins. We will provide a full refund minus a $15.00 admin fee up until class starts. Contact Cindy: subscriptions@bravewriter.com

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 test it and agree!

Click here to login to a sample classroom.