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Some Kind of Courage

di Dan Gemeinhart

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25617104,926 (4.26)1
In 1890 Washington the only family Joseph Johnson has left is his half-wild Indian pony, Sarah, so when she is sold by a man who has no right to do so, he sets out to get her back--and he plans to let nothing stop him in his quest.
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Another sad one, folks. There has to be a novel published in 2016 that isn't about death and/or other bummers, right? I did really (I mean really, really) like this one. But I'm still and ever weary of this theme.

Set in the late 19th century, this is historical fiction at its most exciting. Our 12-year-old hero Joseph is tragically orphaned and alone in rural Washington State. He goes on a quest with one goal: to get his horse, Sarah, back. She's all he has left in the world. Along the way, Joseph faces danger and forges a bond with another lost boy. In some ways this is very different from Gemeinhart's first book ([b:The Honest Truth|22571259|The Honest Truth|Dan Gemeinhart||27478077]) but both books have a strong emotional core and riveting (and, if I'm putting on my critic hat, kinda over-the-top) plots.

I grew very attached to Ah-Kee, the Chinese boy who, like Joseph, is all alone in the world. It says something about an author's abilities when they can create a fully realized character with no dialogue. Ah-Kee doesn't speak English and the story is told from Joseph's POV, so the reader doesn't know exactly what Ah-Kee is saying. (Just now, though, I'm realizing that Gemeinhart also does this with his animal characters. No dialogue, but lovable and well-drawn through action and description.) This book explores communication without a common language in a way that's both funny and meaningful. ( )
  LibrarianDest | Jan 3, 2024 |
Intense wild west adventure, set in Washington State in 1890. Chock full of tragedy and carrying on, but also full of respect and family and surprising new friends with amazing talents. Joseph dares to just keep going, he offers the lessons learned from his parents to the world around him (do what needs to be done, do the right thing, treat everyone you meet with respect) and that seems to hold him in good stead. Really enjoyed it. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
This was a family listen-aloud and enjoyable for all. Though intended for middle readers, it contains mature situations and content. Joseph Johnson is 12 years old (that part was a little hard to believe) and all alone -- his ma and younger sister Katie died of typhoid and his pa was killed before his eyes when their homesteading wagon overturned on top of him. His horse, Sarah, which is the only living thing remaining for him is sold by the drunk, lazy man who became Joseph's guardian in his father's last minutes alive. This story is Joseph's odyssey to get her back. He leaves with the money the drunk acquired, his father's pistol and his few meager clothes and travels a good part of the state of Washington in the late 1800s. His adventures include befriending a Chinese boy who is also all alone -- and the 2 travel together for a good while, fending off a grizzly bear, encountering American Indians, helping to deliver a baby for a frontier family, catching up to the no-account horse trader and taking on a wanted outlaw. Joseph is admirably wily, brave, and best of all, true to his parents' values and too-brief upbringing of him. He frequently recounts their advice and love and wisdom in the midst of these harrowing situations and acts accordingly even to those who have wronged him. Most impressive is the way the author tackles the prejudice of the time toward Chinese immigrants and Native Americans. This is a big-hearted book that requires some Kleenex and some time alone in the car. Great quote: "The loving is stronger than the missing." ( )
  CarrieWuj | Oct 24, 2020 |
Novel ini yang kurasa paling bagus dari ketiga novel karya Dan Gemeinhart yang sudah kubaca. Kalau dua novel sebelumnya saya tidak merasakan simpati ataupun empati pada para tokoh utamanya dan merasa sulit jatuh cinta pada karakter mereka, pada novel ini saya merasakan simpati atas perjuangan berat Joseph. Walaupun ada saat-saat dimana saya merasa jengkel juga pada Joseph. Kurasa karakter Joseph benar menggambarkan seorang pemuda yang terlalu tua untuk menjadi bocah dan seorang pemuda yang terlalu muda untuk menjadi lelaki. Didalam mengatasi masalah yang menerpanya dalam perjalanan Joseph selalu berusaha tegar, mandiri, dan bersikap selayaknya lelaki dan selalu ingat akan nasehat diajarkan ibunya sewaktu kecil yang membuat Joseph selalu tahu mana yang benar dan mana yang salah. Sehingga dia selalu mengambil keputusan yang baik dan benar. ( )
  Titut | Feb 10, 2020 |
Another great read for the Evergreen Book Award nominees... 12 yr old Joseph Johnson escapes his conniving drunkard of a guardian and goes on a journey to retrieve his beloved horse Sarah. Along the way he picks up a Chinese immigrant boy, and all sorts of adventures/challenges: attacking grizzly, challenging Indians to a horse race, long miles in the Washington wilderness, a crazy canoe trip down the Yakima River, a dangerous short ride on the side of a moving train, and even a showdown with a wanted outlaw. Even after he retrieves his long-suffering horse, and begins the journey back to Yakima there's a plot twist you don't see coming - a fast, easy reading book (chapters are rarely more than 12-13 pgs long) with lots of cliff hanger moments. Definitely could be a good read aloud book with no sexual content, only mild profanity, and only one violent scene, but not graphic at all. It was fun rooting for an admirable protagonist, & to recognize the Washington territory/towns of the late 19th century (all our eastern Wash readers can readily imagine!) ( )
  BDartnall | Feb 14, 2019 |
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In 1890 Washington the only family Joseph Johnson has left is his half-wild Indian pony, Sarah, so when she is sold by a man who has no right to do so, he sets out to get her back--and he plans to let nothing stop him in his quest.

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