Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave
by Jen White
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (June 9, 2015)
Fiction * Sisters * Single-Parent Families
Reading Guide | Teacher's Guide | Read Chapter 1
IndieBound | WorldCat
Description from GoodReads:
After their mother's recent death, twelve-year-old Liberty and her eight-year-old sister, Billie, are sent to live with their father, who they haven't seen since they were very young. Things are great at first; the girls are so excited to get to know their father – a traveling photographer who rides around in an RV. But soon, the pressure becomes too much for him, and he abandons them at the Jiffy Company Gas Station.
Instead of moping around and being scared, Liberty takes matters into her own hands. On their journey to get home, they encounter a shady, bald-headed gas station attendant, a full-body tattooed trucker, free Continental breakfast, a kid obsessed with Star Wars, a woman who lives with rats, and a host of other situations.
When all seems lost, they get some help from an unlikely source, and end up learning that sometimes you have to get a little bit lost to be found.
My favorite 5 Survival Strategies from SURVIVAL STRATEGIES OF THE ALMOST BRAVE:
Throughout Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave, Liberty carries a notebook. Each chapter heading corresponds with one of the survival strategies that Liberty writes in her notebook or uses to care for her and her sister. Here are 5 of my favorites....
Survival Strategy # 3: BLUE SKIES DO NOT MEAN HAPPINESS - The book begins shortly after Liberty and Billie have lost their mother. Even at a young age, Liberty learns that the sky can be a perfect blue and the weather the best beach day ever despite life feeling so stormy.
Survival Strategy # 11: SOMETIMES YOU SHOULD FEEL SORRY FOR THE COBRA- Liberty and Billie's father left when the girls were very young. Since he is a photographer for National Geographic, Liberty watches animal programs to have something to speak with him if she were to see him again. After her mom's death, they are reunited with their dad. An interesting animal fact, snake charmers sew together a cobra's mouth because venom is poisonous. The knowledge of learning how to behave around cobras becomes an analogy for learning about how to act around her dad. In life, we all have people we have to learn how to behave around, but like cobras, maybe we should feel sorry for them?
Survival Strategy # 16: IF IT'S GOOD ENOUGH FOR A SEA TURTLE, IT MIGHT BE GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU - I like sea turtles and enjoyed the various references that Liberty would make about sea turtles. At one point, after her father abandoned her and Billie, she talked about instinct and how baby sea turtles knew what to do. Will Liberty know by instinct how to care for herself and Billie?
Survival Strategy # 20: PANIC IS NOT YOUR FRIEND - As someone prone to anxiety and worry, I usually say "anxiety is not your friend". Panic, similar to anxiety, is never helpful in a stressful situation. Liberty has to figure out how to care for herself and her sister, Billie. In a tough situation, she must remain calm rather than panic, even when Billie has a meltdown.
Survival Strategy # 41: DR PEPPER CAN RUIN EVERYTHING - I partially picked this one because Dr Pepper is my least favorite soda, so in my mind it does ruin everything. However, Liberty shares about an incident involving Dr Pepper and an accidental spill all over her father's maps and magazines. This event was emotional and pivotal. In all of our lives, we can identify something that may be mundane but becomes the symbol for something much more significant. For Liberty and Billie, Dr Pepper was that pivotal moment.
Look for SURVIVAL STRATEGIES OF THE ALMOST BRAVE by Jen White at your local indie bookstore or public library to read more about Liberty, Billie and their survival strategies.
Check out the interview with Jen White at Read Now Sleep Later, click here.
About the author:
Jen White grew up in California, the oldest of five siblings. In kindergarten, during a parent/teacher conference, her teacher told her mother, “She’s a little bossy.” Unfortunately, Jen thinks that same assessment might still be made today. She blames it on birth order. When she was young she wanted to become an author and a teacher. One of her earliest memories was learning how to read. She remembers how excited she was when she realized she could read the signs she saw through the window when she was in the car with her mother. She also remembers how her stomach hurt when she read out loud because she read with such gusto.
Jen has a degree in English teaching and also earned her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in writing for children and young adults. SURVIVAL STRATEGIES OF THE ALMOST BRAVE is her debut novel and was born from the real experience of Jen being accidentally forgotten at a gas station with her younger sister and cousin. Jen currently tries not to boss around her five children and husband in San Clemente, California. You can find Jen White on Twitter: @jenwhite_ | Tumblr | Website
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