Some Kind of Courage

5 CDs. 5:19 hrs. Scholastic Audiobooks. 2016. $29. ISBN 9780545910125.
Gr 7 Up—Joseph Johnson prepares to leave the abusive man who took him in when his pa died, taking money that was owed him, his pa's gun, and little else, then sets out on foot for the larger city of Wenatchee, WA. Though Joseph's parents died too soon owing to frontier hardships, their teachings about kindness and fair play guide him as hurries to reclaim his sweet Sarah, the pony that is one of his only ties to his family. Joseph befriends a Chinese boy, despite widespread prejudice against Chinese immigrants working on the railroads, and together they tackle the challenges of navigating the 1890s Washington State wilderness, including bears, lost Wenatchi children, and raging rivers. Narrator Andrew Eiden's voice makes the dialect on the written page ("gonna," "gotta," "yammering," "ain't") flow smoothly to the ear. Joseph moves from one hair-raising adventure to the next, and (luckily for him) his kind and honest decisions consistently pay off. Everything resolves neatly in the end, and many readers will feel that Joseph earned every scrap of happiness that comes his way.
VERDICT A straightforward choice for schools looking to add historical fiction with a rural, rustic, and Western feel. ["Gemeinhart's riveting tale of grit and grief is equally tragic and triumphant": SLJ 11/15 review of the Scholastic book.]

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