Some Kind of Courage


My students and I are BIG fans of Dan Gemeinhart. When he published The Honest Truth, I couldn’t wait to share it with my students.

dan gemeinhart

This novel of a boy with cancer who wants to make his own choices, tugged at my heart. I don’t have time to make many book trailers these days, but I made time for The Honest Truth. I convinced my husband to take me on a road trip to Mt. Rainier, so I could capture photos of the scenes in the book. I shared the finished trailer with Dan and he published it on his blog.

My students fell with it too, and soon even four copies weren’t enough to circulate in the library. They begged for me to see if we could Skype with Dan. He told us last spring about the new book he was doing the final edits on. We were all eager for January 2016 to come.

Then I switched schools and had a new group of students who had never read The Honest Truth. What would be their reaction to this fabulous book? Would it be similar to my last school? The answer is a resounding yes! Again, I had more students wanting to read this book than I had available in the library. Many students bought their own copies at our book fair and teachers bought copies too after hearing the buzz from their students.

So, when Some Kind of Courage was released in late January, I was eager and nervous to read it. I loved The Honest Truth so much, I was worried that Dan’s second book wouldn’t measure up to my expectations.

I was silly to worry. Dan scored again with Some Kind of Courage.

Set in 1890 in Eastern Washington state, this historical fiction book is the story of Joseph Johnson, a twelve year old boy in search of his beloved horse Sarah. Sarah is the only family he has after his father, mother and sister die. When Joseph finds out she has been sold, he is determined to get her back as fast as possible.

Joseph faces numerous obstacles along the way, but never gives up. Joseph is the kind of realistic character, that as a reader you feel like you know him, and feel his heartbreak at every turn. At many points I wanted to bring him home and go get that horse myself to put him out of his misery.

And that’s Dan’s gift. He knows how to create characters that you relate to emotionally. Every trial the main character faces hurts and each success is a celebration that you feel as much as the character. This historical adventure story will take you on a ride full of hope, angst, and courage. Bring a tissue, you might need it along the ride.

Some Kind of Courage

Dan Gemeinhart


Published by Scholastic Press 2016

Honest Truth Book trailer

Dan’s blog



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3 thoughts on “Some Kind of Courage

  1. Thanks for letting us know about this book.
    It sounds great. Josa is in grade seven now – is this book similar in reading level to The Honest Truth?

  2. Hi Mrs Hembree,

    Thanks to you letting me know about ‘The Honest Truth’, our Year 5 and 6 students love it too and it is now one of our Literature Circle books.

    I saw that Dan’s latest book ‘Some Kind of Courage” was out and I’m so glad it is just as good as his first book (and also has your recommendation). It’s great to see it is historical fiction. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for it here in Australia…

    Happy reading!

    Miss Y 🙂

    • Hello Miss Y,
      I am thrilled to read that your year 5 and 6 students are using the Honest Truth as a Lit Circle book! That speaks volumes about how kids are connecting to Dan’s story. I think they will enjoy Some Kind of Courage. When I get some extra time, I’m planning on making a trailer for it too. When I was in eastern Washington state recently, I took some photos of the area to use as setting photos in a trailer.
      I just purchased the TreeHouse series to add to my new library. I hope it becomes popular with my new group of students.
      Keep reading!
      Mrs. Hembree

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