The Bravest Word


How can Matt be depressed? Although he cannot focus and is exhausted and weepy, his mother thinks it’s all down to growing pains. After all, isn’t his mother someone who’s succeeded despite adversity, someone who’s the backbone of his family? How can Matt let her down? However, it’s like all the ‘puff’ has left Matt. Dad sees it. He knows that Matt’s drained. Then again, how can Matt face his friends, admit how he feels to himself. In fact face that word, The Bravest Word, Depression?

Could it be that the incidental discovery of an abandoned, desperate little dog could prove a lifeline for Matt? Is there anyway that Mum might agree to letting him live with them? Matt knows that in caring for Cliff, in helping him face the world with faith and trust, something might mend within him in turn.

Bookwagon loves The Bravest Word. Kate Foster demonstrates such empathy, understanding and insight in this thoughtful, truthful middle grade novel. We recommend this book to all emotionally intelligent, curious and aware readers.

CBCA Notable Book (Australia)

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The Bravest Word

Kate Foster

(Walker Books)

Something’s not right. However, Matt doesn’t understand why he’s feeling this way. It’s not only at football, where he struggles to focus, but at school, too. Then there’s the desperate need to cry, to sleep, to shut down. Matt overhears Dad talking to Mum. It seems ‘depression’ is mentioned. However Mum knocks this back. After all, children aren’t depressed, are they? Or could admitting to depression mean that Matt is facing up to The Bravest Word?
Kate Foster delighted Bookwagoneers with Paws. That book demonstrated this writer’s keen insightfulness, empathy and understanding. Again, with Matt’s story, we watch as Matt feels himself falling inward for which he feels such guilt. What’s more, he’s desperate to be loved and reassured by everything familiar about him. What about his friends? His neighbour, Jane? Then again, what about Dad and Mum? Furthermore, is there any way that Mum will recognise what Dad does, that bringing abandoned dog, Cliff, home from the shelter, is what Matt needs? In fact that through caring for Cliff, Matt has an outlet? Someone in whom to share all his fears?
Bookwagon recommends The Bravest Word to all emotionally mature, character driven readers. It is an assured and encouraging middle grade novel of such strength and with such meaning.


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