A man I helped to settle here
taught me a saying from Africa.
I’ll bet you would like it:
A cow is God with a wet nose.
Kek comes from Africa where he lived with his mother, father, and brother. But only he and his mother have survived. Now she’s missing, and Kek has been sent to a new home. In America, he sees snow for the first time, and feels its sting. He wonders if the people in this new place will be like the winter—cold and unkind. But slowly he makes friends: a girl in foster care, an old woman with a rundown farm, and a sweet, sad cow that reminds Kek of home. As he waits for word of his mother’s fate, Kek weathers the tough Minnesota winter by finding warmth in his new friendships, strength in his memories, and belief in his new country.
“Beautiful. Thank you for publishing this book. Thank Katherine Applegate for writing it.”—Karen Hesse
“Moving . . . Kek is both a representative of all immigrants and a character in his own right.”—School Library Journal, Starred Review
“Precise, highly accessible language evokes a wide range of emotions and simultaneously tells an initiation story. A memorable inside view of an outsider.”—Publishers Weekly
“This beautiful story of hope and resilience . . . is an almost lyrical story.”—Voice of Youth Advocates
“The boy’s first-person narrative is immediately accessible. Like Hanna Jansen’s Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With You, the focus on one child gets behind those news images of streaming refugees far away.”—Booklist
“The evocative spareness of the verse narrative will appeal to poetry lovers as well as reluctant readers and ESL students.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“. . . beautifully written in free verse . . . a thought-provoking book about a topic sure to evoke the empathy of readers.”—KLIATT