The Truth About Brave

The Truth About Brave is the second book in the Wild Place Adventure Series

Synopsis of The Truth About Brave: 
Robin’s best friend, Zo-Zo, persuades her to raid a local chicken farm to see if it’s a ‘factory farm’. Robin hesitates for even though she’s deeply committed to animal welfare, she doesn’t want to upset her dad. Nonetheless, she agrees and that night, she, Zo-Zo and her brother, Squirm, all sneak out in the middle of the night.

At the farm, they are horrified by the cruel conditions of the chickens. Zo-Zo begins to let the chickens out. Farmer Higgins awakens and fires shots at them. Squirm has an asthma attack, but Robin and Zo-Zo manage somehow to drag him to the safety of the woods. They manage to scramble away, but in the ensuing days, Robin is frightened they will be caught.

Meanwhile, Robin is plagued by other worries. A public speaking assignment is given at school and Robin is terrified of standing up in front of the class. She considers not doing it and getting a failing mark.

Then she starts worrying about her sister who Robin suspects might have an eating disorder. Should she tell someone and risk her sister’s fury, or stand by and let her sister work it out?

As Robin flails around trying to figure out how to respond to these problems, she begins to read about kid heroes and realizes that true courage is more about being true to herself than performing heroic feats.


The Truth About Brave is the second book in the Wild Place Adventure Series


Excerpt from The Truth About Brave. This segment comes from Chapter Two, when Robin and her dad are heading out to rescue a bear…

The van jounced over potholes, pushing Robin against the door, then hard against her dad. By the time she’d righted herself, she could see the bear-hater guy up ahead. He was waiting for them, standing in front of a weathered looking farmhouse, his body as still and gnarled as an old stick stuck in the ground. A rifle was cradled in his arm like a sleeping kitten.

“He looks nice and friendly.”

At times Robin appreciated her dad’s sarcasm. This wasn’t one of them.

He put a restraining hand on her arm, to remind her to wait, then got out of the van. He walked towards the old man, thrusting his hand forward. “Mr. Smith?”

The guy turned away from the handshake.

Relentless growled. She was sitting on her haunches on the seat beside her, eyes riveted on the old man.

“Bastard,” Robin said aloud.  She liked to swear when she was alone and thought it was called for.

Robin scanned the yard for the bear and saw it hunkered down in the bushes off to the right. Its coat was black and glossy and it was licking its hip. Robin craned forward until she saw the blood. It was oozing out of him. She winced. The wound must be hurting the bear like crazy.

Something hot twisted in her belly. Why had the old man shot the bear? Because it ate some pies? What kind of stupid reason was that?

Her dad opened his bag and took out his anaesthetic kit. “I’d better get that bullet out before he loses more blood.”

Robin rolled her window down so she could hear better, but her eyes never left Mr. Smith’s fingers. She didn’t like how close they were to the trigger and the way they twitched. If she didn’t know better, she’d think the guy was going to shoot the bear a second time. But that didn’t make sense. If he was going to do that, why would he have brought them out here?

“The wife wanted to save him,” the old man said. “But I think we should put him out of his misery.”

“No misery,” her father said. “I can have him asleep in a couple of minutes. By the time he wakes up, he’ll be good as new.”

Her dad. Always such an optimist.

Robin’s legs jerked. She felt nervous.

Get out of the van, a voice inside her shouted. Protect the bear.

 That’s what her friend Zo-Zo would do. But then Zo-Zo was gutsy. Beside her, Robin looked like a complete fraidy-cat.

Her dad loaded the anaesthetic dart. “We can relocate him. Take him north. So you won’t have to worry about him coming back.”

The voice inside her was more insistent now. Go! Go, now! Don’t be such a wuss!

She felt as if she had a thousand screaming kids running around in the dark inside her. Should she get out of the van? All she’d have to do is stand between the man and the bear. The man wouldn’t shoot then, would he? But then her dad would be mad at her. And she hated it when he was mad at her.

She stayed in the van. But she knew that wasn’t because of her father. She was staying in the van because she was afraid. And that felt awful.

The man turned as if to put the rifle aside.

The bear moved and the man swung around, alarmed.

The air exploded. Robin’s skull knocked back against the wire caging behind the front seat. When she opened her eyes again, the bear was slumped and still. Her dad threw his arms out to the sides, palms up, like What the frig did you do that for?

The man shrugged and said, “Always wanted a bear rug.”

Her dad’s head spun to the side if he’d been slugged. With white knuckled fingers, he threw things into his vet bag and hurled it into the van. He climbed in, slamming the door so hard the metal rattled. He revved the engine, jammed it into gear and hurtled down the lane. Robin made herself take a breath. It was like pulling air through a straw.

“Christ!” her father spat.

Robin turned to him. His face was blotchy and the troughs under his eyes were wet. He dragged his sleeve along one eye and then the other.

“That was so unnecessary.”

She didn’t even try to speak. There would be no words anyway.

Rain began to plink against the windscreen. The wipers went flap, flap, flap.

Robin thought of the bear out there, having the blood washed off by the tears of the sky. At least now it was out of pain.

Her dad let out a long sigh. “We did the best we could.”

She pushed a word out of her mouth. “Yes.”

She could lie, too.

The Truth About Brave Audio Excerpt
In this excerpt, Robin and her best friend, Zo-Zo, think they might have seen a factory chicken farm in their area. Zo-Zo dares Robin and her brother Squirm to sneak out after midnight and check it out. Robin is afraid but agrees to do it.



Links to the Heroes in The Truth About BraveIn the book, Robin gives a speech about some ‘kid heroes’ who save animals and the environment.  Here are the websites of those she mentioned.


Jessica Watson:

At 17, Jessica Watson is the youngest girl ever to sail unassisted across the ocean. It took her over four months. There were days when the waves were so big, it looked like she was in a mountain range of water. She believes that just because something hasn’t been done before, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

Julia Hill:

Julia Hill lived hundreds of feet up a tree to stop the loggers from cutting it down. She lived in that tree for seven hundred and thirty-eight days, that’s over two whole years! She saved the tree she lived in and the ancient forest that surrounded it.

Ryan Hreljac:

At nineteen, Ryan Hreljac started saving his chore money so he could start building wells so people could have clean water in developing countries. When he had seventy dollars, he built his first well at a Primary School in Uganda. After that, he got so excited that he started the Ryan’s Well Foundation and has brought clean water to over six hundred thousand people. Ryan says his dream is for all of Africa to have clean water.

Hanna Taylor:

Hannah Taylor was only six when she saw a homeless person eating out of a garbage can. She was so grossed out that she organized a bake sale to raise money for a local homeless mission. After that, Hannah started the Ladybug Foundation and began collecting money in ‘ladybug jars’ for homeless people. Then she decided to go after what she calls “The Big Bosses” and has raised over one million dollars and now has a shelter named after her, called ‘Hanna’s Place’ in Winnipeg where she grew up.


Zander Srodes was eleven when he fell in love with Loggerhead Sea Turtles. These turtles can weigh up to three hundred and fifty pounds and measure three feet long. When he found out they were threatened with extinction, he started to give what he called “Turtle Talks,” where he told other kids about turtles and why there were so important. He’s now giving his talks all over the world. Thanks to Zander, this sea turtle might survive.