Courage is the story of a group of kids living on Chicago’s south side who have to face real lives with real courage.

T’Shawn Rodgers is twelve and determined to join the swimming team as a diver. Most of all, he’s determined to impress Carmela Rhodes, the hottest girl in the seventh grade (If you don’t believe she is all that, just ask her.)

Overcoming his initial fear of diving off a board is easy. Managing his fears about the return of his older brother from prison is another issue. Once he worshiped Lamont.  Lamont helped him deal with their father’s death from cancer and encouraged him to be strong. But that was before his brother placed him in danger. Now, after having spent two years in prison, Lamont returns as a scary stranger.

A series of thefts point a finger at his brother, but his own investigation leads him to believe Lamont might be innocent. But can he trust himself to believe his heart? Or does he protect his mother and sister from the danger that Lamont now represents?

Coming winter 2018 from Harper Children’s


Carmela, a police officer’s daughter who learns that relationship is not enough to keep her safe.

Dontae, the minister’s son, living life with Sickle Cell Disease

Linda, a domestic violence survivor dealing with self-esteem and trust issues.

Harmony, a biracial girl struggling to find her place in the world

Redmond, a homeless, friendless white boy struggling at a predominantly black school who thinks joining a gang is his only hope

Sammy, an adoptee from the Philippines willing to risk his own safety to make his new parents proud

Lamont, a twenty year old former gang member struggling to rejoin his family after being released from prison. He claims he’s changed, but he regularly sneaks out of the apartment at night, and there’s been an increase in gang activity since his return.

T’Shawn, Lamont’s younger brother, dealing with the unexpected early release of the brother he once worshiped and now fears, for very good reason. He’s prepared to do whatever he has to to protect his mother, sister, and friends from Lamont’s cruelty.

Each month will feature a profile of one of the characters in Courage.  September gave us Sickle Cell Awareness month, and a spotlight on Dontae.  For October, in honor of Domestic Violence awareness month and the damage that scourge takes on so many children, the spotlight shines on twelve-year-old Linda Murhasselt.

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