I came across a book that my son was reading called “The Outcasts”, part of John Flannagan’s “Brotherband Chronicles” series. This series continues adventures within the world he brought to life in the “Ranger’s Apprentice” series.
If you have a Webelos or young scout (or maybe even an older scout that likes good adventure stories!), the Ranger’s Apprentice series will bring to life all of the adventure, wood craft and code of honor that they signed up with scouts to be a part of. But this post is about “The Outcasts”.
The book follows the story of Hal, a young Viking kid who is kind of an outsider without many friends. His best friends are Stig, the son of a disgraced thief and Thorn, the town drunk. When Hal and Stig become of age, they go to a “boot camp for Vikings” called “Brother Band Training” where they learn all they are going to need to know to be men in their community. During this training, Hal builds a group of misfit or “Outcast” viking kids that didn’t fit in into a well developed team that beats the other, more “popular” kids in the other Brother Bands at all kinds of skill contests and events.
I thought the story was ok (my kid really liked it!), and the writing is along the lines of Harry Potter level, but what intrigued me most is the detail that Flanagan put into the team building concept. Instead of focusing on weaknesses, Hal put everyone’s talents to use. He explained the “why” to his team members and got them to buy into his vision. They planned and organized prior to setting out and they dared to do more than they had to. The Brother Band that Hal built is the Patrol that every scout wants to be a part of.
I recommend this book to the young scouts in our troop that enjoy reading. I don’t think any of them get out of it what I did, but the more exposure to these concepts the better right?