Sweeping Up the Heart
Now Amelia is stuck at home with him and her babysitter, the beloved Mrs. O’Brien. The week ahead promises to be boring, until Amelia meets Casey at her neighborhood art studio. Amelia has never been friends with a boy before, and the experience is both fraught and thrilling. When Casey claims to see the spirit of Amelia’s mother (who died ten years before), the pair embarks on an altogether different journey in their attempt to find her.
Using crisp, lyrical, literary writing and moments of humor and truth, award-winning author Kevin Henkes deftly captures how it feels to be almost thirteen.
With themes of family, death, grief, creativity, and loyalty, Sweeping Up the Heart is for readers of Kate DiCamillo, Rebecca Stead, Lauren Wolk, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, and Pam Muñoz Ryan.
I loved that this shows children doing ordinary, slightly boring things in the summer in a small town. I especially liked the pottery painting shop; there was one at the end of my street growing up, and while I only went there a couple of times with a friend, I thought it was fascinating!
Middle grade students struggling with divorce and parents who are involved in relationships is something I would like to see more in literature. This topic is especially well covered here, as it is in Schwartz's Smart cookie, Weston's Speed of Life, and Cherry's Ella Unleashed.
Henkes, better know for his picture books about exuberant mice like Lily's Purple Plastic Purse, has a long history of very touching books, like The Zebra Wall, Olive's Ocean, and Junonia.