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Sweeping Up the Heart
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Sweeping Up the Heart
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From two-time Newbery Honor and New York Times–bestselling author Kevin Henkes, this timeless novel about loss, loneliness, and friendship tells the story of the spring break that changes...
From two-time Newbery Honor and New York Times–bestselling author Kevin Henkes, this timeless novel about loss, loneliness, and friendship tells the story of the spring break that changes...
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  • From two-time Newbery Honor and New York Times–bestselling author Kevin Henkes, this timeless novel about loss, loneliness, and friendship tells the story of the spring break that changes seventh-grader Amelia Albright's life forever.

    Amelia Albright dreams about going to Florida for spring break like everyone else in her class, but her father—a cranky and stubborn English professor—has decided Florida is too much adventure.

    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.

About the Author-

  • Kevin Henkes is an award-winning author and illustrator of many books for children of all ages. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon; Caldecott Honors for Waiting and Owen; two Newbery Honors—one for Olive's Ocean and one for The Year of Billy Miller—and Geisel Honors for Waiting and Penny and Her Marble. His other books include Egg, Old Bear, A Good Day, Chrysanthemum, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. Kevin Henkes lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin. www.kevinhenkes.com

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    December 1, 2018
    A seventh-grader in 1999 wonders when her real life will start--this spring break, she'll find out.Her friend Natalie is spending a year in France, while Amelia's widowed, emotionally distant father won't even take her to Florida for one week! Love, support, and the excellent baking of their housekeeper, Mrs. O'Brien, a neighbor in her 70s, partly reconcile Amelia to staying home in Madison, Wisconsin, where at least she'll have time for creating ceramic animals at Louise's clay studio. At first Amelia's dismayed to find a strange boy there--it's Louise's nephew, Casey, visiting while his parents go on a retreat, hoping to save their failing marriage. Casey confesses that his campaign to keep them together isn't going well. Amelia can relate. Her mother died when Amelia was 2; with her father seldom home and Natalie in France, she feels unsettled and adrift. Active imaginations and shared creativity strengthen the preteens' bond. Spotting a woman who resembles Amelia, Casey suggests she could be her mother, possibly reborn. Pursuing this intriguing idea spawns unexpected developments that spur Amelia's emotional growth (reflected in the Emily Dickinson poem quoted in the title). Captured on the threshold of puberty's tumultuous changes, Amelia and Casey quiver with hope and longing. Like a Chinese brush painting made of words, this short novel distills the slow-building impatience of early adolescence down to its essence--not much happens, yet everything does. The primary cast presents white.Spare, luminous, lovely. (Historical fiction. 8-12)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from March 1, 2019

    Gr 4 Up-Amelia Albright wakes on the first day of her spring break with low expectations for a dull week at home. While she thinks everyone else is relaxing in Florida, her vacation turns out to be anything but ordinary. As Amelia strikes up an unexpected friendship with Casey, the nephew of the owner of the art studio Amelia frequents, she wavers on the edge of feelings she has never before experienced. Casey confides in Amelia about the emotional pain with which he's struggling as he watches his parents' marriage crumble. When the pair sees a woman around town resembling Amelia's deceased mother, they theorize she is the embodiment of her spirit. While Amelia becomes increasingly hopeful about the possibility of her mother still being alive, her father's guarded personal life threatens to upset the balance of their predictable family. Guided with love and understanding by her neighbor, Mrs. O'Brien, Amelia's heart will awaken to feelings of sorrow, love, and grace. A stunning realistic fiction novel, Amelia's story is woven tightly with themes of friendship, grief, and love. In his signature classic style, Henkes perfectly captures the hope paramount to the youthful heart, while honoring difficult themes with which young readers can identify. Readers struggling with difficult family situations will identify with the protagonists. VERDICT This smooth, compact, emotionally nuanced novel with relatable characters should be a first purchase for every library where readers' hearts are ready to melt.-Amy McInerney, Falmouth Elementary School, ME

    Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Lisa Flanagan's calm, uniform voice matches the tone of this sensitive story about two 12-year-olds who are navigating a new friendship and difficult emotions. Amelia's mother died when she was a baby, and her father is still emotionally distant and grieving. An artist, Amelia finds sanctuary is a nearby clay studio where she meets a kindred spirit in the owner's visiting nephew, Casey, whose parents are contemplating divorce. The story relies on observations of the characters' nuanced emotions rather than dialogue or fast-paced action, and this is where Flanagan shines. Her measured narration honors Henkes's lyrical language--but balances it with authentic, relatable portrayals of the two young people. S.C. � AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine
  • Booklist

    November 1, 2018
    Grades 3-6 A lonely girl's life changes over spring break in this understated novel from multi-award-winning Henkes. Adults think Amelia is a poor thing: her mother died when she was two, and her reserved English professor father spends a lot of time in his office. Her kind neighbor Mrs. O'Brien takes excellent care of her, but nevertheless, Amelia?who loves Emily Dickinson and making ceramic rabbits at the clay studio?knows that her life is rather constricted. But over spring break, Amelia meets Casey, who becomes the first boy to ever be her friend. She also realizes that a mysterious woman who looks like her dead mother might be following her. As Amelia discovers the mystery woman's identity, her world opens up in both exciting and scary ways. Amelia is a winning character: a dreamy, old soul who perfectly displays the naivety and the wisdom of growing up. Humor and lyrical language buoy the gently somber narrative. Henkes' latest story is, like most life changes, quiet yet momentous.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2018, American Library Association.)

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    Greenwillow Books
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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