Sweeping Up the Heart by Kevin Henkes

Published by Greenwillow Books

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Summary:  Amelia isn’t expecting much from her spring vacation week–as usual, her distant father is working, and her pleas to go to Florida have fallen on deaf ears.  She decides to hang out at the clay studio the first day, where her passion for sculpture helps her forget about her troubles. When she gets there, she meets Casey, the owner’s nephew, who is spending the vacation with his aunt while his parents try to salvage their marriage.  Casey and Amelia start hanging out at the coffee shop, making up stories about the people they see through the window. When a woman resembling Amelia appears, Casey plants the idea that she might be Amelia’s long-dead mother. The vacation week turns out to be different–and better–than Amelia expected as she enjoys her new friendship, embraces her art, and meets a woman who will change her future.  192 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  This spare, beautifully-written story will resonate with many tweens, as Casey and Amelia deal with familiar issues around families and friendship.  A possible Newbery contender.

Cons:  I find this kind of book–where most of the action is internal–difficult to book talk, yet I know many kids in my school would enjoy it.

If you would like to buy this book on Amazon, click here.

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