Sweeping Up the Heart
Spring 2019 Kids Indie Next List
— Karen Briggs, The Booknook, East Talwas, MI
View the List
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. This middle grade novel is an excellent choice for tween readers in grades 5 to 6, especially during homeschooling. It’s a fun way to keep your child entertained and engaged while not in the classroom.
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.
Praise For Sweeping Up the Heart…
— New York Times Book Review
“A shimmering novel that touches on human frailty, the consolations of art, and the mysteries of growing up.”
— Wall Street Journal
“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. . . . Spare, luminous, lovely.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Henkes’s profound understanding of the adolescent heart and mind is evident . . . In economic prose, Henkes evokes the complexity of his characters’ emotions and relationships, and offers a feel-good resolution.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“In that confusing space between childhood and adulthood, Amelia finds comfort in talking to her beloved stuffed lamb even as she experiences her first crush and wonders ‘what kind of woman she would be when she grew up.’ The week’s cheerlessness morphs into something complex and important.”
— Horn Book (starred review)
“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. . . [A] smooth, compact, emotionally nuanced novel with relatable characters.”
— School Library Journal (starred review)
“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 . . . narrative. Henkes’s latest story is, like most life changes, quiet yet momentous.”
— ALA Booklist
“Henkes writes in still pools with occasional ripples, a clarity of approach that gives his writing immediacy along with precision. . .Readers will sympathize with [Amelia] as she negotiates some complicated human dynamics and comes out with more understanding.”
— Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Henkes is the master of quiet yet potent observation, and this slender novel sensitively maps the heart of a girl on the cusp of ‘whatever was still to come.’”
— Cleveland Plain Dealer
Greenwillow Books, 9780062852540, 192pp.
Publication Date: March 19, 2019
About the Author
Kevin Henkes has been praised both as a writer and as an illustrator and is the recipient of the Children’s Literature Legacy Award for his lasting contribution to literature for children. 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 Sun Flower Lion, A Parade of Elephants, Chrysanthemum, and the beloved Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse. Kevin Henkes lives with his family in a house in Madison, Wisconsin.