Sweeping Up the Heart

Written by Kevin Henkes

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.

REVIEWS

“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)

“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’ latest story is, like most life changes, quiet yet momentous.” ALA Booklist