Set to the cadences of bare feet running, hearts beating, Sharon Creech's jewel-like verse novel brings us 12-year-old Annie on the eve of becoming a big sister, of losing her grandfather to dementia, and of recognizing the changes in her relationship with best friend and fellow-runner, Max. While Max seems to be running away from his circumstances, Annie runs toward understanding and a sense of new possibilities, perhaps involving an artist's sketchpad. HEARTBEAT is a poignant and beautifully crafted story. Read it in one sitting to fully appreciate the impact of the verse form, and the resonance of the wonderfully layered images.
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