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Heartbeat
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About the Author

Sharon Creech has written twenty-one books for young people and is published in over twenty languages. Her books have received awards in both the U.S. and abroad, including the Newbery Medal for Walk Two Moons, the Newbery Honor for The Wanderer, and Great Britain's Carnegie Medal for Ruby Holler. Before beginning her writing career, Sharon Creech taught English for fifteen years in England and Switzerland. She and her husband now live in Maine, "lured there by our grandchildren," Creech says. www.sharoncreech.com

Reviews

Creech returns to the free-verse form she employed so successfully in Love That Dog for this insightful exploration of life's beginning and ending and the joys to be encountered on the journey. Twelve-year-old narrator Annie loves to run but has no interest in competing. She likes hearing the "thump-thump, thump-thump" of her bare feet hitting the damp grass, and running alongside her friend Max when he joins her, stride for stride. The running becomes a metaphor: Annie's grandfather who once loved to run is now growing forgetful; Max joins the track team and his wish to win drives a wedge between them; and Annie's father and pregnant mother take her with them to hear the baby's heartbeat ("a-whoosh-a-whoosh-a-whoosh/ very fast/ as if the alien baby/ must be running hard"). Annie describes her own heartbeat as "thump-THUMP, thump-THUMP," curiously close to the rhythm of her running. Through Annie's observations, Creech eloquently captures the contrast between the baby's embarkation on life and Grandpa's slow withdrawal from it: "It is as if/ he is evaporating/ or shrinking/ disappearing-/ little pieces vanishing each day/ while the alien baby/ grows bigger and bigger." Annie's growing interest in and talent for drawing becomes a theme that develops so subtly that readers may be surprised by the ways in which the threads of the novel come together for a fully satisfying conclusion. Ages 8-12. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Gr 4-7-The rhythms of a 12-year-old's life are expertly captured in this story told in free-verse poems. Annie's love of running and of drawing give her a means of release and help to see her through changes both small and profound. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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