by Sharon Creech (2004)

Heartbeat is the second book by Sharon Creech to tell a story through poetry. Creech’s “poems” are easy to read as they are actually beautiful prose sentences arranged in stanza form.

Heartbeat is the story of a 12-year-old girl grappling with the diversity of issues in her life: her mother is expecting a baby, her grandfather is losing his memory, she loves to run and to draw, she is stimulated by both her English class (in which she learns about footnotes and the thesaurus) and her drawing class (in which she is given a very interesting and challenging exercise), and she can’t quite figure out her feelings toward her best friend, Max (with whom she likes to run).

Creech’s achievement in this novel is to blend an impressive array of themes and tell a story in a brisk 180 pages – through the medium of unforgettable and accessible poetry.

Here is a link to a longer article praising the virtues of Sharon Creech’s Heartbeat: http://www.senorcafe.com/archives/literature/a_christmas_plu.html

"Kids were surprised to see me reading the book... they felt part of the community, it was like being part of a family. It made them happy and excited that even the adults were involved. It made the school feel connected... It connected us."

Ms. LaShonda DeBrill

Title 1 Reading Specialist, Broad Rock Elementary School, Virginia