PAPER HEART by Aileen Arrington


Age Range: 9 - 12
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Sheltered by her mother from all normal activity because of a weak heart, Nadia’s disappointment when even the sixth-grade class play is off limits helps open the door to the discovery of just who is really sick. As a story for middle-grade readers, this puts a relatively positive spin on a disturbing subject: the kind of parental mental illness that sees and nurtures ill health in a perfectly normal child. Nadia’s mother’s problems arose as a panic response to her husband’s sudden and surprising fatal heart attack, rather than long-standing mental illness of her own, and Nadia has a sensible and loving aunt to care for her when her mother goes for treatment. Useful as part of a library collection in the same way other books about child abuse are useful—to alert some children that not all is ordinary or okay in their own home—the book also provides the kind of horrified fascination other stories about illness have for some young readers who will see what’s really happening long before Nadia and the adults in her life do. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-932425-61-6
Page count: 116pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2006


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