Lost Kites and Other Treasures

Abrams/Amulet. Feb. 2024. 272p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781419767999.
Gr 3-7–Twelve-year-old Franny Petroski lives with Nana in an apartment in New Jersey and enjoys creating art and spending time with her friends. But when Nana falls and breaks her leg, Franny's life drastically changes. Her estranged Uncle Gabe comes to help, and she starts to learn more about herself, family, and mother’s mental illness and incarceration. She learns that by sharing her feelings and fears, she can find ways to deal with the pain of loss and strengthen family bonds. Franny finds power in art and talking about her past as she forges new relationships with Nana and her uncle. She also learns that being true to herself and her past may mean changes in friendships. Carr’s first-person narrative features a well-developed character in Franny; readers will root for her from the beginning. Franny displays the complex emotions of a preteen dealing with complex issues. Carr’s thoughtful and nuanced representation of a family dealing with bipolar disorder and incarceration gives voice to readers who have similar issues.
VERDICT At times this book seems to have too many things going on, but the approach to mental health and family trauma makes it an important addition to any shelf.

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