Paper Heart by Cat Patrick is a middle-grade novel about a young girl named Tess who is working through the heavy grief of her best friend, Colette. This book, which is the companion to Tornado Brain, takes the reader through the perspective of Tess, who is struggling from the loss of her best friend. It is the start of summer and Tess decides to attend an art camp away from her home in Wyoming with her aunt’s family. At first, she doesn’t know how she will go on each day with so much grief but day by day, she learns to start healing. Paper Heart isn’t just about grief and healing, it’s also about the sibling relationship between Tess and her twin sister, Frankie who is autistic, and how they navigate their relationship having two different perspectives.
Although Paper Heart is the sequel to Tornado Brain, it can stand alone as its own novel. Paper Heart is a powerful story about the realistic emotions of grief and moving forward. What I particularly like about Paper Heart is the embedding of self-talk that the author included. What is self-talk? According to Healthline, “Self-talk is something you do naturally throughout your waking hours. People are becoming more aware that positive self-talk is a powerful tool for increasing your self-confidence and curbing negative emotions. People who can master positive self-talk are thought to be more confident, motivated, and productive.” This is an important part of the story and also an important aspect of the book that can be discussed when reading the book together.
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When reading this book with your child or as a group there are many different topics to discuss. Here are some sample questions.
How does Tess feel when she arrives at her aunt and uncle’s house?
What is the relationship between Tess and her cousin, Kennedy?
What is the impact of self-talk on Tess’s confidence and overall grief?
How does Frankie play a role in Tess’s healing?
How do Tess’s new relationships help with her healing?
These are just a few to get you started!
About Cat Patrick
Cat Patrick is the author of Tornado Brain, a critically acclaimed Summer 2020 Kids’ Indie Next List selection, and several books for young adults, including Forgotten, Revived, and The Originals.
Cat lives outside of Seattle with her family but was born and raised in Wyoming. You can find her online at catpatrick.com.