Sarah's heavy heart by Peter Carnavas

cover image

New Frontier, 2009. ISBN 9781921042058.
(All ages) Recommended. Sarah has a heavy heart that she carries all the time, on the bus, in the playground, at the park. Although she knows she will always carry it, she wishes it wasn't such a burden as it makes things like sleeping and having a bath very difficult. Then she sees a small boy clutching a very light heart, which makes him float away. She makes friends with him and together they work out a solution to make their hearts behave.
Peter Carnavas' quirky characters are beautifully drawn, using watercolours and black ink outlines. Sarah's little pet turtle, a ground bound animal, appears with her on every page, and the little boy has a bird pet which flies along with his light heart. Children will have fun finding the little animals and following the big red heart.
This is a unique story. It explores the different emotions that people carry around with them. I found the idea of finding a friend to share a heavy heart with, hence bringing balance into life very thought provoking and complex, one to think about and ponder on. However, small children will enjoy Sarah's heavy heart as a read aloud and will love the gentle characters. Many discussions could be had about the meaning of friendship and love and what could give a person a heavy heart or a light heart. Better readers will be able to explore the gentle ideas themselves.
Teacher's notes are available.
Pat Pledger