- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Lexile Measure: 630 (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (September 25, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1419731408
- ISBN-13: 978-1419731402
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 65 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster Hardcover – September 25, 2018
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"Auxier wipes away the grime from a bleak chapter in history, where children were forced to work dangerous jobs that claimed many lives. He questions what makes one a monster and applauds helping others, activism, education, earthly marvels, and the possibility of magic. Nan’s fiery personality will attract readers like moths, and Auxier's unusual blend of mythology and history will keep them transfixed."
"This dazzling, warmhearted novel contemplates selflessness and saving, deep love and what makes a monster."
"Auxier (The Night Gardener, 2014, etc.) turns his imaginative whimsy and lyrical prose to a real historical horror; while never gratuitous, he does not shy away from the appalling conditions under which children labor, nor does he ignore the sacrifices and struggle to abolish the practice. The inclusion of two (possibly three) Jewish characters suggests the intertwining of anti-Semitism and class exploitation, while references to such authors as William Blake, Daniel Defoe, and Mary Shelley demonstrate how literature could fire imaginations and highlight oppression."
"The novel doesn’t inch from the difficulties of life for poor and orphaned children in nineteenth-century London, but its dominant tone is one of warmth . . . This bittersweet coming-of-age tale will leave readers with the notion that even young people can make a difference when they raise their voices about issues they care about."
"Weaving together strands of Jewish folklore (Nan calls Charlie a “soot golem”), Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, Shelley’s Frankenstein, the history of child-labor reform, and his own threads of magical realism, Auxier crafts a beautiful, hopeful story out of some ugly realities of nineteenth-century British life."
"Jonathan Auxier weaves a magical spell that draws readers right into the stark, gritty streets of Victorian London . . . Readers will be entranced."
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The story of Nan, the Sweep and her soot golem is one you won't soon forget. Its a story about parenthood but also (and maybe moreso if you're not me) friendship, child labor, death, helping others, abandonment, activism, magic, religion, hope and healing. It will touch your heart and is very hopeful and beautiful.
I've been a fan of Auxier since his first book was released. Often as I've read his stuff, I have questioned... "wow, did he just put that in a kids book? That's a little scary" or sad, or whatever and you know what, he does and it's what makes his stuff so good. It feels honest. Life can be creepy, or devastating. Books can help adults and kids alike process, celebrate, remember and hope. This is a book I'd recommend to every parent and mature kids either older (like 12), or younger ones who have known sadness/loss at too young an age. This book acknowledges grief but leaves a bit of room for magic and ends with hope. Brilliant.
Sweep is the story of Nan Sparrow, an orphaned chimney sweeper who spends her days performing a thankless — and wholly dangerous — job. After her “Sweep” leaves her, and after she almost loses her life in a chimney fire, Nan fears her days are numbered. But when she awakens in an abandoned attic and discovers a golem made of soot and ash in the room with her, she begins a new life full of hope, friendship and the courage to conquer her greatest challenges.
I love stories that teach without being didactic, ones that encourage you to make new discoveries every time you open their pages. Sweep is that and so much more - a book that tackles tough topics and follows Nan as she puts one foot in front of the other after facing so many unspeakable losses. Sweep is separated into two sections, appropriately called Innocence and Experience, and they so beautifully illuminate Nan’s journey from a guileless young child to a tween fraught with complicated questions and even more troubling realizations about society and her place within it. Why are children forced to work dangerous jobs? Why are kids losing their lives due to nothing but their unfortunate lot in life, and what on earth can she do to change it?
Simply put, Sweep is a feat. It is an adventure of the greatest kind, an ode to friendship, a discovery of self, and a testament to the power of one voice to create change. But my favorite part? Sweep excels in its exploration of “monsters,” finds tenderness in the terrifying, and combats all of our preconceived notions about the frightening things that keep us up at night. Exquisite - this masterpiece will stay with me for a long, long time.