Creech, Sharon. (2004). Heartbeat. New York: Harper Collins.
Textbook Chapter 5
Possible Curriculum Connections: Middle school poetry unit on narrative poetry.
Heartbeat is a narrative poem written in book form about twelve year old Annie and the relationships she has with those around her. Annie's mom is expecting a baby, and the story tells how Annie at first fears having a baby sibling, but then gets excited as the birth gets closer. The book also highlights Annie's relationship with her grandfather, who appears to be suffering from Alzheimer's or dimentia, and sometimes does not remember important events in his life. Finally, the book tells about Annie's friendship with her friend Max, who struggles with loss in his life, but deals with that loss through running. Annie also finds joy in running. In the end, Annie's baby brother is born, and her grandfather gets to hold and enjoy the baby as well. Many of Annie's fears are relieved as the story progresses.
Personal Reaction/ Why Teens Would Want to Read this Novel:
I personally love Sharon Creech's books! She is one of my favorite authors. This book is a great mix of poetry and a narrative story, and it flows beautifully. I love reading her poetry books, and my students love them as well! Love that Dog, and Hate that Cat are two of my students' favorites, although they are written for a lower reading level. The story is interesting, and the poetry allows Annie to express her feelings in a different way than narrative writing would. I think teenagers would love this story because they can relate to Annie's fears and relationships. Annie is very mature for a twelve year old, and she is dealing with the birth of a new sibling and the aging of her grandfather, so her life is changing dramatically. Also, poetry is a great outlet for teens to express their thoughts and feelings, so this book may inspire those teens to pursue that further.