Where the Heart Is by Jo Knowles

Hello, Jo Knowles! Welcome to Watch. Connect. Read. Thank you for dropping by to celebrate Where the Heart Is. What ran through your head (or heart) the first time you saw Pam Consolazio's cover design for Where the Heart Is?

Jo Knowles: Here's what I sent my editor when she shared the cover concept: "I'm in love. SOOooooo in love!" Pam's design reflects the tone and theme of the book perfectly. I love all the elements from the story she managed to incorporate, right down to the flashlight on Rachel's bike! 

Scenario: You’re grocery shopping at your favorite local grocery store when someone stops you and says, “My son’s favorite book is See You at Harry’s. Thank you so much for writing it. My son keeps checking to see when your next novel comes out. Can you tell me anything about it?”

You say…

Jo Knowles: Thank you for asking! My next novel, Where The Heart Is, comes out in April. I think readers of See You At Harry's will enjoy the humor as well as the more serious side of the story about a family in financial crisis and a girl exploring her identity and the rift this causes with her best friend. Like See You At Harry's, a lot of this story comes from my own childhood experiences--this time working for a quirky "farm" across the street and having a love-hate relationship with the pig I fed every day. And, just like in the book, I had to walk a baby steer on a leash!

Please finish these sentence starters:

I hope Where the Heart Is will help kids feel less alone, as well as have more compassion for people going through similar challenges.

School libraries and the librarians who manage them are essential to education. We must support them however we can. I fear we don't value trained librarians nearly enough. And we really must. I will never forget the librarians who helped me find books that were "just right for me" when I was a child and teen. These books often made me cry, feel scared, or get angry--but always they opened my eyes, heart and mind. They helped shaped my life and how I see the world. I would not be a writer today if not for the teachers and librarians who put these books in my hands.

Story is essential for growing and learning and becoming more thoughtful and compassionate humans. It is in our nature to share stories and connect with each other through them—throughout our whole lives.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me… Where is the heart, Jo?

When I was younger, my family, like Rachel's, lost our home to foreclosure. It was a scary time, not knowing where we would live, what would happen to our pets, and having to let go of so many sentimental belongings. I think the old saying, "Home is where the heart is" can be interpreted in many ways. For me, it has taken years to figure out how to define home. When we meet people, they almost always ask, "Where do you call home?" But I think the more revealing and meaningful question might be: "Who do you call home?" Who has made you who you are? Who do you hold in your heart now? It's the people we love who make a home, not the structure of a place. And since we carry our hearts wherever we go, the answer is: "Right here."

Look for Where the Heart Is on April 2, 2019. 

From Candlewick Press: 

It’s the first day of summer and Rachel's thirteenth birthday. She can't wait to head to the lake with her best friend, Micah. But as summer unfolds, every day seems to get more complicated. Her “fun” new job taking care of the neighbors’ farm animals quickly becomes a challenge, whether she’s being pecked by chickens or having to dodge a charging pig at feeding time. At home, her parents are more worried about money than usual, and their arguments over bills intensify. Fortunately, Rachel can count on Micah to help her cope with all the stress. But Micah seems to want their relationship to go beyond friendship, and though Rachel almost wishes for that, too, she can’t force herself to feel “that way” about him. In fact, she isn’t sure she can feel that way about any boy — or what that means. With all the heart of her award-winning novel See You At Harry's, Jo Knowles brings us the story of a girl who must discover where her heart is and what that means for her future.
If home is where the heart is, what would happen if you lost it? Compassion and humor infuse the story of a family caught in financial crisis and a girl struggling to form her own identity.


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