Ebb and Flow

Heather Smith

One summer,
after a long plane ride
and a rotten bad year
I went to Grandma Jo's.
It was my mother's idea.
Jett, what you need is a change of scenery.
I think she needed a change of scenery, too.
One without me.
Because that rotten bad year?
That was my fault.

Thus begins the poignant story, told in free verse, of eleven-year-old Jett. Last year, Jett and his mother had moved to a new town for a fresh start after his father went to jail. But Jett soon learned that fresh starts aren't all they're cracked up to be. When he befriended a boy with a difficult home life, Jett found himself in a cycle of bad decisions that culminated in the betrayal of a friend - a shameful secret he still hasn't forgiven himself for. Will a summer spent with his unconventional grandmother help Jett find his way to redemption?

Writing in artfully crafted free-verse vignettes, Heather Smith uses a deceptively simple style to tell a powerful and emotionally charged story. The engaging narrative and the mystery of Jett's secret keep the pages turning and will appeal to both reluctant and avid readers. This captivating book offers a terrific opportunity for classroom discussions about the many ways to tell a story and how a small number of carefully chosen words can have a huge impact. It also showcases the positive character traits of empathy resilience, courage, and responsibility.

978-1-77138-838-2 | Apr 3, 2018
List Price: USD $16.99, CAD $17.99
BW 5 1/4 x 8 3/4 232 pages
Grades: 4 To 7 / Ages: 9 to 12
978-1-5253-0335-7 | Jun 7, 2022
List Price: USD $9.99, CAD $11.99
BW 5 1/4 x 8 3/4 232 pages
Grades: 4 To 7 / Ages: 9 to 12
978-1-5253-0064-6 | Apr 3, 2018
List Price: USD $7.99, CAD $7.99

Awards & Reviews

“Heartbreaking---but uplifting.”
— Kirkus Reviews, February 2018
“... a powerful and poetic story of emotional endurance.”
— School Library Journal, Starred Review, March 2018
“... one of the year's best books.”
— Quill & Quire, Starred Review, April 2018
“Smith's sparse language exposes the heart of Jett's anguish and destructive anger; he's a realistically complex character whose emotional development unfolds organically through Smith's quiet storytelling.”
— Publishers Weekly, March 2018
“Exquisite and heartbreaking ...”
— Canadian Children's Book News, August 2018
“... a warm-hearted, compassionately observed novel that demonstrates that redemption is a quality we can achieve for ourselves.”
— Resource Links, October 2018
2020 - Northern Lights Award, MYRCA, Short-listed
2020 - Rocky Mountain Book Award, Short-listed
2019 - Silver Birch Fiction Award, Ontario Library Association, Nominated
2019 - Violet Downey Book Award, IODE, Short-listed
2019 - Outstanding International Books, USBBY, Listed
2019 - TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards, Winner
2019 - White Raven Award, International Youth Library, Winner
2019 - Troybery Award, Troy School District, Finalist
2019 - Just One More Page! Recommendation List, WSRA Children's Literature Committee, Listed
2019 - Diamond Willow Award, Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice Awards, Finalist
2019 - Best Children's Books of the Year, Bank Street College, Outstanding Merit Selection
2019 - Young Adults' Choices Reading List, International Literacy Association, Listed
2018 - Governor General's Literary Award, Young People's Literature - Text, Canada Council for the Arts, Short-listed
2018 - Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts Award, National Council of Teachers of English, Listed
2018 - Best Books of the Year, Quill & Quire, Winner
2018 - Teachers' Choices Reading List, International Literacy Association, Listed
2018 - Best Books for Kids and Teens, The Canadian Children's Book Centre, Winner
2018 - BMO Winterset Award, Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, Winner

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