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Children's Fiction Stories In Verse

Ebb and Flow

by (author) Heather Smith

Kids Can Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2018
Stories in Verse, Multigenerational, Poetry (see also Stories in Verse)
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2018
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2022
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
  • Reading age: 9 to 12


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.

About the author


  • Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award
  • Short-listed, Northern Lights Award, MYRCA
  • Winner, White Raven Award, International Youth Library
  • Winner, Silver Birch Fiction Award, Ontario Library Association
  • Winner, Diamond Willow Award, Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice Awards
  • Short-listed, Young Adults' Choices Reading List, International Literacy Association
  • Unknown, Just One More Page! Recommendation List, WSRA Children's Literature Committee
  • Winner, Outstanding International Books, USBBY
  • Winner, TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards
  • Short-listed, Violet Downey Book Award, IODE
  • Unknown, Troybery Award, Troy School District
  • Unknown, Best Children's Books of the Year, Bank Street College
  • Winner, Teachers' Choices Reading List, International Literacy Association
  • Unknown, Notable Children's Books in the Language ArtsAward, National Council of Teachers of English
  • Winner, Best Books of the Year, Quill & Quire
  • Short-listed, Governor General's Literary Award, Young People's Literature - Text, Canada Council for the Arts
  • Winner, Best Books for Kids and Teens, The Canadian Children's Book Centre
  • Winner, BMO Winterset Award, Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council

Contributor Notes

Heather Smith is the author of two young adult novels, Baygirl and The Agony of Bun O'Keefe. Originally from Newfoundland, she now lives in Waterloo, Ontario.

Editorial Reviews

Heartbreaking---but uplifting.

Kirkus Reviews

... a powerful and poetic story of emotional endurance.

School Library Journal, starred review

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

... a warm-hearted, compassionately observed novel that demonstrates that redemption is a quality we can achieve for ourselves.

Resource Links

... one of the year's best books.

Quill & Quire, starred review

Exquisite and heartbreaking ...

Canadian Children's Book News

Other titles by Heather Smith

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