Sweep by Jonathan Auxier is the official August 2022 pick for the Peanut Blossom Book Club for Recovering Readers.
Every August I try to choose a book club book that takes place in a school setting as we enter Back to School season.
Some years, I pick a young adult book like Tell Me Three Things so we have a good reminder of what our kids are going through in high school.
This year, I decided to go a slightly different route and chose Sweep by Jonathan Auxier because it came so highly recommended in several homeschool groups I belong to.
I thought this middle grade novel would be an excellent choice to share with your own kids and spark fresh discussions around the family dinner table.
Common Sense Media says that this book pick is perfect for kids age 9 and up. You can decide if it is something you want to share with your own kids by reading their review here.
No kids? No problem.
I’ve never stopped enjoying reading excellent children’s literature. A good book is a good book, I don’t believe certain sections of the bookstore ‘expire’ once we hit a certain age.
And if you haven’t read a children’s book in many years, I hope this month’s pick is a fun surprise!
Peanut Blossom Book Club
This book club pick is one of the awesome books from our eighth year of book club.
We’re still going strong! Want to join us?
You can join our book club for free by signing up for my email newsletter right here:
What is Sweep About?
“For nearly a century, Victorian London relied on “climbing boys”—orphans owned by chimney sweeps—to clean flues and protect homes from fire. The work was hard, thankless, and brutally dangerous. Eleven-year-old Nan Sparrow is quite possibly the best climber who ever lived—and a girl. With her wits and will, she’s managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again. But when Nan gets stuck in a deadly chimney fire, she fears her time has come. Instead, she wakes to find herself in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature—a golem—made from ash and coal. This is the creature that saved her from the fire.
Sweep is the story of a girl and her monster. Together, these two outcasts carve out a life—saving one another in the process. By one of today’s most powerful storytellers, Sweep is a heartrending adventure about the everlasting gifts of friendship and hope.”
Sweep Discussion Questions
I believe the best book club questions to spark a lively discussion in your group help readers make personal connections to the story.
You can read about how to write the best book club questions on your own here, but hopefully these will get you started!
How did you feel about reading a middle grade novel for an adult book club? Did you share this story with your kids or no?
If you could leave behind a protection for your child after you die, what kind of help would you want them to have once you’re gone?
The chimney sweeps have a dangerous lot in life and yet it was considered good luck to have one at your wedding. Why do you think this superstition existed?
Nan and Charlie assign themes to the rooms in their house like “tantrum room” and “nothing room.” If you could assign a few new rooms in your house, what would you want?
Had you heard of a golem before this story? What form would you want your golem to take?
Miss Bloom recognizes Nan’s clever nature and suggests there are two versions of her persona, her sweep persona and her real self. Has anyone recognized something special in you? Who was it and what did they see?
Were you familiar with the real world challenges of Victorian era chimney sweep children before this book? Did you read the author’s notes at the end? What did you learn?
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not? Would you read another middle grade novel for book club?
Book Club Party Menu
Since this month’s book takes place in London, a British tea party would make sense for a book club menu.
For a savory bite, try these easy spiced sausage rolls in puff pastry.