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 together — saving one another in the process. (From Puffin Canada)
It's now a finalist for the $50,000 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, the biggest children's writing award in Canada.
From the Governor General's Literary Awards jury: "A tender story of what makes us human, Sweep doesn't shy away from the risks of love and monstrousness of indifference. With an impeccable narrative, Sweep shows how love can breathe life into darkness and how hope can spark change. Auxier weaves a multi-layered masterpiece with endearing characters and gut-wrenching twists that are certain to instill readers with a sense of wonder and discovery for the miracle of storytelling."
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From the book
"Nan, tell us about the Sweep."
It was dark in the coal bin, but Nan could tell it was Newt who was asking. Newt was newest to Crudd's crew. He was barely six years old; he didn't know all the rules. The first rule was you never asked another climber about his life Before.
There were five climbing boys in the coal bin: Newt, Whittles, Shilling-Tom, Roger, and Nan. Nan wasn't a boy, but you'd never know that ot look at her. She was as grimy as the rest of them. "Who told you about the Sweep?" Nan said. "Was it Roger?"
"Keep me out of it, Cinderella," Roger muttered. He called Nan "Cinderella" because he thought it annoyed her. He was right.
From Sweep by Jonathan Auxier ©2018. Published by Puffin Canada.
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