HOLLOW CHEST blog tour!


Afflink - Click on the image to order! 

Debut author Brita Sandstrom arrives with a sweeping, unforgettable historical ghost story of the darkness around and inside us, and the courage it takes to keep hope alive.

Charlie has been having nightmares. Eyes watching him in the night, claws on his chest, holding him down. His dreams have been haunted for years, ever since German bombs rained down on London, taking his father’s life, taking his city’s spirit, taking his beloved brother, Theo, off to war in France. 

Now Charlie is left to take care of his grandpa Fitz while his mother works, waiting for the day when Theo will come home. And with World War II nearly won, that day is almost here. Grandpa Fitz warns Charlie that soldiers sometimes come back missing a piece of themselves, but Charlie isn’t worried. Whatever Theo has lost, Charlie will help him find it. 

When Theo finally does return, though, he is cold and distant. But Charlie refuses to accept that the brother he knew is gone, and soon, he discovers the reason for his brother’s change: war wolves. These are terrifying ancient beasts who consume the hearts of those broken by grief. 

The wolves have followed soldiers back home from the front. And if Charlie truly wants to save Theo, he’s going to have to find them and get his brother’s heart back. But can a heart that’s been eaten ever be replaced?

I read Hollow Chest and then I gave to my mom to read (retired librarian) who grew up right after WW2. Because she is a retired librarian she is very hard to excite sometimes when it comes to new books I put in her hands a lot, obviously times are a lot different now than they were when she was working - BUT her exact first statement to me about Hollow Chest was, "I can not believe this is a debut. The writing she does, and how she brings so much in is beyond well done. If I was a teacher in a classroom I would be going through this and highlighting this is important, this important, over and over, and then read it again and do it all over." 

For me, sometimes reading books that deal with grief in such a metaphorical way is the best way for me to relate to the loss of my dad (even being almost 3 years ago). Brita does something in the way she recognizes grief, experiencing trauma, and managing anxiety that is both honest and brutal, and overall just really great writing. If you are teaching a historical fiction unit, I would read aloud this story. The discussions that students can pull out I envision to be compelling, to say the least. There is so much in the character development to unpack, the themes are higher level and go much more beyond the surface. 

Guided Discussion Teacher Guide 

If you want to know more about the insight of Brita's writing adventure of Hollow Chest check out the first link in the blog tour to Nerdy Book Club - I LOVED what she shared about how this started as a "late" assignment turned into what she still claims "unfinished".

Brita Sandstrom is a graduate of Hamline University’s MFA program in writing for children and young adults. Hollow Chest is her first book. She lives with her family and a collection of cats in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You can visit her online at www.britasandstrom.com



June 7 Nerdy Book Club @nerdybookclub

June 8 Bluestocking Thinking @bluesockgirl

June 9 Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers @grgenius

June 10 Teachers Who Read @teachers_read

June 11 Charlotte’s Library @charlotteslibrary

June 13 Storymamas @storymamas

June 14 A Library Mama @alibrarymama

June 15 Writer’s Rumpus @kirsticall

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