Artemis Sparke and the Sound Seekers Brigade by Kimberly Behre Kenna
Out February 2, 2023 from Fitzroy Books; 152 pages
About the author: “…After so many years of inspiring interactions with children, Kimberly turned to writing middle grade novels. Each of her three books features a brave girl protagonist whose love of nature helps her find her voice and stand up for her beliefs. The first of the three, Artemis Sparke and the Sound Seekers Brigade, was awarded honorable mention in the 2019 Tassy Walden New Voices in Children’s Literature contest. Kimberly can’t wait to see the book in children’s hands and hopes it launches a whole new flock of brave kids willing to speak out and share their own stories” (bio taken from author’s website).
Find Kimberly Behre Kenna on the following platforms:
Artemis Sparke spends most of her time observing the wildlife at the nearby Long Island Sound salt marsh. She speaks to the birds, she cleans up litter, and she takes note of every wildlife sighting in her trusted notebook. However, the trends are concerning her—the egrets, fiddler crabs, and fireflies are all disappearing. The worst part about the whole situation is that the only person who seems to care is Art — not her divorced parents, or the boys in her class, or even her best friend Warren. So, Art takes matters into her own hands to save the salt marsh. Along the way, she makes unlikely connections with the people who live in the Long Island Sound, including the ghosts of a few environmentalists.
Artemis Sparke and the Sound Seekers Brigade is an endearing middle grade novel that packs an impactful punch with its theme. Art is a well-written main character, and Kenna does not hesitate to give her flaws. She’s a passionate young girl with a temper. She puts her own interests above those of her friends, abandoning their plans to focus on her own. Also, a lot of Art’s actions are impulsive. Though her intentions are good, her actions do have consequences that harm others.
While none of these are necessarily positive character traits, they are realistic ones. In this novel, Kenna has managed to write a relatable and realistic 12-year-old character. It was one of my favorite parts of the novel, because I know I was far from perfect as a middle schooler. It was refreshing to see a main character make a lot of mistakes and then learn from them to become a better friend at the end of the story.
Pine Reads Review would like to thank BooksForward for providing us with a copy in exchange
for an honest review.
PRR Writer and Editor, Emma Watts