A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The main character humorously describes an incident when she and her brother spelled out a mildly off-color word in wet concrete.
Violence & Scariness
The title character dies from head injuries received in a bike accident, not shown or described. The essence of this book is the examination of a boy's death and its effect, sometimes disturbing, on his sister and parents.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Very brief reference to birth control pills and children being "planned" or "a surprise."
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Occasional mild religious-themed swearing in moments of emotional distress.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mick Harte Was Here deals with the death of a sibling. It is written with simplicity and sensitivity, as young Phoebe tells the story of losing her younger brother, Mick, in a bicycle accident, her feelings during the aftermath of his death, and her re-entry into daily life. Could be helpful for kids experiencing grief.
Is It Any Good?
This book is a demonstration of the devastating power of simplicity. With breathtaking economy and precise strokes, Barbara Park brings Mick Harte and his sister Phoebe to vivid life. And because Park gives Phoebe such a distinct, genuine voice, her reactions are real and familiar. Park moves the reader back and forth, from Mick to his sister, gradually disengaging them, separating the tightly interwoven strands of their lives, until Phoebe can stand alone. The author makes hardly a misstep; all the book's elements are tied together with enormous skill. Even the lesson about wearing bicycle helmets is made so directly and simply that it doesn't seem at all preachy. In fact, when the father wishes he had made Mick wear his, it's one of the book's most moving moments.
Not all young readers will want or be able to handle the questions Park asks. But those who do will find that, with MICK HARTE WAS HERE, "here" is a lasting place in their hearts.
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