Lost Kites and Other Treasures

Cathy Carr’s Lost Kites and Other Treasures is a moving and heartfelt middle-grade novel about mental illness, the transformative power of art, and the ever-changing complications and joys of family life.

“Sincere and funny . . . leaves readers with a sense of hope.” –Sara Zarr, author of A Song Called Home

“Will be treasured by readers everywhere.” –Megan E. Freeman, award-winning author of Alone

Twelve-year-old Franny Petroski never lets anyone know how often she thinks of the charismatic, troubled mom who left her years ago—any more than she talks about the unaccountable things Mom did while she was still in the picture. Life with Nana is safe and secure, and Franny’s innovative art projects fill in any lonesome times.

But when Nana has an accident and Franny’s estranged uncle comes home to help out for a while, some long-guarded family secrets come to light. Franny has to use all of her courage, as well as all of her creativity, to come to terms with the discoveries she makes about her mother—and herself.


“Carr’s thoughtful and nuanced representation of a family dealing with bipolar disorder and incarceration gives voice to readers who have similar issues. . . [T]he approach to mental health and family trauma makes it an important addition to any shelf.” —School Library Journal

“A really well done, nuanced look at families and secrets full of love and hope.” —SLJ Teen Librarian Toolbox

“Carr sensitively explores mental illness, incarceration, and families in crisis, and she portrays her characters as flawed but caring. . . Unusual and gratifying.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Franny’s first-person narration shines in this approachable story about the ripple effects of mental health challenges within a family. . . Franny’s artistic inclinations, focused on found objects and mixed media, are thematically compelling, as she finds beauty in things that are broken and discarded.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Tender. Heartfelt. Hilarious. Touching. What a magnificent story.” —Ben Gartner, author of One Giant Leap and The Eye of Ra trilogy

“Realistic and hopeful, Franny’s story is a reminder that creativity can transform even the darkest situation into something brilliant and beautiful–maybe even something that can fly.” —Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo, author of Ruby in the Sky

“Tenderly explores the pain of family secrets, and the ways that opening up to the truth also opens us up to a new world of love, compassion, and acceptance.” —Kate Albus, award-winning author of A Place to Hang the Moon

“A nuanced, intricate story about family and friendship. Creative and fearless Franny Petroski will steal your heart!” —Sandy Stark-McGinnis, author of Extraordinary Birds and The Space Between Lost and Found

“A poignant, compassionate story about art, family, and mental illness that will make readers think and feel deeply—and laugh quite a bit, too.” —Laurie Morrison, author of Up for Air and Coming Up Short

“Mental illness can affect families across generations in ways that often go unspoken. In Lost Kites and Other Treasures, Cathy Carr writes family dynamics so well—and she does it with warmth, compassion, and a healthy dose of humor.” —Chad Lucas, author of Thanks a Lot, Universe and You Owe Me One, Universe

For Librarians, Educators, and Other Adults

Interested in teaching Lost Kites and Other Treasures in your classroom, or having a discussion about the book for a book club or library group? Reach out to me here.

And check out my teaching and reading guides!