From the award-winning author of Small Mercies, named a Best Middle-Grade Book of 2020 by Kirkus Reviews
"I’ve decided that some people put out fires and leave the world cold and hopeless and others nurse the kindling, blow like mad and fan the flames with whatever they have at hand - so that everyone feels its warmth."
A lot of things can feel just out of reach in 12-year-old Boipelo Seku's small, impoverished village of Cedarville, South Africa. The idea of one day living in a house that's big enough for his family is just a faraway dream. But when Boi stumbles on a story about a Canadian man who traded his way from a paperclip to a house, Boi hatches his own trading plan starting with a tiny clay cow he molded from river mud. Trade by trade, Boi and his best friend Potso discover that even though Cedarville lacks so many of the things that made the paperclip trade possible, it is fuller than either of them ever imagined.
In a chain of events that turns Boi's tiny spark into a warming fire, Boi learns the power of friendship and community, and finds that something’s value isn’t in what you can trade for it, but in the good it brings to the people you love.
With a motley crew of characters, wholehearted humor, and a whole lot of hope, The Cedarville Shop and the Wheelbarrow Swap is a joyful read for lovers of The Penderwicks or classics like The Moffats.
“In this humorous, optimistic tale, Krone explores the mutability of friendships and the perils of trying to hold on to them too strongly. […] A compelling look at friendship and community uplift under harsh circumstances.” —Kirkus Reviews
"This novel is an engaging read with a satisfying ending ... the theme of grace ties everything together: when all seems an impossible knot, if one keeps looking and persevering, the secret to untangling might click into view—a timely message for our world." —Africa Access
"Laugh-out-loud moments; a sweet, budding romance; delightful insights into friendship; details about African culture; and age-sensitive social commentary on the aftereffects of apartheid make this novel an enjoyable and enriching reading experience." — The Banner
“[A] tale of courage, never giving up and knowing there’s grace in the world no matter how depressing your circumstances are. Aim for the moon because even if you miss, you might hit a star. […] Trade by trade, [Boipelo] learned valuable life lessons, overcame obstacles, uplifted his community and brought to power the Nguni saying: 'Umuntu ungumuntu ngabantu' (you’re because of others).” — Woman Zone (South Africa)
"This story is about hope for one of the forgotten communities in Africa. It is about ideas that can bring change. It is about community winning over isolation... [A] fantastic book for Middle Grade." — Anja Dhinagaran, educator, Montessori School of Rome, Georgia
“Bridget Krone has crafted a loving, funny story about a vibrant South African community where Boi’s bold dream of a big swap goes in all kinds of unexpected directions. When the threads are knit back together, they become a hymn of kindness and joy.” — Jane Kurtz, author and winner of the 2022 IBBY-IREAD Outstanding Reading Promoter Award