Middle-Grade Novel, The Space Between Lost and Found


        Sandy Stark McGinnis CoverBy Sandy Stark-McGinnis

         In April 2020 my sophomore middle-grade novel The Space Between Lost and Found was published. It was the beginning of the COVID pandemic, and I was releasing a book about grief, about accepting the inevitable, about letting go of a loved one.

         My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of seventy-two. For the next six years my mom (who was his main caretaker), brothers, sister and I watched his decline. One of the most vivid memories I have of that time was sitting across from my dad, who by that time was in a care facility, while I was six months pregnant with my first child, holding his hand as he stared blankly at me. The only thing I could do was squeeze his hand and cry. Watching the disease of Alzheimer’s transform my father into a person I didn’t recognize…well, there are no words.

         The Space Between Lost and Found was my attempt at exploring what it’s like to watch a parent disappear before your eyes. The story is written from the perspective of 11-year-old, Cassie Rodrigues. When Cassie’s mom is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, she must find a way to live the best life she can with her mom (and her dad), knowing it’s inevitable that she will lose her. In writing Cassie’s story, I wanted to explore how to navigate grief and loss and how with losing someone you love comes the heartbreaking lesson of letting go and how we can move on, finding a balance of honoring our lives with our loved ones before the loss. I wanted Cassie’s story to be a reminder of how fragile but resilient we are. Her story reflects the everyday sorrow and joy of life, the heartache and struggle we experience in making our way through the grief of living with Alzheimer’s.

         When I think about my dad and the years he suffered from the disease, I’m reminded of Mary Oliver’s poem, “In Blackwater Woods”. She writes, “To live in the world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal, to hold it against your bones knowing your life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.”

Sandy Stark-McGinnis

I’m the author of two middle-grade novels, Extraordinary Birds and The Space between Lost and Found. For nineteen years, I’ve worked as an elementary school teacher, teaching kindergarten, first and second grade. Currently, I’m finishing my sixth-year teaching fifth grade. I live in northern California with my husband and two children.

My website is sandystarkmcginnis.com.

Twitter @McginnisSandy

Instagram @starkmcginnis

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One Response

  1. Congratulations, Sandy. I’m going to order and read your book. Maurine and I often talk of you and we’re so happy to see how well you are doing. I follow your mom, Joyce, on my Facebook.

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