THE MUSEUM OF LOST AND FOUND, by Leila Sales and Jacqueline Li, Harry N. Abrams, May 16, 2023, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 8-12)
When best friendship falls apart, a girl decides to create an art exhibit as a memorial in The Museum of Lost and Found, by Leila Sales and Jacqueline Li.
Vanessa isn’t sure which happened first: finding the abandoned museum or losing her best friend Bailey. She doesn’t know what to do with herself now that Bailey has left her behind — but when she stumbles upon an empty, forgotten museum, her purpose becomes clear. Vanessa starts filling the museum with her own artifacts and memories, hoping that perhaps, if she can find the right way to tell the story of her broken friendship, she can figure out how to make it whole again.
As Vanessa’s museum grows, it seems like the place might have the answers to other questions, too. Like why a mysterious work of art was left behind. Or how to deal with a military dad who’s trying to parent from thousands of miles away. Or why Vanessa’s bad habit is getting harder and harder to quit. Or even, maybe, how to set the past to rest and find a way to move forward.
Moving and charming, The Museum of Lost and Found is about how we grow apart from some people as we grow up — and how sometimes we can find new pieces of ourselves in the aftermath. —Synopsis provided by Harry N. Abrams
The Museum of Lost and Found is a story of friendships and self-reflection.
As Vanessa curates her exhibit, she is forced to look at her own behavior. That’s when she realizes that she might be at least partially to blame for her friendship with Bailey falling apart. Vanessa’s growth is energizing and makes her interesting as a character. There’s growth among a strong cast of supporting characters, as well, which really fills things out.
What sets The Museum of Lost and Found apart is the museum itself. The exhibits the kids put together are fascinating. The thought that goes into their pieces and the descriptions of them make for a lovely piece of writing.
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