Share the lives of believable and genuine characters: Ten-year-old, curious, and easily distracted Danny who is in charge of passion and of reminding others how to have fun; eleven-year-old Clover who loves science, has a knack for observation, and is in charge of reason and reminding Danny to focus; six-year-old Jake who can make any situation lighter, sillier, and simpler because his moods are big, buzzy, and contagious.
Look for scientific reasons to explain life’s mysteries but realize that science shows us both certainties and limitations to those certainties. “Ms. Mendez says the best scientists watch and listen and record, then think about it later. She says science is beautiful because it is a way of communicating with the world we live in” (96).
Define friendship in terms of symbiosis; Clover claims, “I am not as me-ish without Danny” (27); we “need each other to survive” (137).
Use lists to tell parts of the story: “I am a girl who . . .” (32) and to catalog Clover’s data collection.
Feature a father who is a truck driver so that Dad-grins, Dad-laughs, Dad-burgers, and Dad-talks are precious but dad’s duffel in the middle of his bedroom is a constant threat of his leaving and of the awful feeling of home not feeling like home without him, of not getting “filled up” with Dad moments.
Possess a Florida setting and protagonists who dream about finding winter and experiencing snow: “I think real snow is shock and wonder and beauty and healing. It is cold and brilliant and clean and special” (125).
Pack a Someday Suitcase—“something sleek and purple [that] rolls in [a] precise and floaty way—” (116) and wait for that Someday to use it.
Recognize the power of art to express what scares you and what you consider beautiful; “art isn’t a research paper. . . . There’s no right or wrong. It’s about the things you want and miss and love and wish you knew” (179).
Revolve around the conflict of loss while focusing on the power of hope, magic, and love.