The Cedarville Shop and the Wheelbarrow Swap

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.


A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

This award is given to books before publication. 95% of the books that receive this award go on to win awards, honours, starred reviews and industry accolades.

Discussion Questions for the classroom

A free down-loadable PDF with twenty questions to chat about in the classroom.

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Advance Praise

“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

“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

“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 Review