Award-winning author Leila Sales’s The Museum of Lost and Found is a warm, relatable middle-grade story about a friendship falling apart and the abandoned museum that becomes a shrine to lost connections—featuring black-and-white illustrations by 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.
"Leila Sales explores complex friendship and family dynamics with insight, compassion, and humor in a story that will validate kids' experiences while also encouraging them to consider what others are going through. Anyone who's ever felt lost in the midst of too much change will find comfort in Vanessa's deeply relatable journey—and will likely wish for their own secret museum, too!"Laurie Morrison, author of Up for Air
"A beautiful exploration of friendship, family, and forgiveness, and the things we keep in the museum of the heart. So compelling and so deeply moving, I didn’t want it to end.”Ruth Behar, author of Lucky Broken Girl
"Readers will learn to value memories of the past, but also to look forward to what is to come. VERDICT This is an outstanding book for its unique and wonderful approach to relatable themes surrounding the notion of coming of age."
—The School and Library Journal
"Nuanced and thoughtful...A creative and compassionate examination of friendship in all forms."Book List
"Sales manages to combine all of this into a nuanced look at friendship, family, self-knowledge, coming of age, and community, with Vanessa a strong-minded and sometimes unlikable but always sympathetic protagonist."The Horn Book Magazine
“An action-packed ending that satisfies. Creatively explores the complexity of middle school friendships.”Kirkus