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The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars
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The Summer of the Swans (1970)

by Betsy Byars

Other authors: Ted CoConis (Illustrator)

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3,072502,763 (3.52)1 / 41
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English (49)  Spanish (1)  All languages (50)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
A good chapter book, maybe not for younger groups. Compelling, and worth a classroom discussion. Has relatable characters and addresses topics that students may not consider for themselves. ( )
  Mistian | Nov 16, 2018 |
It's difficult to rate a children's book when you're rereading it as an adult. A far as enjoyment levels go for me now, this book would not really score higher than a two for me. It was okay, but nothing fantastic. I enjoyed it, sure, but it is a book easily read within an hour or so and then you move on. With kid's books I think it's important to look at it from the perspective of reading it at an appropriate age, what it teaches, what it would mean to a child to read it then. In terms of that, this book is at least a three, I think. The lessons are important, and certainly easy to relate to as a child.

Sara has a brother named Charlie, and two childhood illnesses have damaged his brain and left him unable to speak. One night, he leaves the house to see the swans, and gets lost along the way. The next day sees the whole town looking for him, and Sara more worried than she's ever been. Will she get to him in time?

A summary like this doesn't really do the book justice. So much of it is learning to look beyond yourself, to see that others are often better people than you might give them credit for being. Everyone is busy fighting their own battles, and if you spend your whole life worrying about them and what they might or might not have done you'll miss the little things, like how silly a swan looks when it flies. Empathy is truly one of the most important lessons, and this book does teach it well, and in a very non-patronizing way. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
I have not yet read this book.
  LynneQuan | Sep 27, 2017 |
Sara's brother Charlie is mentally handicapped. He becomes lost in the woods one night, and Sara is distraught looking for him.
That doesn't sound like much of a story maybe, but it is so well told, in this brief, dialogue heavy book, that it is excellent. It's not a big powerful book, but a quiet one that settles down with you. ( )
  fingerpost | Jul 27, 2017 |
I read this to my students last year before summer. Many of my students can relate to the main character, Sara. Her mother passed away when she was young and her father is not around. Her aunt is her guardian. The students also really liked how Sara cares for her disabled brother Charlie. ( )
  Calabrom2 | Jun 15, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Betsy Byarsprimary authorall editionscalculated
CoConis, TedIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Sara Godfrey was lying on the bed tying a kerchief on the dog, Boysie.
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There was something painfully beautiful about the swans. The whiteness, the elegance of them on this dark lake, the incredible ease of their movements made Sara catch her breath as she and Charlie rounded the clump of pines.
It was as if her life was a huge kaleidoscope, and the kaleidoscope had been turned and now everything was changed.  The same stones, shaken, no longer made the same design (13).
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140314202, Paperback)

"The longest day in the life of a 14-year-old girl--the summer day her loved, mentally retarded brother is lost, the day she discovers compassion is a friend. A compelling story."--Publishers Weekly

Newbery Award Book

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:01 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

A teen-age girl gains new insight into herself and her family when her mentally handicapped brother gets lost.

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