Read The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars Online


The orange sneakers were typical of her mood. One minute Sara had been rather fond of them. The next she detested them, thought them as gross as her enormous feet, her impossible body, her ridiculous hair. And that was how it had been all summer. The elation of one moment would give way to tears the next, with no warning, for no reason....

Title : The Summer of the Swans
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780881032390
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 144 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Summer of the Swans Reviews

  • Lindsey
    2019-03-05 00:34

    We finished Summer of the Swans the other day (amazing how long it takes for us to read such a teenie little book). I was...underwhelmed. All the teachers who recommended it raved about it, but I didn't see what the big deal was. It centers around the relationship between a sister and her mentally challenged younger brother, who gets lost in West Virginia mine country. The idea itself was good, but the story was slow, and then it ended very abruptly. I would have prefered it better if the story had focused more on the innocent Charlie, who was forever stuck in the mind-set of a three year old, instead of his self-absorbed, horribly self-conscious sister Sara, who was in the middle of self-discovery and puberty. My students liked it, which I guess is the most important thing, but I'm not sure I want to read this one to next year's class. There wasn't a lot of action, there wasn't a lot of character development, and the bulk of the story was Sara talking about how she wasn't good enough for anyone to like her. I don't understand why it won so much acclaim, because the writing is confusing to follow at times (if you're a 6th grader, which was my prime audience). I guess it's because it dealt with the touchy issue of mental handicaps?To me, it was bland, boring, beige.

  • ConnieKuntz
    2019-03-06 03:42

    I read this with the kids. It's a nice enough story about teenage angst that touches on some interesting subjects including deceased mothers, absent fathers, mentally handicapped children. Unfortunately, it only grazes the surface of these issues and reads with about as much intensity of a corporate video about "Mutual Respect." Yes, it is well written, has great imagery, and it won a Newberry award, but I think it is too simple a story to take seriously. Even the description of the swans was flat. Everybody knows they are graceful and glide on the water. Whoopee. There is much more to swans than that, just as there is much more to a teenage protagonist than awkward feelings and frustrations with shoes. There are many authors who treat children with respect but Byars is not one. I don't mean to be harsh, but I am at a point in my life where I am sick of kids being treated like they can't handle the truth when, in fact, they thrive on it.

  • Rena Sherwood
    2019-03-22 06:24

    Yes, it won a major book award and it must have been a VERY bad year for children s' books for this to win. This was such a disappointment after enjoying Betsy Byars' The Winged Colt of Casa Mia.Color me nutty, but if a book is titled The SUMMER of the Swans, perhaps swans should somehow be part of a whole summer instead of just two friggin' days.I guess this was one of the first books to deal with an autistic child (long before the word "autism" was coined). The child gets lost in the woods at night. Too bad every other character in the book didn't get lost, too.If you want to read about kids getting lost in the woods, try The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King. Skip this.

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2019-03-05 06:49

    The Summer of the Swans, Betsy Byars عنوان: تابستان قوها؛ نویسنده: بتسی کرومر بایارس؛ مترجم: پروین علیپور؛ تهران، افق، 1384، در 155 ص، شابک: 9643691624؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی قرن 20 م

  • Shiloah
    2019-03-02 07:24

    This was a very good read aloud. We didn’t want to wait to find out what happened. Such a sweet book.

  • L Frost
    2019-03-03 03:44

    Simple story. Typical teenage girl beginning to face uncertainty about herself although her life has been full of challenges. Not a very fast paced book but it's short so it doesn't take long to read. Not the most uplifting book, but offers a small silver lining at the end. I'm surprised it won the Newbery Award since it seemed fairly simple. The swans play a fairly small role despite the book's title. There is no foul language or use of God's name. No sexual references, not even kissing. There is the death of a parent at the beginning, but it is an event that happened in the past to set the stage for the book. There is use of the word "retard" and "retarded" early on, but the author clearly considers it to be name-calling, ugly and inappropriate. Later the phrase "mentally handicapped" is used instead, which would serve as an acceptable description for 1970 when the book was written. The description of the child sounds more like an autism diagnosis today. Even though it is simple and not an in-depth book, it is wonderful to be able to read a children's book that is clean, descriptive and age appropriate unlike many of the new books for this same age today.

  • Wendy
    2019-03-09 06:25

    This probably would be better if it was longer; as is, it feels like an overlong short story. Underdeveloped all around, and terribly dated. Compared to this, RULES is a masterpiece.Incidentally, I notice that a disproportionate number of Newberys take place in West Virginia, which is pretty odd.

  • Michelle
    2019-03-09 23:39

    All the Kool Aid references sure did add some authenticity to the setting!

  • Kathy Davie
    2019-03-21 05:43

    A standalone fictional novel for young adults revolving around fourteen-year-old Sara, just hitting puberty with all the angst of it.In 1971, The Summer of the Swans won the Newbery Medal.My TakePuberty is hitting Sara hard, and Byars is absolutely brilliant in her depiction of the angst and drama of a young teen with the frustrations about her father and her impatience with her little brother — this rings so true of sibling relationships! Her intense sense of right and wrong as well as her desire to protect along with that so-very-thin skin.It's the mid-1960s, and in just a few pages, Byars gives us a quick peek into a few days of the Godfrey family's life with the focus primarily on Sara, and then Charlie, providing us with a lifetime of information and still leaving us wanting to know more.I want to know why Aunt Willie is helping the family like this? What is her past? Why does their dad work out of town? What was the illness? What will happen with Charlie? How does their dad feel about them all? What is his perspective? How does Sara fare at the party?The StoryThis summer is just awful. Nothing is going right. Sara knows it's the same as last summer…it's just…something is different this year.Then Aunt Willy forces Sara to take her brother along to see the swans, for it causes an awakening in Charlie in the night. A need to see the swans again. And Charlie disappears.That next morning is frantic as the family panics with Sara rushing out to search. A search aided by her enemy where she learns the truth.The CharactersSara Godfrey is 14 in this summer, and she's bored, angry, and obsessed with how horrible she looks…especially her h-u-g-e feet. Mary Weicek is her best friend…she has must be, as endlessly patient as they are with each other's quirks!Wanda is her older sister. Charlie is their 10-year-old mentally challenged brother, damaged by a traumatic illness when he was very young. Aunt Willy lives with the three children while their father Samuel works out-of-town during the week.Frank is Wanda's boyfriend and arrives to take Wanda down to the lake to see the swans. On his motor scooter!! Joe Melby is a boy in her class. A boy whom Sara despises for what he has done.The Cover and TitleThe cover seems to be a cream net on top of a cream background with a 1960ish, soft Peter Max quality to the ethereal purple and blue swan skimming across the cover around and through the sketched and patchy watercolor of Charlie and Sara who appear to be sitting in mid-air. The green wake as it splits at the swan's breast is repeated in Charlie's trousers with the purples and blue repeated in Sara's pants. Charlie's horizontally-striped T-shirt is in creams, a lavender purple and a deep purple-violet. Sara's tennis shoes are the bright orange that had cheered her so.The title reflects The Summer of the Swans that has enthralled Charlie and left Sara so restless.

  • Nora
    2019-03-04 01:29

    I re-read this book that I loved so much as a child. Basically, this book is perfect. The trend in children's books now is that you have to grab the reader by the throat in the opening line and have non-stop action. But this gentle, contemplative book is of its time (the '70s) and is essentially character-driven. I remember as a nine-year old thinking this book was really "deep"--and I still think so! Also, I was really amazed at Betsy Byears' dead-on portrayal of autism, even though she doesn't call it that because people didn't usually receive that diagnosis back then. (Charlie had a high fever as a baby, then stopped speaking, and now stims on beautiful objects, has poor fine-motor skills, has trouble with transitions, and needs his routine.) Charlie and Sara are both very lovable characters and their small-town world is so real.

  • Jen
    2019-03-13 00:37

    I read this one as a child; I am sure I did. I am certain because I was as obsessive as a youngster as I am now. I set out to read every Newbery Award winning book when I was about ten, and this 1970 award winner was on the list in 1979. The problem is that I couldn't remember whether I liked it or not. After reading it today, it became clear why: it is about as memorable as vanilla ice cream. It's not bad, it just isn't great. My fifth grade girls who read it for their literature circle enjoyed it, and I will say that it beats Pony Pals and Babysitters Club books in all categories. I just wouldn't seek it out.

  • Kelly
    2019-03-15 00:54

    The ending was disappointing, & the dialogue seemed very odd. I didn't even like the main character most of the time. I'm not really sure why it was a Newbery winner, unless it was the fact that it dealt with the subject of mental disabilities.

  • Kati
    2019-03-17 01:34

    2.5This was more of a reading assignment than a novel. I thought the relationship between Sara and her handicapped brother was sweet, but nothing else about this story was earth shattering. Really just a bit boring. I wonder how influenced I am as a reader by the cover? Look at it! Blah. I blame the cover. But I can't say that because that would make me THAT person. So, no. Not the cover. But, look at it!

  • Elizabeth
    2019-03-02 05:45

    A sweet story about a girl and her special needs brother. A quiet voice and an honest narrative...a nice story. Audio version is well-done.

  • 03MckenzieO
    2019-02-28 04:46

    Summary This book was about a girl named Sara and her brother named Charlie. Charlie is a boy who had brain problems and health problems when he was really little. Charlie has never spoken before he can understand what people say to him but he will not respond in words but will nod his head in response to what you had said to him. Charlie and Sara one day decide that they were going to look at the swans at the lake before they were to move to a different lake. Well they had a great time while there but Charlie did not want to go home but Sara got him to go home with her after they made a comprmise.That night Sara was in her bed trying to fall asleep when she realized Charlie was not asleep either because he was kicking the wall. Well after Sara had fallen asleep Charlie heard a noise so he looked out his window and found that there was a swan in the bush so he decides to go out side and chase this swan well he chases this swan into the forest and it is now foggy and really dark so he has no idea how to get out of there so he just keeps on walking. The next morning Charlies aunt notices that Charlie is no where to be seen. So they set up a search party and go out to find Charlie this goes on forever before they ever find out any news about any clues.I rated this book 3 stars because it was a pretty good book but not exactly my cup of tea.I would recomend this book to anyone who likes a little mystery, romance, and realistic books

  • Shania
    2019-02-25 07:24

    This book is about a sister and a brother and there having fun during the summer but I think she should have said that but not yet.It frist stared when sara had to go to a new school and she didn'know anybody ay that school and then these girls came up to me and said what is wrong with you look at your face and your whole body then theysaid that and she ran as fast as she could to get home.But do you know what I whould have said to those girls i love the way I look and that 9is the way god made me and your just saying that because you are jealous of me and you want what I have but you can't.You know what thought I have a family that loves me and that is all that materws to me so just don't wast your breath on talking so just stop now!!!!!!You know I whould get tired if someone kept on talking to me like that it's just not right to make fun of people and what if that person talked about you behind your back you whoulden't feel so good whould you.But that is all that happend inn this book oh wait i forgot one part her brother jake when he was in hes room and it was night time he thought he saw a swan outside but he didn't it was just a white piece of paper or something and i thought that part was funny super cool

  • Joshua
    2019-02-27 03:25

    The summer of the swans is a girl that is on a summer vacation.she never had the perfect summer and shes had 14 summers thats gone bad for her.This summer its about to be different for her.theres a girl named Sara with a brother named Charlie and a pet named Boysie.Sara did not want to go on the vacation the summer.Her aunt are coming with her.her aunt names are aunt willie they went to a place in a house.when they get there she went in and she helped to bring the rest of the mornig Sara woke up when she went into to Charlie's room she didn't see hem in the bed.She went down stairs, but he was not there either.She woke up her mom to tell her where's Charlie.Her mom told her he was in the room, but she said she was not in there. they looked everywhere for him.They looked outside. they went outside to look for him and they even said his name.Sara went in the woods by her self and she fi nally fand him with tore pajams.He was huged to the tree.Sara ran torwards him while she called his name "Charlie".She started to huge him with great force and with love.She toke him to the house and everybody was happy to see him. joe came back to give Charlie back his watch.

  • Alyssa
    2019-03-14 00:47

    Sara Godfrey is 14 and facing a host of emotional turmoil about her looks, her shoe size, her hair but is unsure why this and, what seems to be, everything else in her life, bother her. Her older sister, Wanda’s independence infuriates Sara & having to be ever responsible for her younger, developmentally delayed, brother Charlie is a nuisance. That is until Charlie goes missing and Sara is forced to rely on the help of a boy she thought was her enemy to find her brother. This story encompasses aspects of self-discovery and growing up, family relationships and mental, personal & emotional challenges. Students in 5-8 grade can related to the sibling relationships, as well as the teen angst that is beginning to surface for Sara. Because this story is so personal, I would encourage my students to write a journal entry after each chapter. While journal writing is very open, I would have the students begin each entry with their thoughts and feelings about the chapter and continue with their own personal experiences that relate to Sara’s. Taking the journal activity one step further, students could use these entries to begin formulating an autobiographical writing piece.

  • Emily
    2019-03-02 23:43

    This book packed a lot into a few short pages and I can see why it won the Newbery Medal. Excellent story about 14-year-old Sara, her older sister Wanda, and their mentally handicapped younger brother Charlie who all live with their aunt in West Virginia. There's a lot to talk about here. Sara is struggling with the typical teenage problems that seem so important when you're 14, but also with the loss of her mother six years before, her distant father who works in another state, being raised by her single aunt, and having a mentally handicapped brother whom she both loves and is exasperated with. Byars doesn't add a lot of extras--every word seemed carefully chosen and the narrative was tight and clean. I love reading a book that only says exactly what it needs to. That definitely says something about the talent and restraint of the author. I'm only giving it 4 stars because I wish there had been a bit more at the end, but otherwise I loved this book.

  • Lauren Smith
    2019-03-11 06:52

    Wow, a lot going on in those 140 pages. And not in a busy sort of way. The tale itself is actually refreshingly simple. I love the portrayal of Charlie, his innocence and wonder shines through the eyes of the narrator in a way that if he were to be given dialogue could not compare. I love the loyalty shown in a confident sister, Sara, and her fierce protection over her mentally disabled brother. One day she’s crying about her puce shoes – and the next afraid for the life of someone she truly cares about. I love the sum up of her inability to cry even though it is something worth crying about. I came close to tears at the helplessness of this shining spirit in Charlie and the connection between him and his family. His adoration of his watch, and of course, of the swans. A wonderful story that I’d recommend for any fourteen-year-old girl to knock them into seeing some perspective

  • Karen GoatKeeper
    2019-02-27 02:26

    Life is so confusing at fourteen. You're growing up but your body is a mess. Your emotions take you on a roller coaster ride.None of that matters when your little brother disappears on night. Brain damaged in an illness, he doesn't talk, can't tell where he is, depends on things staying the same. But the swans are so beautiful on the lake he must go to see them again.Where is her brother? How do you find a boy who will be terrified when searchers start combing the woods?This is a good coming of age book. Each character must face past problems, present dilemmas yet somehow come together to save a lost little boy.

  • Lisa
    2019-03-14 23:27

    This book is filled with teenage girl drama that may annoy some, but others will be able to identify with.Sara's mother died. Aunt Willie is raising Sara, her sister, and brother. Charlie, the younger brother, is mentally challenged and is often teased. The girls have to care for Charlie who is often not compliant, but is difficult to deal with.Predictable, but could be good to listen to and discuss the audiobook on a family vacation.

  • Juli Anna
    2019-03-04 05:31

    I'm sorry, but this was just a dumb book. The protagonist is completely shallow and unlikable and the story and themes were hardly developed. This is a classic tale of "you don't know what you've got till it's gone" (to quote Joni Mitchell), but it's so straightforward and simple that I really don't see what distinguishes this story. Also, a minor peeve: I would expect a story called The Summer of the Swans to take place over more than two days' time.

  • Kristin
    2019-03-04 23:30

    Not much to this book. A short story with slightly annoying characters (again, not the best audio book...maybe I'm too picky about who reads to me). In 1970, a story centered around a "mentally handicapped" boy was extraordinary, I'm sure. In 2017, I recommend Rules instead.

  • Samantha
    2019-03-20 07:50

    I really did like this book, but it felt entirely to short. I feel like the ideas were there, but the surface of the various topics (death, absentee parents, coping with mentally challenged persons) were barely realized. It definitely could have been longer, but I still did enjoy it!

  • Ellinor
    2019-03-09 05:41

    Overall I enjoyed the story, I just would have wished for a deeper character development.

  • Emily Walls
    2019-03-16 23:31

    If you are looking for something to read do NOT READ THIS BOOK!!! If you are even thinking about it DON'T!!! This book was totally boring.

  • Crystal
    2019-03-06 23:42

    Newbery Award 1971It is amazing that Byars packed so much into a book that spans only a few days. Powerful book about family & growing up.

  • Christopher
    2019-03-11 07:37

    For some reason, this novel is incredibly difficult to find at the library, but I managed to find it a local thrift shop for 50 cents. It's the cheapest therapy I could have purchased.I love how emotionally raw this story is, how connected I felt to Sara's upside-down life. She's not as beautiful as her older sister Wanda, not as organized as her strict Aunt Willie--and she somewhat resents both of them because of that. To some, Sara might undergo too much teenage angst--I thought the same upon beginning the story--but after finishing the book, I don't think Byars overdid it. But the main plot here is about Sara's special relationship with her special-needs brother Charlie. She becomes frustrated with him at times, but is always protective when others ridicule him. After he disappears, Sara is left to contemplate what is truly important in life.It's not an epic fantasy like A Wrinkle in Time or a highly controversial dystopia like The Giver. But Summer of the Swans is a deceptively complex masterpiece about overcoming the frustrating period of adolescence. I particularly love lines from the next to last page (page 128 in my edition):" A picture came into her mind of the laughing, curly-headed man with the broken tooth in the photograph album [her father before his wife died and his son is diagnosed with mental disabilities], and she suddenly saw life as a series of huge, uneven steps, and she saw herself on the steps, standing motionless in her prison shirt, and she had just taken an enormous step up out of the shadows, and she was standing, waiting, and there were other steps in front of her, so that she could go as high as the sky, and she saw Charlie on a flight of small difficult steps, and her father down at the bottom of some steps, just sitting and not trying to go further. She saw everyone she knew on those blinding white steps and for a moment everything was clearer than it had ever been."Here, Sara realizes that even though her life has challenges, she has more opportunities than many other people in her life; she recognizes that she has much to be thankful for. The circumstances in Sara's life do not magically change; her father, Charlie, and Aunt Willie are the same as they've always been--but Sara herself undergoes huge change. And that was particularly meaningful to me.

  • Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
    2019-03-17 04:50

    I had to give this book 3 stars, which suprised me. I read it when it first came out because I was intrigued by the cover art. I had a sort of like-hate relationship with the story--it's a total downer until the very end, and the end is very strange. However, it stayed with me. When I picked it up yesterday to re-read it after decades, I was amazed at how much of the text had stayed with me word-for-word over the years. If that's the case, it must have had an impact. Hardly a "Summer", the story takes place over two or three days. The author makes a jump of weeks between the beginning chapter and the meat of the story; whether this is to show that nothing ever happens in their little town, or that she simply didn't have much else to say, I don't know. The characters aside from Sara and Charlie are background scribbles; Aunt Willie (!!) sounds more like a Jewish hausfrau than a southern mom ("My toungue should fall on the floor...") and the older sister is a walk-on part. Sara talks a lot about her affinity with her mentally disabled brother Charlie, how she knows just what he'd do in a given situation or how he feels, and yet half an hour after the crisis of the story is reached, she's ready to go to a teen party, and it's all OK. And overprotective Aunt Willie agrees to this? I would doubt it very much. The authoress conveniently chops off the narrative at that point.I also had the same reaction today as I did 40 years ago to the scene where Sara tries to show Charlie the swans flying overhead, and he is not interested. Was there some sort of symbolism there? If there was, I missed it. I also seem to remember lots of TV films in the early 70s about mentally disabled people getting lost and being searched for.