Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars won the Newbery Medal in 1971. The title of the book refers to a little boy’s fascination with the birds. Charlie (who is mentally handicapped) and his sister Sara live with their Aunt Willie. The story begins with Sara’s dissatisfaction with herself and her life, but when Charlie goes missing, she puts all that behind her to help find her brother.
While I appreciated Sara’s growth in the book and the tenderness between Sara and Charlie, it definitely isn’t one of the stronger Newberys that I’ve read. It is positive in its illustration that family relationships are more important than selfish concerns, but the book just didn’t grab me. To be fair, my conclusion could be based on the mediocre performance of the audio narration, which I didn’t at all care for.
1970, 144 pp.