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That Summer Hardcover – May 1, 2002

5 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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I Am: 40 Reasons to Trust God
I Am: 40 Reasons to Trust God
Through Bible stories, short devotions, and prayers, children discover the meaning of each name and how it relates to their lives. Hardcover

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This spare tale of two brothers, one terminally ill, sounds familiar but is uncommonly moving. The boys revel in the freedom that summer brings until the younger falls ill on the Fourth of July and quickly grows worse. "Joey was leaving," says the older brother, who narrates. "It was clear as the rain that stung his window that summer." As the boys struggle to come to terms with their grief, their grandmother teaches Joey how to quilt. He pieces together scenes of all the things he has cherished, from his dog, Spoon, to lightning bugs, baseball and country roads. In the end, it's up to his older brother to fit in the last piece as Joey's bereaved family and friends come together to finish the quilt and say good-bye. Johnston's (Amber on the Mountain) words are freighted with poetry and emotion: the grandmother's needle "flicked in and out, a fish, slim and silver"; silence seems "sweet and wide as sleep." Moser (When Willard Met Babe Ruth) supplements masterly watercolors, which depict the present tense, with album-style black-and-white "snapshots" of the two boys at various stages in childhood (these are sketched on gray paper and highlighted with white chalk). Every element, visual and verbal, is certain to tug at the heart. However, this may be best suited for kids with some exposure to loss. Ages 6-9.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 6-With "hoots and shouts," two brothers celebrate the delicious freedom that comes with the end of school and the beginning of summer. "-[O]ver the porch, over the lawn, down the hollows. Joey and I ran like there was no tomorrow." Their simple joy is short-lived when the Fourth of July finds Joey suddenly and terminally ill. His brother narrates this personal and powerful story of loss, with eloquent simplicity. "I learned a lot that summer. How to grin with your heart in shreds. How to make a bed with your brother in it, your brother still as a whisper." When Joey loses his hair, his brother shaves his own head in support. When Joey can't sleep, Gram teaches him to quilt, and together they sew the story of his young life. Text and illustrations work in seamless harmony. Moser's full-page, graphite portraits framed in white are reminiscent of still photographs meant to be treasured. Full-color illustrations are used sparingly, capturing pivotal moments of heartbreaking sorrow and joy-the day Joey's "Boisterous, roisterous friends" appear to sing their hope and the day his brother whispers "Good-bye." Moser's dedication reads: "For all the courageous people who care for terminally ill children, with my deepest respect and admiration." A noteworthy tribute, not to be missed.
Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schools
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (May 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 015201585X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152015855
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 7.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,734,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"That summer began like always, with hoots and shouts, all of us running in the sun, freed from school..." But, as his brother, the narrator tells us, on the fourth of July, Joey "took sick." He went to bed and stayed there. When he perked up, the whole family was filled with hope, and when he got worse again, they realized the awful truth. "What do you do when you know you are leaving the world, when your heart hurts with grieving? Joey was leaving. It was clear as the rain that stung his window that summer." Gram sat by his bed keeping vigil and quilting, and when Joey couldn't sleep, Gram taught him how to quilt. And so that summer, he sewed the pieces of his young life together, all the things he love, "a patch with an owl because he loved its call, the cow he squeezed from clay (first grade), and his fishing pole and a lightning bug and a country road and his baseball glove..." Author, Tony Johnston, and illustrator, Barry Moser, invite the reader to share in this very intimate and moving experience. Mr Johnston's quiet, understated, and eloquent text is at times both poignant and uplifting, and rich in beautifully poetic figurative language. Mr Moser's stunning artwork captures the special moments of Joey's life in dazzling full-colored illustrations, juxtaposed with touching and emotional gray and white "snapshots" that seem to be pulled from the family photo album. Together, word and art paints a remarkable portrait of life, strong love and loss, told with great insight, wisdom, and truth. Perfect for youngsters 5 and older, That Summer is an inspiring story that deals with the sensitive subject of the death of a loved one with honesty and respect, and should help open important discussions. As Barry Moser writes in his dedication... "For all the courageous people who care for terminally ill children, with my deepest respect and admiration." An amazing book that shouldn't be missed.
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Format: Hardcover
"That Summer" is a poetic blend of the carefree days of a childhood summer disrupted by the reality of terminal illness. The narrator's brother, Joey, becomes ill during summer vacation. As his illness progresses, he begins to piece a quilt: "Cut scraps into shapes of all the things you love," Gram said,"then join them with thread." Illustrated with beautiful graphite and chalk pictures by Barry Moser, Tony Johnston weaves a story of a brother's love, a family's loss, and a patchwork of memories through powerful figurative language: "...that summer, a gleam of guilt glided through my heart like a gleam of snake down a hole." This is one of the most moving childrens' books I've ever read.
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Format: Paperback
ertainly one of th' most moving children's books I've read in a long, long time, in flowing, poetic language, Tony Johnston tells th' story of the summer that th' narrator's brother, Joey, became terminally illand then slowly left this green world of ours.

Kudos to both author Johnston for his beautiful language that touches th' heart, and for illustrator Barry Moser's incomparable watercolour and charcoal illustrations taken from both th' imagination and real life photographs of th' boys' childhood portraying all those good times from that summer.

"Once, Joey and Gram looked up
at the stars
flung clear across forever
and Joey asked, 'when
will I die?'

'Oh, my baby dear,' she crooned
and held him.
'who will care for me then?'
'God will,' said Gram."

Thankee, Sai, big-big to the both of you for this heartfelt, important story.
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Format: Paperback
This is a story about one summer that 2 brothers share. One of the brothers has cancer and the other brother tells the story of what he learned during his brother's illness. He learns how to make the bed while his brother is in it and he learned how to smile when his heart is breaking inside. This is truly a tale of brotherly love!

Cancer is so real in today society. Each family is touched with it in some way. This book is really heartbreaking and will make you count your blessings if your children are healthy.

Yes. I have never read a book quite like this one. There are books that help kids deal with the death of grownups but I'm not sure there are many that deal with terminally ill children and their feelings.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book after wearing out my library's copy. I use it as an introduction to a quilting unit I teach with gifted children, and open the box of tissues before I ever open the book each year. It is poignant and wonderful, and the author's vivid language is a reader's (and teacher's) dream.
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