Navajo Summerby Jennifer Owings Dewey
Boyds Mills Press publishes a wide range of high-quality fiction and nonfiction picture books, chapter books, novels, and nonfiction
Children's Literature - Gisela JerniganHow the summer of 1953 becomes a turning point in the life of twelve-year-old Jamie, is the subject of this sequel to the autobiographical novel, Cowgirl Dreams. Devastated by the impending break-up of her abusive family, Jamie hops a bus to runaway to the only stable, caring family she knows well, the Wilsons, a Navajo family near Chinle, in northeastern Arizona. Jamie is accepted by the Wilsons and others, and spends part of the summer camping in beautiful Canyon de Chelly. There she experiences emotional growth and healing and is able to face and accept the drastic changes in her life. Many traditional Navajo values and customs are woven into the story in a natural, appealing way. An author's note and map are included.
Children's Literature - Uma KrishnaswamiRunning from a despairing mother and an angry father who are in the process of divorcing, twelve-year-old Jamie heads for a place where earlier in her life she has known safety - Navajo country. Here she finds a home for the summer with a family with whom her father has traded horses in years past. They offer her quiet and unconditional acceptance, and through the summer she is able to find and face her role in the world. Dewey's descriptive narrative is loving and strong. The reader is drawn into the world of Canyon de Chelly, and the lives of the people who have "woven themselves into the landscape...in the same way a bird uses silk from a spider's web to make a nest stronger." The resolution is a little abrupt, but on the whole, this is a gentle, moving book.
School Library JournalGr 4-8-In 1953, 12-year-old Jamie takes charge of her life when she runs away from her divorcing parents, a distant mother and an abusive father. She arrives on the doorstep of a Navajo family she has known for years and they willingly allow her to join them for the summer at their camp in Canyon de Chelly, AZ. Jamie becomes part of the community and finds a sort of peace. Her sense of loneliness and alienation from her family, temporarily at bay, reemerge when she meets Michelle, an angry native girl her age. Running again, Jamie embarks on an impromptu, personal vision quest and decides to trust Michelle and befriend her. When she is permitted to witness a Blessingway ceremony, Jamie gains a further sense of peace and balance, allowing her to leave the canyon and face the future her parents have arranged for her. This story, based on the author's experiences, reads more like a well-plotted original tale than an autobiographical expression of angst and growth. It is a continuation of Cowgirl Dreams (Boyds Mills, 1995) but stands well on its own. The writing is smooth and compelling, carrying readers along with Jamie, sharing her uncertainties, fears, hopes, and relationships. The author has also provided decorative illustration in the form of Native American rock-art symbols. The softly edged images are intriguing and charming. An excellent choice with myriad themes: Navajo culture, coming-of-age, life in a troubled family, friendship, and growth of trust.-Darcy Schild, Schwegler Elementary School, Lawrence, KS
- Highlights Press
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.51(w) x 8.26(h) x 0.44(d)
- Age Range:
- 4 - 8 Years
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