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Loon Summer by Barbara Santucci

Bank Street College
Best Children's Books of the Year

Loon Summer

From the book jacket:

    "My first morning on the lake I hear the loons. 'Oh—OOOO—oooo.' Their sad songs remind me Mom isn't coming to the cottage this summer."

Rainie knows that this summer will be different. As she and her dad spend time together at the cottage, Rainie is painfully aware of her mom's absence. Throughout the summer, Rainie watches a pair of loons on the lake--watches them lay eggs, hatch babies, and be together as a loon family.

    "You told me loons stay together for life. Why can't you and Mom?" she asks her dad.


Curriculum Connections - Loon Summer


Loons"Santucci makes her picture book debut with a delicate story about a girl and her father, who are spending their first summer at the lake without the girl's mother. ... language is graceful ... " — Publishers Weekly
"This story perfectly captures a child's pain at her parents' separation. Rainie, who wishes that her parents were like loons that mate for life, adjusts to sharing lazy vacation days at a lake with her dad..." — School Library Journal
"Using the imagery of loons, which mate for life, Santucci allows a newly single father and daughter to explore their new relationship during a summer that is different from the ones before..." — Associated Press (as seen in the Minneapolis Star Tribune) (August 20, 2001)
"Barbara Santucci gives Rainie's sadness the space it needs in this quiet, sensitively conceived story, yet the summer she describes is also one filled with pleasures and new discoveries." — Riverbank Review (Winter 2001-2002)
"Loon Summer is very highly recommended for family, school, community library collections, as the hopeful story of a child adjusting to the difficult realities of separated parents but who is able to grow..." — Midwest Book Review, Children's Watch
"A quiet book for quiet sharing and reflection, this is one where many families today will see themselves." — Literary Lagniappe
"With each passing day, as Rainie and her father fish, pick blueberries and spend time together, Rainie realizes that even though she can't be with both parents, they each love her and that will never change." — Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"...realistic, sensitive story line conveys a certain sadness about the summer while giving a clear message about the parents' unconditional love for Rainie." — Childhood Education
"...she comes to the best resolution she can muster at the time knowing that like the loons, she will return next summer and so will her dad." — Children's Notes Logos Bookstores
Loons"...gently deals with a child's difficult accepting her parents' divorce." — Belvidere (IL) Daily Republican

Loon Summer by Barbara Santucci. Illustrated by Andrea Shine.
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2002. ISBN: 0-8028-5182-7. $16.00.

Author’s Note
from Barbara Santucci

Abby's ChairsLoon Summer is a picture book that deals with the change and growth between Rainie and her father after her parent's divorce. The types of activities they engage in over the course of this first summer together are paralleled with the activities of two loon chicks and their parent loons.

I chose to write this book to help me find a way to deal with the changing family structure of so many of my family members and friends. Children suffer a tremendous sense of loss and must deal with their fears of loosing the love of their parents and the loss of their family as they have known it.

By providing a sense of how the child fits into a divided family is certainly a challenge. It has been my goal to provide a loving setting of hope in this picture book for both the child and their parents.

I have done a tremendous amount of research about loons and their habits for the authenticity of this story through books, videos, tapes, and interviews with wild life conservationists. Also I have taken advice from counselors who treat children from divorced families.

Loon Summer offers a slightly different approach to divorce by drawing on a child's love and fascination for nature. Paralleling Rainie's activities and her father's with the loon chicks and the parent loons, I feel offers a hopeful and loving setting for their new relationship together.

We watch Rainie draw closer to her father as she develops a trust that her father will continue to love her even though her parents are divorced.

©2003- Barbara Santucci. All Rights Reserved.