Silver Meadows Summer
Just right for fans of Pam Muñoz Ryan, this story of moving out and moving on is a touching portrayal of the experience of leaving one's home country and making new friends--sometimes where least expected.Eleven-year-old Carolina's summer--and life as she knows it--is upended when Papi loses his job, and she and her family must move from Puerto Rico to her Tía Cuca and Uncle Porter's house in upstate New York. Now Carolina must attend Silver Meadows camp, where her bossy older cousin Gabriela rules the social scene.Just as Carolina worries she'll have to spend the entire summer in Gabriela's shadow, she makes a friend of her own in Jennifer, a fellow artist. Carolina gets another welcome surprise when she stumbles upon a long-abandoned cottage in the woods near the campsite and immediately sees its potential as a creative haven for making art. There, with Jennifer, Carolina begins to reclaim the parts of the life she loved in Puerto Rico and forget about how her relationship with Mami has changed and how distant Papi has become.But when the future of Silver Meadows and the cottage is thrown into jeopardy, Carolina and--to everyone's surprise--Gabriela come up with a plan to save them. Will it work?

Silver Meadows Summer Details

TitleSilver Meadows Summer
Author
ReleaseApr 30th, 2019
PublisherKnopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN-139781524773236
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Cultural, Fiction

Silver Meadows Summer Review

  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    What a beautiful, tender book. I loved the main character, Carolina, who is brave, earnest, and resilient, and I loved the friendships she forms throughout the book and the family dynamics the story explores. Carolina, her parents, and her little brother have just left their home in Puerto Rico and moved in with relatives in New York State when the novel begins, and I found it so moving to watch Carolina gradually come to love her new home while also working hard to honor and hold onto the home What a beautiful, tender book. I loved the main character, Carolina, who is brave, earnest, and resilient, and I loved the friendships she forms throughout the book and the family dynamics the story explores. Carolina, her parents, and her little brother have just left their home in Puerto Rico and moved in with relatives in New York State when the novel begins, and I found it so moving to watch Carolina gradually come to love her new home while also working hard to honor and hold onto the home she has always known. The writing is lovely and full of emotion; sometimes I think third person POV can feel even more intimate than first person when it brings us inside a character’s consciousness and articulates complex feelings a young character might not be able to put into words, and that’s the case here. I really love the mother/daughter relationships the book explores—the way Carolina’s mother wants so much to make Carolina’s transition to life in NY go smoothly, but in a way that doesn’t allow Carolina to be who she wants to be—and the relationship Carolina forms with her slightly older cousin Gabriela, who has grown up in NY and doesn’t know Puerto Rico well. I love the questions Carolina considers about what other people seem to think it means to be “too Puerto Rican” or “Puerto Rican in the right way,” and there’s a wonderful, important scene in which Gabriela doesn’t want to buy a dress that looks great on her because her friend, whose parents think a “sexy” popular Puerto Rican singer isn’t a good influence, might think it’s too revealing. So much there to discuss and unpack! Carolina also comes back to a few poems as touchstones throughout her journey, and the poetry is woven into her story beautifully, again offering so many rich opportunities for conversation. This would be a great choice for book groups and is an important addition to any middle school collection.
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  • Leah
    January 1, 1970
    Culture - Ethnicity - ChangeTwo roads diverged and I had to choose one of them (Robert Frost), yet there's never a real pathway because we can't see far ahead, so we create our own road as we walk (Antonio Machado). In this post-industrial, digitized world, most of us need to make "what next" choices more frequently than ideally we'd choose. Just as for Carolina's family in Silver Meadows Summer, needing to update plans or take a different path because of disruptions in the lives of family or cl Culture - Ethnicity - ChangeTwo roads diverged and I had to choose one of them (Robert Frost), yet there's never a real pathway because we can't see far ahead, so we create our own road as we walk (Antonio Machado). In this post-industrial, digitized world, most of us need to make "what next" choices more frequently than ideally we'd choose. Just as for Carolina's family in Silver Meadows Summer, needing to update plans or take a different path because of disruptions in the lives of family or close friends is common, almost a given.Very briefly, in Emma Otheguy's new Silver Meadows Summer, family circumstances bring together cousins Carolina and Gabriela along with both girls' parents and Gabriela's friends. Even a casual reader gets to ponder fitting in, cultural differences, life transitions, and survival necessities as they track the narrative. Book cover colors and design evoke an elaborate embroidered tapestry and reflect summer's magic with its enviable weather, slower schedules, natural garden extravagance, spaces for dreaming and imagining. Carolina's family relocates from Puerto Rico to New York State. You don't need to venture far from your own backyard or explore much of the near-borderless world of the internet to realize cultural anthropology – the word about the people and their overall culture – also speaks about geography and climate. Whether your nearest water feature is Lake Ontario, the Caribbean Ocean, the Mississippi River, or the Mediterranean, if your summers reach a humid 102 degrees most days or your winters snowy near-zeros, weather, water, elevation, and vegetation determine what grows around you, your recreational activities, your architectural and your sartorial styles. Flamboyan trees thrive in places like Cuba and Puerto Rico, not at all in central New York state. Ski resorts bring in the customers and the cash in areas like New York state, but can't happen in the Caribbean.For some people, where I live in Southern California is home of the 200%—100% American plus 100% Latinx. That's possible because signage in these environs is at least bilingual, as are many people you pass on the street or the freeway. Alongside their burgers and chicken menu items, national fast food chains offer cilantro and agua fresca. Everyone (yes, every single person) knows tacos and burritos hit the (inter)national eatery scene decades ago, but culinary appreciation or even a bit of appropriation isn't the same as having live opportunities nearby for embracing other aspects of a lifestyle; a person can be a 200% only if or when surrounding artifacts support it. Artist Carolina demonstrates If flamboyan trees don't grow locally, you still can create your own flamboyan(t) art, yet she learns (probably already knew before leaving Puerto Rico) you can't be even 100% Latinx if your classmates and neighbors don't speak español or celebrate quinciñeras, if the nearby Catholic church that's your religious tradition schedules worship only in English. In brief, though of course she'll retain aspects of the Caribbean that's long been part of her, the overall milieu won't support her being both 100% North American and 100% Latina; she'll need to pick and choose, though like the path we make by walking, some of the choices will happen by themselves. As days and weeks go by, a new blended style that's a combination of many will emerge and take root.So... Silver Meadows Summer reminds us when you relocate to a different city, state, or country, you may need to do as the locals do if you want to fit it, if you want to make friends at school or get a job, if you want a real life. Being cordial to a current or potential boss is basic human smarts and essential kindness; dissing your boss or your teacher is plain stupid. If you're a younger person, even rocking similar clothing and obsessing on the same music as your classmates can be a good starting move. I sometimes consider how I have the code to get into a nearby office complex because they trust me that far and they know I need basic access, but I have neither code nor a physical key to get into any of the offices—someone needs to let me in. In social settings you need to learn and use the key that includes spoken language, clothing style, social conventions—music preferences? If you finesse everything well enough, maybe they'll let you in?Global internet reach has led to increased cultural awareness, blending and blurring—even a degree of ethnic fluidity. Fusion music and fusion cuisines are here to stay. However, in this story set in today's twenty-first century, the ruckus teen music icon Chiquifancy causes between Gabriela and her non-latina friends makes it clear it's fine for music or sports icons to be ethnic minorities but even now, possibly not okay when an ethnic minority is extremely close to home—a classmate or a potential friend. On the other hand, local ethnic minorities may be just fine if they do everything possible to assimilate to local styles and habits.Though this book review has focused on cultural aspects of Silver Meadows Summer, special summer activities and summer friendships also are prominent throughout Emma Otheguy's carefully crafted chronicle. Antonio Machado reminds us, "Traveler, there is no path; you make your own way by walking" while Robert Frost challenges, "Two paths diverged in a yellow road..." Both poets lived and wrote a distance away from their birthplaces; in this physically and culturally mobile world, many people will move away from their places of origin, sometimes to a place with very different habits and customs. Technically this is a YA/middle school novel, yet this story of a summer in the lives of a few young persons is engrossing and close to a roadmap (a path, possibly?) for almost everyone's practice and response.
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by the publisherCarolina is not happy to move from Puerto Rico to upstate New York to live with her Tia Cuca, Uncle Porter and cousin Gabriella. The family has little choice, though, when her father loses her job and her mother's job as a middle school teacher isn't enough to keep the family afloat. Gabriella is welcoming, but Carolina is leery about her cousin's teenage attitude and her gang of friends. Having to hang out with them at a summer camp at a nearby farm does not sound l ARC provided by the publisherCarolina is not happy to move from Puerto Rico to upstate New York to live with her Tia Cuca, Uncle Porter and cousin Gabriella. The family has little choice, though, when her father loses her job and her mother's job as a middle school teacher isn't enough to keep the family afloat. Gabriella is welcoming, but Carolina is leery about her cousin's teenage attitude and her gang of friends. Having to hang out with them at a summer camp at a nearby farm does not sound like a good idea, even though Carolina will get time to do the artwork that she so enjoys. Camp isn't too bad, though, and she makes friends with another artist, Jennifer. They even find a small abandoned cottage on the property, and manage to sneak off and make it their own, although the owner of the farm is very insistent that campers not leave the designated paths after the accidental death of her husband. Carolina really wants to help her family fit in, but it's hard when her parents are struggling, and they all have to get along with Tia Cuca's family. Carolina misses Puerto Rico and feels a bit out of place in New York, especially since Gabriella has forgotten her Puerto Rican roots. The farm is due for some changes, and while these don't make many people happy, they are inevitable, just as so many things in Carolina's own life are. Strengths: The differences in cultures was particularly well done, since it involved members of one family who all have slightly different experiences. There is very little middle grade literature out there with Puerto Rican characters that doesn't have a West Side Story feel to it, so I was very glad to see this. Summer camps are a big trending topic, and this was a nice twist on one, with some shades of suburban development.Weaknesses: There is not a lot that happens, which is something my students seem to dislike in books that aren't super sad. I'm hoping that the Puerto Rican connection will help them be interested in Carolina's story. What I really think: I really enjoyed this, especially since it has a character who has moved from a different environment into a new one (and the house is NOT haunted!). Carolina's is an interesting but quiet one. It put me in mind a little of Hilton's Full Cicada Moon for no particularly good reason. I think I will purchase this one, but it will need more hand selling than some titles.
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    This would be a 3.5 for me. I enjoyed a great deal of the story but found the ending and resolution just too rushed after all that build-up. Eleven-year-old Carolina never really wanted to leave her Puerto Rican home, and she dreams of returning to the house she loves so much. But her father has lost his job, and the family relocates to upstate New York where they stay with her maternal aunt and her family. The author captures vividly Carolina's conflicted emotions about the family's situation a This would be a 3.5 for me. I enjoyed a great deal of the story but found the ending and resolution just too rushed after all that build-up. Eleven-year-old Carolina never really wanted to leave her Puerto Rican home, and she dreams of returning to the house she loves so much. But her father has lost his job, and the family relocates to upstate New York where they stay with her maternal aunt and her family. The author captures vividly Carolina's conflicted emotions about the family's situation and how she hopes this move is only temporary. It's clear that her mother wants her to get along with her older cousin, Gabriela, and thinks it's time for her to put away what she considers to be childish pursuits--her drawing and imaginative play. Carolina is a dutiful daughter, and she tries her best to do as her mother requests and make friends with Gabriela's set of friends, but they have little in common with her. Instead, she becomes friends with Jennifer, the daughter of an artist and a girl who makes clothing for little elves she creates. While attending a local summer camp at a farm, the two girls stumble upon a secret cottage in the woods and turn it into their artists' studio. Both girls see Silver Meadows, the farm and its woods, as being special and become alarmed when Lydia, the elderly owner, plans to sell the land to a developer. The book is rich with cultural identity and poetry, and readers will grow quite fond of Carolina as she slowly makes her way in this new world, holding fast to the memories and traditions that she brought with her while also standing firm in her own identity. Hers is a small but meaningful rebellion, and many middle grade readers could do well to follow in her lead. Since the entire story occurs during the summer, her changes and adjustments seemed to occur a bit too quickly for me. But one of the best parts of the book is how it shows that not everyone in this age range--11 to 13--has to be boy crazy or all about fashion. For anyone interested in understanding the dynamic among girls of this age, this book provides some helpful insights.
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  • Lesley
    January 1, 1970
    “Now Carolina saw [the road} like Papi saw it: white crest of salty water, foam and mist, a wave upon the sea, and one foot in front of the other. Cuba, Puerto Rico, New York, Carolina’s roots were not in the soil but in the rhythm of her family’s movement, step after step.” (193)Carolina’s father lost his job in Puerto Rico, and the family—Papi, Mami, Daniel and 11-year old artist Carolina—move to upstate New York to live with her aunt, uncle, and popular 13-year-old cousin Gabriela. As Caro mi “Now Carolina saw [the road} like Papi saw it: white crest of salty water, foam and mist, a wave upon the sea, and one foot in front of the other. Cuba, Puerto Rico, New York, Carolina’s roots were not in the soil but in the rhythm of her family’s movement, step after step.” (193)Carolina’s father lost his job in Puerto Rico, and the family—Papi, Mami, Daniel and 11-year old artist Carolina—move to upstate New York to live with her aunt, uncle, and popular 13-year-old cousin Gabriela. As Caro misses her homeland, she fights to retain her art, her culture, and her memories of Puerto Rico while living in the big house in a new development. When Tia Cuca tries to replace Ratoncita Perez, the mouse who leave money for children’s lost teeth, with her own version of the tooth fairy, Carolina realizes that she can accept, if not embrace, both cultures. Meanwhile Gabriela wants to learn more about her Cuban-Puerto Rican roots and to learn Spanish.Carolina meets Jennifer, a fellow artist, who quickly become a best friend despite Mami finding her unsuitable and, as Carolina learns to stand up for herself, Gabriela learns to stand up to her friends and together Carolina, Gabriela, and Jennifer help to save the farmland that comprises Silver Meadows from becoming all development.A story of culture, family, friendship, nature, accepting change, and making a difference.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    Eleven-year-old Carolina and her family just moved from Puerto Rico to Upstate New York and are living with their Aunt and Uncle. Carolina's cousin Gabriela is 2 years older, and both girls are enrolled in a farming summer camp which is a day camp comprised of farm chores, hiking, arts and crafts and playtime. Carolina misses her life in Puerto Rico very much, but is surprised to meet a kindred spirit in Jennifer, whose dad is an artist. Carolina used to take painting classes and draws all the t Eleven-year-old Carolina and her family just moved from Puerto Rico to Upstate New York and are living with their Aunt and Uncle. Carolina's cousin Gabriela is 2 years older, and both girls are enrolled in a farming summer camp which is a day camp comprised of farm chores, hiking, arts and crafts and playtime. Carolina misses her life in Puerto Rico very much, but is surprised to meet a kindred spirit in Jennifer, whose dad is an artist. Carolina used to take painting classes and draws all the time, maybe New York isn't so bad after all! I loved the different perspectives of the family regarding the move - Carolina's frustration with leaving her familiar world behind, her mother needing her daughter to fit in, Gabriela worried that her cousin's friend choices would affect her social life, little brother Dani's easy transition, dad's difficulty finding a job. A nice summer read without too much drama or danger. For this and more of my reviews, visit http://kissthebook.blogspot.com . CHECK IT OUT!
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  • Leigh
    January 1, 1970
    I've received this ARC from the publisher through SLJ's Middle Grade Magic virtual conference in exchange for an honest review.This book is the story of Carolina who moved with her family from Puerto Rico to upstate New York. She very much misses Puerto Rico and gets off to a little bit of a rocky start with her cousin's friends before befriending Jennifer. They all sound the summer together at a camp on a farm that becomes Important to all of them.It was a sweet book that I liked but didn't lov I've received this ARC from the publisher through SLJ's Middle Grade Magic virtual conference in exchange for an honest review.This book is the story of Carolina who moved with her family from Puerto Rico to upstate New York. She very much misses Puerto Rico and gets off to a little bit of a rocky start with her cousin's friends before befriending Jennifer. They all sound the summer together at a camp on a farm that becomes Important to all of them.It was a sweet book that I liked but didn't love. I think there are some readers who will love it though and hopes it finds its way into the right hands.
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    A must have for your middle grade library. This is absolutely the book I would have wanted as a child: 1. it features a quiet main character, with an imagination that runs towards fantasy2. it features characters grappling with identity- what it means to be Puerto Rican and female and hurtling towards adulthood3. its setting is just magical4. it features female friendships, and changing relationshipsA magical book with characters who your children need to have in their lives. <3
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  • Tory
    January 1, 1970
    Not a *bad* story about moving and adjusting to a new life, but kinda weak, with a bunch of annoying characters doing silly things. I guess the overall message is meant to be that even people who experience prejudice are themselves prejudiced? But it came across as unbalanced and contradictory. Jennifer is the only character I liked -- everyone else was really caught up in themselves and I didn't find them very sympathetic.
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  • Read Ribbet
    January 1, 1970
    A displaced family from Puerto Rico heads to upstate New York to live with their relatives. Otheguy's sweet story of Carolina trying to adjust to life after moving including negotiating relationships with her relative including her cousin, trying to find friends and hanging on to her artistic side. Carolina joins her cousin at a farm-based summer camp Silver Meadows where a series of events starts defining Carolina's new life.
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  • Aida Salazar
    January 1, 1970
    A poetic and lyrical novel that celebrates the arts, a love of nature and the power that comes from both!
  • Amber Webb
    January 1, 1970
    Silver Meadows Summer is a tale of loss and finding, family and friends, relationship, change, culture, growth and so much more. Any reader will find something to connect to in Otheguy’s middle grade novel. Carolina, Gabriella, Jennifer and Alyssa are all girls we know from middle school. We remember those characters or were those characters. Otheguy immediately transports you to a world that is different from your own experience and yet so similar.I loved this book from start to finish and thin Silver Meadows Summer is a tale of loss and finding, family and friends, relationship, change, culture, growth and so much more. Any reader will find something to connect to in Otheguy’s middle grade novel. Carolina, Gabriella, Jennifer and Alyssa are all girls we know from middle school. We remember those characters or were those characters. Otheguy immediately transports you to a world that is different from your own experience and yet so similar.I loved this book from start to finish and think readers will enjoy it as well. And now I’m off to find a secret cottage in the woods!
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