The Summer My Father Was Ten


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About the Author

Pat Brisson is the author of Benny's Pennies, the Kate books, Hot Fudge Hero, and Wanda's Roses, an American Bookseller "Pick of the Lists."

Andrea Shine is the illustrator of Big Band Sound and The Faraway Drawer, both by Harriett Diller. She lives in Southampton, New York.


K-Gr 2‘Every spring a girl and her father plant their garden. This shared time is, in turn, the catalyst for the man to recount once again the summer he was 10, a story readers hear through the words of his daughter. He had a neighbor who carefully tended his garden through the day and listened to opera music in the evening. A game of baseball that her father and his friends were playing turned into an afternoon of destruction when the ball landed in the garden and led to the boys throwing every tomato, onion, and pepper that they could get their hands on. The neighbor could only ask, "Why?" The child's father said he was remorseful and volunteered to help the old man the next summer, leading to a long friendship and his own love of gardening. Full-page watercolors depict a quaint seaside village while jeans and sneakers worn by the daughter set the story in the present day. Unfortunately, the faces are not well illustrated and the aftermath of the ruin of the garden seems a bit too impressionistically genteel. Teachers looking for a supplemental title on facing the consequences of one's behavior may find this useful, but it's unlikely to get requests for repeated readings.‘Susan Pine, New York Public Library

Christopher Award
Paterson Prize for Young People
National Parenting Publications Honor Award
Teachers' Choices - International Reading Association
Teachers' Choice Award - Learning Magazine

"Growing a garden is fact and metaphor in this profoundly moving cross-generational story with a neighborhood drama that children will relate to and exquisite watercolors that celebrate renewal and connection." -Booklist, starred review

"A careless, destructive act leads to lifelong friendship and a family tradition in this moving, stunningly illustrated story... (a) fine story of intergenerational friendship."-Kirkus Reviews

"[A] serious and thoughtful examination of childhood blunders." -Instructor Magazine

"Vibrant, meticulous watercolors accompany this moving story." -American Bookseller's "Pick of the Lists"

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