The Summer of the Crow

The Summer of the Crow

by Eunice Boeve

Kansas Reading Circle

 

Dust storms, rabbit drives, hobo camps, and riding on freight trains were all a part of life for many throughout the Midwest during the Great Depression. Polio and many other diseases had not yet been conquered and the huge dust storms that killed livestock and ruined crops also caused life-threatening respiratory ailments, such as asthma and pneumonia.

In the spring of 1935, thirteen-year-old Brady Foster’s family is forced to leave their “dusted out” wheat farm in southwest Kansas when his mother’s asthma takes a turn for the worst. Deciding her only hope lies in California’s cleaner air, Brady and his little autistic sister are sent to live with their grandfather, a county sheriff in the northcentral part of the state, until their parents can return. In his new school, Brady is bullied and ostracized, but he finds a friend in Eddie Peel, the son of the town drunk, a boy with a pet crow.

EDITORIAL REVIEWS

Top 100 Amazon Reviewer, BeatleBangs1964 – This is a beautiful story that might make you cry. It is about friendship; expansion of family; acceptance and genuine human kindness. Sheriff Bud does not condemn Eddie’s father; rather, he describes him as a boy, before “alcohol got to him” and that the abuse did not come from an unloving father, but that it was “the alcohol that does not care.” It is he comes through for the boys along with several freight hoppers and families down on their luck.

Readers learn about “Hoovervilles,” communities of makeshift hovels named after President Hoover’s “trickle down theory” of economics; hobo camps along bodies of water and freight hopping. Readers get a feel and taste for small town America in the Heartland during hard times; wet and dry states and the times this story was set. This book is a masterpiece that will resonate long in the hearts and minds of readers. This is a must read!

Carmen Peone, author of Change of Heart and Heart of Courage – I think this book needs to be in every school, not just Kansas. There is history filling its pages that is not in any text books. So much can be learned within these pages about life, friendship and what it means to be family. The adventure in The Summer of the Crow will surely keep young people turning the pages and learning with out realizing teaching is taking place.

REVIEWS

“The writing is delightful, pulling the reader along, tugging at heartstrings and raising indignation. The complexity of the characters and realistic situations enfolded me in the summer with its storms, poverty, machinations of adults and Depression stagnation. The lives of two young boys and a crow taught me much about the mean-spiritedness but also the kindnesses of people and situations in the Midwest during these times. I highly recommend this book for adults and young adults.” -J.W.

“Boeve does an exceptional job of revealing how people were forced to live during a time when the country struggled through the hardest times ever experienced. I tasted the dust, felt the poverty and hopelessness experienced by so many and laughed and cried with Brady as the author led him deftly through that final summer of his childhood. Next year he’s off to high school, and will leave behind the life he’s settled into. Will his mother survive? Will he ever see his family again? Read this well crafted book to find out.” -V.B.

“This is a novel chock full of history and adventure which keeps the pages turning. Boeve manages to teach without preaching about bullying, family, love and friendship. She also manages to educate the reader about this era in American history without it seeming like a history class–and with the added benefit of small details that school classes would never include. While school history classes might concentrate on wars and Presidents, Boeve has taken one small moment in time and made it come to life with extraordinary clarity. Her descriptions are so lucid and engaging that I was quite ready to hang wet blankets at my windows for the next dust storm. Yet even with this historic background, there are plenty of adventures that Brady and Eddie concoct to keep even the most restless young man or woman reading. Quite honestly, if I lived in Kansas I would be petitioning to make this required school reading. As it is, I cannot recommend it highly enough for ALL young adults–and their parents as well.” -A.D.

“Your descriptions are so vivid. I lived through those times and your description of the Depression and dust storms of the 30s is surely accurate.”

“One of the most delightful stories I’ve read in a very long time.”

“… terrific book which touches on many YA themes and keeps the reader guessing what he or she is going to learn about the characters next.”

“Not only is it a good story, but there is so much to learn about the Depression, the Dust Bowl days, prohibition, autism, and riding the rails. It is a whole different world for kids today … and a painless way to learn about one of the yesterdays. I’m going to see if some of my grandkids won’t put it on their summer reading list.”

“The Great Depression, polio, family relationships, bootlegging, alcoholism, hunger, despair, autism, bullying, and love—you truly covered it all. Every character came to life in the book.”

As Flies the Crow – In 1935 Kansas, Brady, 13 and his sister Sarah, 6 cope with many hardships. Their mother suffers from extreme asthma and their father’s farm and livelihood are threatened by droughts and the Depression. Sarah also suffers from a severe form of autism; she is nonverbal and engages in typical self stimming behaviors. Brady describes his sister’s condition as a disease, which it is not. Autism is a neurobiological condition that people knew very little about at that time. The term “autism” was coined in 1943 by Leo Kanner.

The writing is delightful, pulling the reader along, tugging at heartstrings and raising indignation. The complexity of the characters and realistic situations enfolded me in the summer with its storms, poverty, machinations of adults and Depression stagnation. The lives of two young boys and a crow taught me much about the mean-spiritedness but also the kindnesses of people and situations in the Midwest during these times. I highly recommend this book for adults and young adults. – Anonymous

A Time To Remember – Legend of the Rose Brady is growing up during the Great Depression, and worse he and his family live in what was called the Dust Bowl. With his mother ill and no work, his father takes her to California. Brady and his sister, who is autistic, are left with his Grandpa Bud, who is sheriff of the county, and his aunt. After he goes to stay with his grandpa, Brady forms a friendship with Eddie, a small, very poor boy whose father is an alcoholic. Eddie owns a pet crow who accompanies the boys on their adventures and misadventures during that summer Brady will never forget. The Summer of the Crow is a well-written coming of age story you won’t want to miss. Not only is it for YA readers, but adults will also enjoy reading about a way of life few today can remember. Boeve does an exceptional job of revealing how people were forced to live during a time when the country struggled through the hardest times ever experienced. I tasted the dust, felt the poverty and hopelessness experienced by so many and laughed and cried with Brady as the author led him deftly through that final summer of his childhood. Next year he’s off to high school, and will leave behind the life he’s settled into. Will his mother survive? Will he ever see his family again? Read this well crafted book to find out. – VB

The Summer of the Crow, A must read! – The Summer of the Crow has taught me what Kansas in 1935 was like. I had no idea. I had heard about the dust bowls, but only until I have read Eunice Boeve’s book could I really understand. Wet blankets on windows and ropes to find ones way. Her descriptive style is remarkable. Not only has she included historical accuracy in terms of the depression and the dust bowl, but autism in young Brady’s little sister, prohibition, bullying, polio and abuse. I love the ending where hope prevails. Life is rarely fair and many times painful. Yet there is always sparks of hope that keep us moving forward in life’s swells. and who would of thought to have a crow as a pet and how much a boy and a crow could love one another.

I think this book needs to be in every school, not just Kansas. There is history filling its pages that is not in any text books. So much can be learned within these pages about life, friendship and what it means to be family. The adventure in The Summer of the Crow will surely keep young people turning the pages and learning with out realizing teaching is taking place. – CP

History, Adventure and Action for Young Adults and Adults Alike – In the Dust Bowl farmland of Kansas during the middle of the Great Depression, Brady Lee Foster and his family lead hard lives. Brady’s mom is suffering with asthma while his father can no longer grow crops and his sister Sarah is in a world of her own, imprisoned by autism. When his father makes the vital decision to take his wife to California in order to escape the dust storms that aggravate her condition, Brady is passed on to the grandfather and great-aunt he hardly knows. Living with them in the town of Sentinel, he makes friends with a boy who has a pet crow, and who is similarly an outsider from the school cliques. As various secrets of the small town unfold, Brady and his new friend Eddie hatch a plan that puts both their lives at risk. This is a novel chock full of history and adventure which keeps the pages turning. Boeve manages to teach without preaching about bullying, family, love and friendship. She also manages to educate the reader about this era in American history without it seeming like a history class–and with the added benefit of small details that school classes would never include. While school history classes might concentrate on wars and Presidents, Boeve has taken one small moment in time and made it come to life with extraordinary clarity. Her descriptions are so lucid and engaging that I was quite ready to hang wet blankets at my windows for the next dust storm. Yet even with this historic background, there are plenty of adventures that Brady and Eddie concoct to keep even the most restless young man or woman reading. Quite honestly, if I lived in Kansas I would be petitioning to make this required school reading. As it is, I cannot recommend it highly enough for ALL young adults–and their parents as well. – AD

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front cover

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back cover

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  • 306 pages
  • 5.5 x 8.5 trim size
  • softcover, perfect bind

Price: $14.95

 

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boeve-euniceEunice Boeve, who was born and raised in Montana and Idaho, has spent nearly all of her adult life in Kansas. She writes for both adults and children usually in the genre of historical fiction. She and her husband raised four children and also have five grandchildren. In addition to her family, she loves books, the outdoors, and writing stories. You can contact the author through her website: www.euniceboeve.net

ISBN: 978-1-939054-06-7

Softcover: Perfect bind

Trim Size: 5.5″ x 8.5″

Pages: 306