The Summer of the Swans - Betsy Byars I re-read this book that I loved so much as a child. Basically, this book is perfect. The trend in children's books now is that you have to grab the reader by the throat in the opening line and have non-stop action. But this gentle, contemplative book is of its time (the '70s) and is essentially character-driven. I remember as a nine-year old thinking this book was really "deep"--and I still think so! Also, I was really amazed at Betsy Byears' dead-on portrayal of autism, even though she doesn't call it that because people didn't usually receive that diagnosis back then. (Charlie had a high fever as a baby, then stopped speaking, and now stims on beautiful objects, has poor fine-motor skills, has trouble with transitions, and needs his routine.) Charlie and Sara are both very lovable characters and their small-town world is so real.