Turtle Summer: A Journal for my Daughter

NSTA Recommends - September 2007

The life cycle of the loggerhead sea turtle is chronicled as a mother and daughter join the Island Turtle Team in South Carolina to await the arrival of the egg-laying female turtles. Nests are monitored and sometimes carefully moved to ensure their survival. The story's presentation (with the interaction between a mother and daughter as they share the turtle encounter) will draw readers into the experience, encourage turtle habitat preservation, and increase awareness of the plight of the sea turtle. The book's engaging journal format provides the initial hook with great text and breathtaking photography. Each turn of the page offers a glimpse of the seashore habitat, from primroses and black skimmers to lettered olive shells and jack knife claims.

Turtle Summer contains several unique features, including loggerhead fun facts, nature scrapbook information, turtle tools, and shell-matching activities. Additionally, online worksheets are available from the publisher.
- Judy Kraus

Woman's Radio Network - April 2011

Turtle  Summer includes a lively variety of content including original photos, seashells, text and drawings which will have children and adults intrigued.

School Library Journal - June 2007

“Attractive and informative…best as an introduction for young readers”
Margaret Bush

The Midwest Book Review - June 2007

This book presents a charming idea for a parent and child: to keep a nature scrapbook. Mary Alice Monroe has written this enchanting journal of a mother and daughter’s summer surveillance for loggerhead sea turtles on their beach. While watching the turtle nests, they observe and sketch nature’s other offerings at the seashore. Like a family photo album, it is an intimate book.

Photographer Barbara J. Bergwerf teamed with Mary Alice Monroe to add exceptional and informative photos, including one of Carolina from the previous Arbordale book, Carolina’s Story: Sea Turtles Get Sick Too! This is a splendid mixture of photos, drawing, and text. Children, ages 4 – 9 will relate to this book and its activities, hopefully clamoring to create a similar journal with their siblings and parents.
- Judith Nasse

The American Biology Teacher - Nov. 2007

Turtle Summer: A Journal for my Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe with photographs by Barbara J. Bergwerf is a companion book to Swimming Lessons, the sequel to the best-selling novel, The Beach House. It is a colorful, picturesque journal that vividly describes the nesting cycle of loggerhead sea turtles and other life on the beach from May until August.

Throughout the book, the author engages young readers in ways that they can readily understand, such as: introducing the journal with a note from Mama, referring to her daughter as a "helper" on the Sea Turtle Team, digging with a shell, and carrying a red bucket. As a result, the book comes alive for the reader.

The author's description of the return of the female loggerhead sea turtle after approximately 30 years and the preparation of the nest, and the accompanying framed photographs, enable the reader to visualize the activity. Further, the author describes the procedure for moving eggs to a safe place if the nest is located below the high tide line, as well as how nests are protected by federal law. As the story unfolds, from nesting to hatching, the photographs help readers to visualize scenes from morning until night with the stars and moon as hatchlings return to the sea.

The phrases "now we wait," "while we wait," and "we watch, wait and wonder," are repeated numerous times by the author. These phrases may encourage young readers to patiently observe flowers, shells, and shore birds on the coast. Also, the author emphasizes what nature-lovers and beach-goers should or should not do during the nesting season in order to ensure the survival of the species. A visit to the Sea Turtle Hospital is a highlight of the book showing how volunteers care for injured turtles.

The section "Creative Minds" offers several activities for children and teachers, including: Loggerhead Nesting Fun Facts, Shell Identification, and Making Your Own Nature Scrapbook. For young readers, the book is a resource for studying and identifying life on the coast, while teachers will find the book an excellent resource for writing lessons and other activities.
- Jean B. Worsley, Retired Biology Teacher

Children's Literature & Children's Literature Comprehensive database - June 2007

Snapshots, calendars, seashells, flowers, and illustrations frame the poignant text in this telling of the tale of the loggerhead sea turtle. The author weaves text as though wielding a paint brush to canvas. Her ability makes this journaling effort well worth the read. The total package includes photos of the author and young daughter. It tells the of how the adult loggerhead turtle rises from the sea, lays her eggs, and returns to the sea and then follows up with the time between egg laying and the hatching of the babies. The loving care offered to keep the eggs and babies safe is clearly depicted in the text and snapshots. Especially nice is the author’s comparison between the baby turtles that will return to the location in 30 years to lay their own eggs and the idea that her own daughter will return home after she is grown up. Fun facts, two matching activities, and directions for making a scrapbook are included in the Creative Minds section that follows the main text. This book has an endearing quality that will make it a favorite with children and adults.
- Nancy Garhan Attebury

Baker & Taylor's The CATS Meow - August 2007

Organized as a scrapbook for the author's daughter, it documents a summer of observing turtles on an East Coast beach. Starting in May, the loggerhead turtles return to the beach to lay their eggs about 20 inches under the sandy beach. Approximately two months pass as the turtles incubate, then start to hatch and submerge in a “boil.” The sand boils over with baby turtles who follow the light of the moon towards the ocean. The book concludes with a full-circle idea that the turtles will return in 30 years to the same beach to lay their own eggs and the author will be there with her daughter to watch them return. Filled throughout with images of marine life on the beach, and quick visit of the Sea Turtle Hospital, the book is a good introduction to the early life of a loggerhead sea turtle. A glossary, loggerhead facts, and ideas of how to make a scrapbook, enhance the book for older readers. This title is recommended for children’s collections, especially those with turtle enthusiasts.
- JC Peacock, Collection Development Librarian.

The Georgia Library Quarterly - Summer 2007

This book is a journal of a summer's adventures on an island and the birth of loggerhead sea turtles. The author uses the 55 to 65 days from the time the female turtles lay eggs on the beach, until the time that the hatchlings scramble to the sea, to explore all the wonders of the island. The various shells, flowers, the loggerhead turtle and her egg droppings, beautiful sunrises and sunsets and sea birds are pictured throughout the book. The pictures and the manner in which the author provides details in short descriptions are an exceptional way to draw learners from various reading levels to this book. This title would be an excellent addition to a collection for readers with an interest in endangered species. It is highly recommended for the hesitant reader because of the pictures and the friendly format.
- Evelyne LaMar, DeKalb County School System

Wee One's Magazine - June 2007

A touching tribute to her daughter and the South Carolina beach where she lives, author Monroe enlightens children about the endangered Loggerhead sea turtles that make a visit each year. Actual photos of the sea turtles and wildlife on the beach make this a fascinating book to read and look at.

Creative Minds section at the end of the book is full of learning experiences. A must read for any child who loves nature and especially the beach!
- Jennifer Reed

The Post and Courier - August 2007

"Turtle Summer: A Journal for my Daughter" by Mary Alice Monroe is a perfect starting point [to teach children about turtles]. Monroe tells the story of the loggerhead sea turtles clearly and simply, with photographs and illustrations that make readers feel that they are right there on the beach. She conveys the excitement, the awe and the responsibility by these turtles."
- excerpt from "Terrapins in this town and in literature," by Fran Hawk

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine - June 2007

Turtle Summer, written by New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe, is a journal chronicling a summer of turtle watching. Photos show clear images of turtles laying eggs, of baby turtles hatching, and later of those same turtles crawling across the beach. The author's journaling is detailed without being burdensome, and the text lends itself nicely to a read-aloud time with a parent or older sibling. Many facts about turtles are covered in the book, including information about nesting, turtle rescue, and various other beach creatures. The end of the book also includes several creative activities, making Turtle Summer an excellent choice for a unit study.
- Kendra Fletcher

Learning Table Reviews - May 2012

To celebrate Endangered Species Day, my boys and I read these two fantastic books from Sylvan-Dell.  Turtle Summer is the companion story to Mary Alice Monroe's Swimming Lessons.  Turtle Summer is the journal the young mother writes for her daughter in the novel.  It is a scrapbook of the nesting habits of loggerhead sea turtles, and contains beautiful photographs, not only of this miracle of nature, but also of the surrounding sea island life.  Beginning with the mother turtle digging a nest and laying her eggs, the story continues to give a wealth of information about turtle conservation and turtle habits.  The author's love and respect for nature are evident.

Reader's Haven Reviews-December 2014

This is an amazingly informative book about sea turtles. I loved the photography and explanations for each photograph. I learned a lot from this book and that it will be a great book for all ages. The excellent photography will help to keep the reader engaged while learning all about sea turtles.

Identification of other sea life and shells creates a multipurpose read or study for children to learn about the seacoast. The back of the book has a special section, "For Creative Minds," which helps the reader (and the adult to guide the child) in learning about the wonderful cycle of sea turtles and shell identification. This would be a wonderfully engaging book for families to read prior to a trip to the coast and to take with them.

This is an amazingly informative book about sea turtles. I loved the photography and explanations for each photograph. I learned a lot from this book and that it will be a great book for all ages. The excellent photography will help to keep the reader engaged while learning all about sea turtles.