Sami’s Sleep­away Summer

  • Review
By – April 16, 2012

Going to sleep­away camp is a famil­iar rite of pas­sage for many chil­dren. Mey­er­hoff does an excel­lent job of cap­tur­ing the essence of the expe­ri­ence for the first time camper. Sami does NOT want to go to camp. She is not inter­est­ed in new expe­ri­ences, and going to Camp Cedar Lake at the same time as her obnox­ious cousin, Daniel, only adds to her appre­hen­sion. Sami is count­ing on her big sis­ter, Maya, to help her adjust to camp. Ini­tial­ly, Sami’s neg­a­tive atti­tude gets in the way of her fun. She’s annoyed with every­thing and every­one, includ­ing her sis­ter. But when her bunk­mate, Gab­by, becomes home­sick, Sami reach­es out. As their friend­ship grows, Sami’s atti­tude begins to change. Sami learns a lot about her­self and oth­ers includ­ing her cousin, Daniel, who she comes to view in a new light. As expect­ed, Sami ends up par­tic­i­pat­ing in games and activ­i­ties and ends up lov­ing camp! 

Sami is a like­able, quirky girl — even when her atti­tude is less than cheery. She writes songs and pep­pers her lan­guage with Yid­dish words she has learned in a class she takes with her grand­ma. The Jew­ish aspect of camp is well woven into the sto­ry. Jew­ish kids will rec­og­nize their own camp expe­ri­ences. There is just enough ten­sion to keep read­ers inter­est­ed. Cou­pled with the well-drawn details of camp activ­i­ties, Sami’s Sleep­away Sum­mer is per­fect for a young­ster prepar­ing for sleep­away camp or any new life expe­ri­ence. High­ly rec­om­mend­ed for ages 7 – 9.

Read­ing Guide

Bar­bara Bietz is a free­lance writer and children’s book review­er. She is cur­rent­ly a mem­ber of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Com­mit­tee. Bar­bara is the author of the mid­dle grade book, Like a Mac­cabee. She has a blog ded­i­cat­ed to Jew­ish books for chil­dren at www​.Bar​baraB​Book​Blog​.Blogspot​.com.

Discussion Questions