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Letting Swift River Go
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Letting Swift River Go

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  466 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Relates Sally Jane's experience of changing times in rural America, as she lives through the drowning of the Swift River towns in western Massachusetts to form the Quabbin Reservoir.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 1st 1995 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published September 1st 1992)
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Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A great history of the creation of the quabbin reservoir told from a child's perspective. I absolutely loved this book when I was younger.
May 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone!
A beautifully written book. Used it to kick-off the 5th grade study of the Quabbin. The kids were mesmerized.
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-youth
The writing definitely deserves a 5-star. Cooney's illustrations were perfect. And after all these years, I learned a new piece of our country's history. Left me feeling rather melocholy, contemplative, almost sad, so I will try to take the mother's advice to just "let it go...." Excellent.
Ally Lindley
I liked this story because I liked the moral of the story, that sometimes we have to leave the past behind and continue to move forward.
Apr 13, 2010 rated it liked it
Summary: Relates Sally Jane's experience of changing times in rural America, as she lives through the drowning of the Swift River towns in western Massachusetts to form the Quabbin Reservoir.

Written by Jane Yolen
Published in 1995 by Little, Brown Young Readers

Recommendations/Awards: LLED Book Nomination

Audience: Read together or read alone: grades 2-6

Genre: Picture Book

Illustrations: The illustrations in this book were done well and with great detail. I thought they could've used more color to
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I recently found this in boxes of books purchased from a retired teacher for everyone at our school to add to the collection. It tells of towns destroyed because of the damming of the Swift River for a reservoir fort he city of Boston. There are descriptions of life before it happened and then the poignant saying goodbye as the cemetery is moved, the homes are moved or bulldozed. Yolen's storytelling is always wonderful and this is a story of change and the effects on people's lives told through ...more
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
4 1/2 - I grabbed this up at the thrift store as I absolutely love Barbara Cooney's folk art illustrations of historic Americana. The story is wonderful, I love picture books that teach and open a child's eyes to a subject, little glimpses of history for example. The destruction of seven towns to create a reservoir and the process involved and emotions felt by the people is a fabulous example. I think O found it very interesting. Someday when she sees the massive Hover Damn she might think back ...more
Hannah Jane
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: easy-fiction
The story is haunting and sad and powerful. When the graves were moved it felt like they were taken right from my very ribs. And oh the fireflies! And the stars! And how the bridge connecting all that transient luminescence remained a constant!

The illustrations perfectly reflect and illuminate the story, from harvesting the ice to shuffling the graves to the sun leading the canoe along.

This book is for anyone who has ever sat in a canoe and tried to guess the secrets of the lake beneath the wav
Dec 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american-history
Jane Yolen continues to provide us with exceptional children's literature. The book is electrifying and the illustrations are breath taking. In 1927 Massachusetts decided that the Swift River should be damned to form a reservoir. In doing so Boston would be supplied with water. Jane Yolen shows us what it must have been like for those that had to give up their way of life. This book is appropriate for all ages form 1-3 and can be used to teach across multiple disciplines: Social Studies, history ...more
This beautiful picture book tells the story of one girl's memories of the town where she was raised. Many years ago, the Swift River communities of western Massachusetts were bought by the government and flooded in order to form the Quabbin Reservoir. Sally Jane shares her happy childhood memories and her experiences once the purchase was made to quench the powerful thirst of Boston, many miles away. The illustrations complement the narrative perfectly. This book could be a great way to discuss ...more
Caitlyn Griefenberg
Dec 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a very interesting book about water, and how important it is to perserve and what happens if you don't. It follows a little girl and the Swift River and the journey they encounter. It is a very good story and highlights important lessons children should learn about. This book helps teach about science because it highlights water conservation and about the environment.
Apr 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Nostalgia, melancholy, and acceptance permeat this true story from Jane Yolen's childhood as the town where she lived for the first six years of her life is literally drowned to provide a water reservoir for the people of Boston. I'm reading this to my library classes this week as we talk about setting.
A young girl shares her story of when she had to relocate and abandon the river where she lived such pleasant memories. Boston people decided it was best to close the river and build a water resievour to provide local people with fresh water. Great book to use in a science lesson about habitats. Also good to integrate into a language arts lesson on summarizing, retelling or problem-solution.
Margaret Muirhead
Mar 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Illustrations by the excellent Barbara Cooney, a melancholic story about the formation of the Quabbin Reservoir. AND this is not my only recommended story about the drowning of some old towns--see Shaker Lane by Martin and Alice Provensen! Two picture books with essentially the same story--hmmmm. The Provensens published their book first, sorry Jane.
Andrew Jameson
Nov 09, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's about a little girl that moves.She moves so other can have that water. She starts to like her new countryside. I did not like it because it is about a girl who moves and that is not what is in the title.I don't like it because it's a sad story.Thay have a picnic on a tombstone and I think that’s gross. It's not a good story to me.Read it and see what you think.
Inhabiting Books
An interesting look at the changes brought about by time and "progress", as observed by one little girl (the author as a girl). I enjoyed the book very much; my girls not so much, but I think they are a bit young for it. It's a story that would appeal more to 8 and up. Great illustrations.
Sep 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was such an interesting book. It is a book about the small town, Swift River Valley that is flooded. The town is flooded on purpose to supply water for the town of Boston. It has such warm illustrations. I must read.
Natalie Schmitt
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ece-3601, writing
A young girl, Sally Jane, grew up in a safe, small town. She had two close friends but one day her town had to be torn down for a Reservoir. This is one of my favorite books! It can be used to teach different writing crafts as well as emotion in writing.
Good story with great illustrations.

Good opening for writer's workshop - Author tells story of how she lived in a town like that of the story - writing fiction from own experiences.

Great word choices.

Blessy Mathew
May 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This is one of my favorite picture books with a touch story. Yolen takes the reader on a journey with her poetic narration, while creating images with her words. Even though illustrations are present, the words paint the true picture.
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
How can you go wrong with Jane Yolen's lyrical verse and Barbara Cooney's art? Yolen tells the story of a young girl's experience of how Massachusetts' Quabbin Reservoir came to be: "So it was voted in Boston to drown our towns/that the people in the city might drink."
Kelly Powell
This book made me think of when I moved out of my childhood home. Though my home wasn’t destroyed like in the book I felt like it was. This book brought back both sad and fond memories, but ultimately the ending gave me peace of mind about my own experience.
Karen Dransfield
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
This lovely water coloured picture book is about the drowning of the Swift River towns in western Massachusetts to form the Quabbin Reservoir. The author lived in the area and wrote her story. It's an interesting look at how development can have an impact on people and their lives.
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Making Meaning Grade 5 Resource Kit

Nice story. Explains why some town were moved to create water reserves

Sometimes we just have to let go..
Covenant Presbyterian Springfield Ohio
Call Number: J-2,3 S YO

Aug 26, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children-s
The illustrations are nice-'n-folksy, but the text is SO bleak. I think I would have cried over this one as a kid.
Apr 14, 2014 rated it liked it
This is about a city destroyed due to the damming of a river. Could be a good tool to talk about natural disasters.
Aug 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Interesting history of the Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts, a young girl/woman's point of view of life in the small river town that was "let go" to make the reservoir.
Feb 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Poignant tale of the flooding of towns to make the Quabbin reservoir. It is beautifully told through the voice of a little girl whose family was displaced by the decision.
Valerie Patterson
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sweet story of letting go of the past and accepting change.
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Jane Yolen is a novelist, poet, fantasist, journalist, songwriter, storyteller, folklorist, and children’s book author who has written more than three hundred books. Her accolades include the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Kerlan Award, two Christopher Awards, and six honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities in Massachuset ...more
More about Jane Yolen...