A Summer’s Trade


A Summer's Trade cover

Every summer day, Tony makes the long drive into Gallup with his mother. He works at the local trading post, and he’s saving all his money to buy something very special: a beautiful, dark leather saddle with nuggets of turquoise laced into the rawhide. If Tony can save enough money to purchase the saddle, he’ll be able to stay home and help his father tend the flocks of sheep and goats. Just when Tony has almost enough money, everything begins to go wrong. Tony’s uncle breaks his foot, the bills become difficult to pay, and Grandmother pawns her precious silver and turquoise bracelet – the one she has worn since she was a young woman. Then Grandmother becomes ill, and Tony knows he must do something to help out. But will he be able to sacrifice his own dream to help his family? This story of hard work and determination will serve as an inspiration to students, and the powerful illustrations will hold the attention of even the most reluctant readers.

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A Summer’s Trade
ISBN 978-1-893354-71-5 Hardcover
Salina Bookshelf, 2008
Age 5-10

Available for purchase from the publisher here and at many other sites online.

Awards & Recognitions

Storytelling World Resource Awards Honored Book

Reading Is Fundamental Multicultural Library Booklist

First place in the SouthWest Writers Contest, Picture Book category (pre-publication)


“Told in both English and Navajo, this story has a quiet dignity that makes Tony’s actions all the more poignant. Toddy, a well-known Navajo artist, presents realistic scenes that reflect the culture and way of life of the characters. The dark backdrops of the mostly indoor city scenes make a telling contrast with the bright blue skies and pink-hued mesas of Tony’s home. Though the events described could take place in the current day, the artwork – with details such as an old Ford pickup and glass Coke bottles – creates a slightly nostalgic mood.” — School Library Journal
“In this endearing tale . . . Tony must choose between helping his family and buying the saddle. Author Deborah W. Trotter’s writing has a gentle dignity, and expresses a devotion to community that rings true throughout this tale. The rich colors and details of the dramatic images by award-winning Navajo illustrator Irving Toddy perfectly complement the story, and the book is bilingual:  The story is told in Diné as well. Recommended for children ages 7 to 10.” — New Mexico Magazine
“…a tale of sacrifice, love and Navajo culture – with wonderful illustrations – all in one tidy package.” —  Native Peoples Art + Lifeways