Reading guide for The Year the Swallows Came Early by Kathryn Fitzmaurice

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Year the Swallows Came Early

by Kathryn Fitzmaurice

The Year the Swallows Came Early
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2009, 288 pages
    Jun 2011, 288 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Joanne Collings

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

Discussion Questions

  1. In The Year the Swallows Came Early eleven year old Eleanor "Groovy" Robinson describes her house as a piece of See's candy, with perfect swirled chocolate on the outside, but sometimes hiding coconut flakes on the inside, all gritty and hard, like undercooked white rice. What does this mean? Is there anything in your life that is like this? What is it?
  2. How are the swallows, which return to San Juan Capistrano each year, symbolic of Frankie's mother?
  3. Eleanor says that certain foods remind her of special people and events. In chapter thirty-seven, she says that scrambled eggs remind her of talking to her Mama while the fog rolls in, and that Luis' tacos remind her of the swallows coming back. What foods remind you of special people or events? Why is this?
  4. Why is it sometimes so hard to forgive someone who has wronged you? What does Eleanor mean in chapter thirty-four when she wishes for her father to come home even after everything he'd done, when she says that her wish felt okay, and just a little bit free, like she could finally rest?
  5. Why is Eleanor happy when she finds out her father gave Mr. Tom his trailer when he could have sold it to pay her the money he owed her?
  6. In chapter twenty-seven, why does Eleanor say Mr. Tom was like a sign trying to point her in the right direction? What does she mean by this?
  7. Eleanor makes up menus to match different occasions. In chapter eight, she cooks fish sticks and creamed corn to get her mama to tell her the truth about her father? Make up a menu for the last day of school. What might be on a menu for the last of summer?
  8. Write a poem or a short story about the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano. For more information on the swallows, see

Kathryn enjoys visiting book club discussions.  To schedule a regular phone call or one using Skype, please contact the author:

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of HarperCollins Children's Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
  • Book Jacket: The Mothers
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett
    Every now and then the publishing industry gushes about a young author destined to become the next ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    North of Crazy
    by Neltje

    The remarkable life of a woman who carves her own singular path.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Les Parisiennes
    by Anne Sebba

    How the women of Paris lived, loved, and died under Nazi occupation.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    News of the World
    by Paulette Jiles

    Exquisitely rendered and morally complex--a brilliant work of historical fiction.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.