Wednesday, December 15, 2010

One Crazy Summer by Rita Garcia-Williams

It's the summer of 1968 and three sisters, Delphine, Vonetta and Fern, are off to Oakland California from Brooklyn New York to visit their mother who abandoned them many years ago.  The girls are excited about visiting California and have grand ideas of all sorts of adventures.  They are also anxious about seeing the mother that left them so many years ago.

How surprised they are when the mother they meet is not the one they who would dote on them and care for them as most mothers would, but instead the complete opposite!  Their mother shows up late to the airport, doesn't ever cook for them , doesn't give hugs, and won't even refer to Fern by her name!

The girls are send to eat breakfast at a local center run by the Black Panthers and then stay for their summer camp. 

It's an interesting summer for sure, and one that will change their lives forever.

What I Thought:
This book is getting lots of Newbery buzz, so I wanted to check it out!  And wow, it's a great read!  I enjoyed the voice of Delphine and at times wanted to reach out and give her a big old hug!  Delphine has had to serve as a mother figure to her sisters for years, and she is understandably angry when her mother shows no interest of stepping into that role.  Throughout the book we grasp a better sense  of what makes their mother "tick" and wonder if they will ever come to an understanding.

The cultural and historical aspect of this book is wonderful.  Personally, I do not know much about the Black Panthers and that movement, and this book has peaked my interest in this time of history.  What a great book to include as a supplement to any unit about the 1960's!

This is a wonderful book, and I would not be surprised if it had a shiny Newbery medal attached to its cover soon!

Very highly recommended. 

(Edited to add...) This book is the 2011 Coretta Scott King Author Medal winner and a 2011 Newbery Honor winner. 

Want to see more?  Check it out on Amazon: One Crazy Summer by Rita Garcia-Williams.

Reviewed from a library copy.

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