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on July 6, 2015
This title is on our school district summer reading list, required for all incoming 6th graders in the city. Our 10year old son loved this book. It inspired him to ask important questions and prompted some significant conversations within our family. It's on now on my nightstand, in cue for me to read, and I'm really looking forward to it.
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on November 28, 2012
One Crazy Summer is a historical fiction based novel that takes place in 1968. It involves three sisters who set out to find their birth mother and learn the truths as to why she gave them up. It is a story of the stresses the importance of family, friends, and power of forgiveness and historical changes that are retold through the eyes of a child named Delphine making it relatable for children. Delphine learns so much on her path to self-discovery. One major thing that sets this story apart from many other children's books was that the author sought to bring attention to the Black Panthers and truths about this group. It addresses the issue of racism and injustice in a somewhat subtly moving way rather than so much in your face. While it is a very well written and realistic tale that has one multiple desirable awards it was not one that I found myself to the enthralled by when reading but definitely worthy of using in my classroom and providing for my students. The affect this story has on its readers would most certainly be different and special on a personal level.
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on June 9, 2014
This is such a great book about children who lived and were apart of the Black Panther time and history. These 3 black girls lived in a time before and during the murder of MLK junior. The oldest girl Delphine is a 11 year old girl who with her younger 2 sisters get to meet their mother for the first time, only to find out there are many more secrets and surprises to be unfolded. Such a great read, especially for ages 3rd to 6th graders.
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on March 8, 2013
Three sisters travel from Brooklyn, NY to Oakland, CA in search of their mother during the summer of 1968. When they arrive they find that their visit is not welcome and their mother’s involvement with the Black Panthers is cause for alarm (based on their limited exposure and the heavy influence of their father’s mother, Big Ma.) The story lasts 28 days, the length of their visit, and follows them as they develop not only a relationship with their distant mother but also a better understanding of the Black Panther Movement during this particularly chaotic summer of ’68.

It’s a beautiful story with a strong young woman protagonist. There are many facets to this story that create a full and colorful account of these children’s summer. I appreciated that the story avoided sap and sentimentality beyond reality. The growth that the Delphina experiences and the separation that she makes from an old school way of thinking (Big Ma) to a new school (Celine) seems to represent the change in thought amongst the black community during that time. The strength of each sister seems relatable to most young readers and the searching for self through your family is a concept that everyone can relate to, regardless of family background.
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on June 1, 2011
The bangles on the arm of Rita Williams-Garcia's character,Sister Mukumbu, triggered my memories of the late 1960's as I read this book. (As I recall, if women weren't wearing bangles, then they expressed themselves with tie-dye shirts and strongly scented oils - among other things). If any of this is familiar to you, then you'll really enjoy this book. If not, I invite you to take in the sights and sounds of people engaged in protest efforts during the late 1960's. Our attention is held by the actions of eleven-year old Delphine who bravely anchors herself to the adult role of supervising her younger sisters - Vonetta (who craves attention with such force that she'd be willing to go onstage during a riot) and Fern (who needs security with such passion that she hangs on to her Miss Patty Cake doll with a death grip). Flown to Oakland, CA (virtually against their will), they are destined to spend their summer with their seemingly indifferent mother, Cecile. Instead, the girls find themselves mostly in the care of the Black Panthers. They discover that the group is made up of brothers and sisters that hope to protect the poor by helping them with food, clothing, and medical needs - regardless of race. Written for those children who witnessed the turmoil of the 60's, and who were part of the necessary changes that subsequently grew from protest efforts, Rita Williams-Garcia does an impressive job of recreating the climate of the period - from a child's point of view. Richly steeped in the culture of the late 60's, this girl's story becomes a woman's story through a birth scene and through the changing view that the girls acquire of their mother (who turns out to be a poet). Although there are some moments when Delphine's maturity is almost too adult to believe, the characters are drawn with a bounty of realism and depth - and they are touching and memorable. The children in this book ultimately reveal that some of the protest violence of the 1960's wasn't about a bunch of kids acting out for the heck of it. It was, instead, about fighting to be included in the economy with sufficient depth to meet basic needs -which are universal to all human beings. A beautifully wrought book that certainly deserves its recent receipt of the Coretta Scott King Award!
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on February 9, 2013
This book was bought by me, for me. I am a sixty-year old grandmother who often buys books like this to enjoy as a quick read and to see what young people are reading. The book is full of historical information done in an entertaining way. It made me laugh and sometimes cry. I would recommend it for young women (ages 10 - 15) who you want to introduce to chapter books. The words are not difficult, the storyline is easy to follow, and the ending (not a Cinderella ending) is uplifting.
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on May 26, 2014
The book arrived in excellent condition and faster than I expected. Several of my students have since read it. I do whole class reading in my class and we read several novels throughout the year. I am presently trying to find 20 copies of this book to add to our list for the next school year. Such a good award-winning book needs to be read by all.
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on February 19, 2015
This book keeps you eagerly turning the pages with a simple-yet-intriguing story and a writing style that constantly has something fresh and new to surprise you or make you laugh with its imagery and unique expression. This book and it's sequel "P.S. Be Eleven" are best of the best in middle grade fiction.
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on April 27, 2016
Amazing book and a must read for kids 5th grade-8th grade. A lot of historical information and family issues discussed. I LOVED it and I can't wait to read the sequels. A great book to use in classroom to talk about civic duty and participating in one's community.
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on October 15, 2015
I really enjoyed this book, however I bought it for my daughter in which it didn't keep her entertained enough to finish the book. I believe it is an inspiring book and can teach our children our history as it isn't taught as it should be.
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