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One Crazy Summer Paperback – December 27, 2011
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Eleven-year-old Delphine has it together. Even though her mother, Cecile, abandoned her and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, seven years ago. Even though her father and Big Ma will send them from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to stay with Cecile for the summer. And even though Delphine will have to take care of her sisters, as usual, and learn the truth about the missing pieces of the past.
When the girls arrive in Oakland in the summer of 1968, Cecile wants nothing to do with them. She makes them eat Chinese takeout dinners, forbids them to enter her kitchen, and never explains the strange visitors with Afros and black berets who knock on her door. Rather than spend time with them, Cecile sends Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern to a summer camp sponsored by a revolutionary group, the Black Panthers, where the girls get a radical new education.
Set during one of the most tumultuous years in recent American history, one crazy summer is the heartbreaking, funny tale of three girls in search of the mother who abandoned them—an unforgettable story told by a distinguished author of books for children and teens, Rita Williams-Garcia.
- Format: Hardcover
- Publication Date: 1/26/2010
- Pages: 224
- Reading Level: Age 8 and Up
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During the summer of 1968 eleven year old Delphine and her two younger sisters fly from their father's home in Brooklyn to their mother's in Oakland, the same mother who abandoned the six years ago, the same mother who doesn't want them now. They attend a Black Panther camp and Delphine discovers the Panthers are so much more than the negative press from the media. With sometimes poignant irony, she learns to stand up for herself, to respect herself and to fight for what's right,
Although ONE CRAZY SUMMER is listed as a boon for middle graders, children, teens and adults will find things to savor from Delphine, her sisters and everyone they encounter. Rita Williams-Garcia doesn't sugarcoat the serious events, but tells the story through Delphine's serious, insightful mind. This would be a great read in English or History classes for older kids, because many of the issues are still topical. ONE CRAZY SUMMER is so good I want to read everything else Williams-Garcia has written.
Themes: sisters, family, emotional abuse/neglect, activism, prejudice, history, slanted media coverage
Regarding the mom: You want to hate her, but only an older child (and/or adult) will realize forgiveness is to love her. There are other roles and scenarios which also need further explanation throughout the book. Plus, the fact that the setting is in Summer 1968.
Some parts were complicated and difficult to explain to an 8 yr old, which is why I think older children would be a better audience.
Gave it 5 stars for expressing what abandonment might feel like to children, because not many authors describe it with as much uncategorized pain, confusion and eventual dissonance it tends to create for many.
I liked that the story honored the single father's role, as well as, the perspective of love and respect expressed by the CA friend in regard to his own father's role; regardless of dad being away. Father's play a big role in a child's life and not many author's give them credit for the positive influence.
The point of view of an 11year old was refreshing. True, some of the perceptions were adult like. But weren't we all a little adult like as tweens?
Looking foreword to reading book two.