Tuesday, February 15, 2011

One Crazy Summer

Williams-Garcia, Rita. 2010. ONE CRAZY SUMMER. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780060760885 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-7]

Set in 1968, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters have been shipped to California to spend the summer with their free-spirited mother who abandoned them when they were quite young. When they arrive, Cecile, their mother, is not thrilled to have them for the summer. For meals, she sends them to a Chinese restaurant every day and makes them attend a Black Panther run day camp so that she can work on her poetry. Ultra-responsible Delphine tries to keep her younger sisters Vonetta and Fern out of her mother’s way while at the same time taking over much of the responsibility of running the house such as the cooking and the cleaning. In the end, the girls and their mother are caught up in political intrigue during a volatile time in history.

Narrated by Delphine, all three girls in this Coretta Scott King honor book and National Book Award finalist have strong voices and independent personalities. The revelation of racial issues of the time period is authentic and told in a way that is understandable to young readers.

This work can serve as a focus novel for American history classes.
The book would also be a good read aloud during Black History Month.
Use with English classes to discuss character development.

Other historical novels for young readers:
Holm, Jennifer. TURTLE IN PARADISE. ISBN 9780375836886
Wiles, Deborah. COUNTDOWN. ISBN 9780545106054
McMullan, Margaret. SOURCES OF LIGHT. ISBN 978547076591

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