One Crazy Summer
By Rita Williams-Garcia
(Amistad Press, Library Binding, 9780060760892, 218pp.)
Publication Date: January 2010
List Price: $16.89*
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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.
“Delphine is the pitch-perfect older sister, wise beyond her years, an expert at handling her siblings...while the girls are caught up in the difficulties of adults, their resilience is celebrated and energetically told with writing that snaps off the page”
-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Regimented, responsible, strong-willed Delphine narrates in an unforgettable voice, but each of the sisters emerges as a distinct, memorable character, whose hard-won, tenuous connections with their mother build to an aching, triumphant conclusion.”
-Booklist (starred review)
“The setting and time period are as vividly realized as the characters, and readers will want to know more about Delphine and her sisters after they return to Brooklyn...”
-Horn Book (starred review)
“Emotionally challenging and beautifully written, this book immerses readers in a time and place and raises difficult questions of cultural and ethnic identity and personal responsibility. With memorable characters (all three girls have engaging, strong voices) and a powerful story, this is a book well worth reading and rereading.”
-School Library Journal (starred review)
“Delphine’s growing awareness of injustice on a personal and universal level is smoothly woven into the story in poetic language that will stimulate and move readers.”
“In One Crazy Summer Williams-Garcia presents a child’s-eye view of the Black Panther movement within a powerful and affecting story of sisterhood and motherhood.
-Monica Edinger, The New York Times