Children's Books

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JANUARY 4, 2011
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
11-year-old Delphine and her 2 sisters, Vonetta and Fern, are sent from Brooklyn to Oakland, California to meet the mother who abandoned them years earlier. Cecil didn't ask for them to visit and is not the welcoming, loving mother the girls hope to meet. She also isn't likely to take them to Disneyland, the beach or to meet any Hollywood stars, as they envision. Cecil doesn't cook for the girls and doesn't want them in her house during the day while she writes poetry in her kitchen. Instead, she sends them for free breakfast at a community center, where they also stay for the summer camp program. This story takes place in 1968 when the Black Panthers are trying to get civil rights for black people. The camp is run by Black Panthers and  teaches them about "black power". Gradually Delphine learns that the Black Panthers, and her mother Cecil for that matter, are not exactly as Big Ma back home describes them. Suitable for readers in grades 4-8 who are interested in civil rights movements or desiring African American characters. This book has been getting a lot of buzz recently in regards to the Newbery Award. It is full of more mature themes including love, acceptance, and revolution. and is a slow-moving story. The characterization is very good, but I kept wondering how much the theme might appeal to children. Time will tell.

Add a comment  (1 comment) posted by Mrs. Sommer

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Mrs. Sommer said, on Jan. 13 at 8:25AM
This book was just named a 2011 Newbery Honor Book. It was also chosen for the Coretta Scott King Book Award.

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