Thursday, August 05, 2010

One Crazy Summer

One Crazy SummerOne Crazy Summer Rita Williams-Garcia

This one's already received a lot of well-deserved hype. In 1968, Delphine's father sends her and her sisters from their home in Brooklyn to Oakland, to spend the summer with the mother that walked out on them. Everyone says Cecile was crazy. Delphine remembers the words and poetry she used to draw all over the walls of their apartment before she left. Now Cecile has a printing press in her kitchen and won't let the girls in. Cecile's changed her name to Nzila. Cecile doesn't make a secret about the fact she doesn't want her daughters there. The girls are forced to spend all day at the summer camp that Cecile's friends, the Black Panthers, run.

While Delphine's grandmother worries the girls will make themselves a Grand Negro Spectacle, the camp shows Delphine a very different side to the stories she's seen on the evening news.

But, while this is a story of the Panthers and of Delphine's changing race consciousness, it's also a story of a girl who's tried to take care of her younger sisters way too long, trying to make sense of why her mother left and what she has become. It's a story of three sisters and their changing relationship. It's a story about poetry and family and finding a new community.

Such a beautiful story that was better than the hype made it out to be. I'll add my voice to those who like to mention this book and Newbery in the same sentence.

Book Provided by... my local library

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