Book Review: One Crazy Summer

Author: Rita Williams-Garcia

Publisher: Amistad, 2010

Genre: Children’s Books, Historical Fiction

Pages: 224

Format: Audiobook, Narrated by Sisi Aisha Johnson

Source: Public Library

My Rating: A

Awards Won: Coretta Scott King Award Winner, 2011; Newberry Honor Book, 2011; Scott O’Dell Prize for Historical Fiction, 2011; National Book Award Finalist, 2010

Reason for Reading: I’m working on a project called Diversify Your Reading. I’ve been looking for books that have won the Coretta Scott King Award for Young People. There are so many excellent books to choose from but I decided to start with this one, the most recent award winner. In addition, I couldn’t resist the cover art.

What the Story Is About:

It’s 1968 and eleven-year-old Dephine and her two younger sisters have been sent from their Brooklyn home to Oakland to visit a mother they basically don’t know. Their mother, Cecil, left them right after the youngest sister was born. But now their father believes it’s time for the girls to know their mother and vice versa.

When they arrive, it’s clear they are not welcome. It’s a good thing Delphine knows how to take care of herself and her sisters, because their mother has no intention of caring for them. When they complain of hunger, she sends them up the street for take-out Chinese food. In the morning she tells them to go to the People’s Center for breakfast. They are to stay there all day and join the Black Panther Day Camp.

Delphine had high hopes of getting to know this mother she barely remembers. But, within a few days, Delphine believes she’s just crazy. Cecil has changed her name and calls herself a poet. Gradually Dephine changes her mind about her being crazy. But it’s not until the end of the story that Delphine, and the reader, get a glimpse into the background of Cecil.

The other thing Delphine learned was a first-hand education in black history, black pride, and specifically the Black Panther movement. It’s all seen through the eyes of a child. It’s dnot a heavy handed political statement.

My Thoughts:

Delphine is the narrator of the story and the reader sees every thing through her eyes. She’s fair and understanding of her sisters and the other people she meets. She’s such a little adult that I wanted to step in and teller to go play. I’d take over from here. She and her two sisters are so loveable you want to hug them and give them special treatment.

Don’t let the fact that the story was written for middle readers deter you from reading this story. It’s a sympathetic and honest look at life for a set of children in turbulent Oakland in 1968. Of course, if you have a young reader to read the story with, that’s even better. I strongly recommend the audiobook version. Sisi Aisha Johnson does a superb job reading the story with all thevarious voices.

About the Award:

The Coretta Scott King Award is an annual award presented by the Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table, part of the American Library Association. Named for Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King, Jr., this award recognizes outstanding African American authors and illustrators, and is awarded for books about the African American experience, that are written for a youth audience (high school or below). From the website of American Library Association.

Check your local library or your local bookstore for copies of this book. One Crazy Summeris also available at Amazon. (I am an Amazon Associate.)

About Margot

I'm also known as Joyfully Retired. I love to talk. I love to talk about books I've read, movies I've seen, places I've traveled to, people (especially my children and grandchildren), and Food. On the Quirky Girls Read blog I'm trying to read all the books that have won the major awards and then, of course, talk about them.
This entry was posted in Award Winners, Fiction, Posts by Margot and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Book Review: One Crazy Summer

  1. BermudaOnion says:

    That does sound like a great book and I agree with you about the cover. Delphine sounds like a marvelous character! Did Q read this one too?

    • Margot says:

      I just discovered this one over the weekend when all the reading I could do was with my ears. I’ve only just told Q about the book, but I think she’ll love her. This is one more 11/12 year old character she can identify with. She loved the girl in Moon Over Manifest so I’m sure she’ll like this one. Both good strong characters.

  2. TheBookGirl says:

    Sounds like a really worhwhile read for both adults and young readers 🙂

  3. Heather says:

    This sounds like a great one. Thanks for bringing it to my attention and for your review!

  4. L says:

    wonderful review.
    i enjoyed this read, too. you’re right, it’s not just for young readers.

  5. kaye says:

    sounds like a good book. Do you follow “Books on the Knob”? She is featuring 2 free audiobook titles on Thursday’s that are available on the kindle.

  6. Oh, I luv this one. I like the title ONE CRAZY SUMMER. I would luv to remember your Award Winning Thursdays. Have to visit…

  7. I have been dying to read this, but haven’t gotten a hold of it yet for some reason not clear to me! Must remedy that! :–) Lovely review!

  8. Beth F says:

    After I read my first CSK book just a few weeks ago, I decided it would be great to read more award winners. I too listened to the audio. Can’t wait to hear her thoughts on other winners.

  9. Staci says:

    This one sounds like a winner. I will definitely be reading it this fall and recommending it to my students!!

  10. stacybuckeye says:

    I do love that cover! I love this challenge and look forward to reading about the books you choose.

  11. nbvc says:

    ahhhh i love this novel its so entertaining

  12. Kusa says:

    this looks good and my school are doing a rebica cadeuill books and I picked this one

  13. Kusa says:

    I just love this book well I havn’t read it but it looks soooooooooooooooooooooooo good

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