One Crazy Summer


One Crazy Summer (paperback)

by Rita Williams-Garcia

AR Level 4.6, 7 points

Newbery Honor (plus many more awards!)


One Crazy Summer tells a story from multiple perspectives.  Delphine is the oldest of three daughters raised in New York City during the 1960’s by her dad and grandmother.  At the beginning of the book, we learn she and her sisters are flying across the country to Oakland, California to spend the summer with her mother, who abandoned them when the youngest sister was a newborn.  Their mother, Cecile (aka Nzila) is a member of the Black Panthers, whose ideology is very different from that of her dad and grandmother.  Delphine and her sisters have to adapt to living with and accepting the woman who abandoned them, as well as see their place in a very different culture.

What I liked about this book was of course, the perspective.  This is a period of time where America was going through great conflict and change.  Much of it is still relevant today.  Most of my education about Malcolm X and the Black Panthers comes from history class in high school, or movies I’ve seen.  Certainly none of those are from the perspective of a nearly 12 year old African American girl.

What I didn’t like about this book was the hard reality that a mother can abandon her children.  That was really hard for me to read about, and it was hard for Delphine to accept as the abandoned child.  I was supposed to learn about Cecile’s reasoning behind leaving, but I just couldn’t accept it myself, because moms just don’t leave, no matter what.

Thank you, Jazmin, for lending me your book!

Book 31 of 40 (year 2)