One Crazy Summer

One Crazy Summer

Book - 2010
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In this Newbery Honor novel, New York Times bestselling author Rita Williams-Garcia tells the story of three sisters who travel to Oakland, California, in 1968 to meet the mother who abandoned them. "This vibrant and moving award-winning novel has heart to spare."*

Eleven-year-old Delphine is like a mother to her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern. She's had to be, ever since their mother, Cecile, left them seven years ago for a radical new life in California. But when the sisters arrive from Brooklyn to spend the summer with their mother, Cecile is nothing like they imagined.

While the girls hope to go to Disneyland and meet Tinker Bell, their mother sends them to a day camp run by the Black Panthers. Unexpectedly, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern learn much about their family, their country, and themselves during one truly crazy summer.

This moving, funny novel won the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction and the Coretta Scott King Award and was a National Book Award Finalist. Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern's story continues in P.S. Be Eleven and Gone Crazy in Alabama.

Readers who enjoy Christopher Paul Curtis's The Watsons Go to Birmingham and Jacqueline Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming will find much to love in One Crazy Summer.

This novel was the first featured title for Marley D's Reading Party, launched after the success of #1000BlackGirlBooks. Maria Russo, in a New York Times list of "great kids' books with diverse characters," called it "witty and original."

*Brightly, in Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich's article "Knowing Our History to Build a Brighter Future: Books to Help Kids Understand the Fight for Racial Equality"

Publisher: New York : Amistad, c2010.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780060760885
0060760885
9780060760892
0060760893
Branch Call Number: j F WILLIAMS
Characteristics: 218 pages ; 22 cm.

Opinion

From Library Staff

Take a trip to the '60s with Delphine, Fern, and Vonetta to the sunny Oakland as they visit their mother who left them four years ago. They're in for a ride when they discover their mother is less than motherly and the Black Panthers aren't scary as the media portrays them.

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LPL_VanessaR Mar 01, 2019

Have you ever been graced with the Oakland sun? Well, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern don’t feel much of the warmth when they arrive at their mother’s home. A self-proclaimed poet, Cecile, who never wanted much to do with motherhood, sends them to the People’s Center, a Black Panther Day camp. There ... Read More »

Sisters Delphine, Vonetta and Fern haven’t seen their mother, Cecile, in years. They all journey from Brooklyn to Oakland to visit their long-lost mother, the self-absorbed poet, for the summer. Set during the tumultuous Civil Rights era, the sisters attend Black Panther day camp and learn how to... Read More »

Delphine, Vonnetta and Fern are shipped off to 1968 Oakland, CA to visit the mother they barely know, Cecile. Instead of visiting Disneyland, they head to a day camp run by Black Panthers. The sisters are introduced to the passionate politics of the day while trying to get to know their mysteriou... Read More »


From the critics


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t
teal_librarian
Jun 24, 2019

One of the kids in the Society of Bookworms book club recommended this book to me and I’m so glad she did! Even though it takes place in the past, it really resonates with what is happening now. #PACT2019

1
11lbh09
Apr 20, 2019

An engaging, readable, award-winning book. I think it could be a very good choice for family and classroom discussions. The author takes us back to the 1960's; among the actors of the time were the Black Panthers. (I remember those times well.) The importance of responsibilities for family vs. responsibilities for social action is a key element of the story.

LPL_VanessaR Mar 01, 2019

Have you ever been graced with the Oakland sun? Well, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern don’t feel much of the warmth when they arrive at their mother’s home. A self-proclaimed poet, Cecile, who never wanted much to do with motherhood, sends them to the People’s Center, a Black Panther Day camp. There they learn a lot more about themselves, their mother, and about the good deeds the party does for their community. Set in the 1960s, during the Civil Rights era, you will discover complicated family history and ways that the Black Panther Party united it’s community while teaching young and old to stand up for their rights. Plus, the sisters will keep you flipping each page, with their wit, humor, and sisterly banter.

OPL_MichelleC Feb 27, 2019

This book blew me away. Told from the perspective of the oldest sisters, this is the story of three sisters spending the summer with their estranged mother. The sisters attend a Black Panther day camp and learn about their rights, their bond as sisters, who their mother is, and the power of their own voices. I HIGHLY recommend.

s
Starpoem
Dec 04, 2017

You might want to wear some flowers in your hair, because this book will take you to San Francisco, 1968! The book is peopled with Black Panthers, hippies, and poets of the revolution. But it's not so much a book about history as it is a book about three sisters having a summer adventure, meeting new friends, and forging a relationship with the mother who abandoned them several years earlier. I recommend this book for tweens, teens, and adults--everyone will get something out of it. It's especially good for poetry-lovers, since poetry plays an important part in the story.

f
Falcon_12
Jun 21, 2016

This was a really good book! I thought the author did an excellent job of balancing the historical fiction aspect with the personal life of the main character, Delphine.

h
H22345007817565
Jul 14, 2015

I love this book. It has a very cute story.

c
Chapel_Hill_TishaW
Feb 18, 2015

In the midst of the 1960's and the Civil Rights Movement, three young African-American sisters are flown from Brooklyn, NY to Oakland, CA to spend a month with the poet-mother who abandoned them six years ago. But instead of bonding with her as they had hoped, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are sent to "summer camp" with the Black Panthers. Readers experience the girls' off-the-wall moments through the eyes of Delphine, the responsible eldest sister. This book does an excellent job of addressing differing perspectives and the possibilities for reconciliation--cultural, political, and familial. For a YA book that covers similar ground, try The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon.

nlthoma Oct 03, 2013

Wow! This book was great! What I love about this book is that a large span of ages and grades will find this book enjoyable. Also, I love the historical aspect relating to the Black Panthers that is included.

j
jrmccowan
Feb 10, 2013

This book is a must read parents. I ran across this book simply while looking for chapter books to read for my class, and enjoyed the book to the fullest. I do not really know a lot about the Black Panther movement, but this book gives insight on the movement from the eyes of three sisters. Parents if you want to expose your children to a different era, which you should; this will be a great book for him or her to read. Despite the unfortunate circumstances the girls are in, the see, to make the best of what they have, and where they are.

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Age

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violet_fox_432
Apr 23, 2019

violet_fox_432 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 12

orange_cat_2242 Jul 18, 2013

orange_cat_2242 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

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jrmccowan
Feb 10, 2013

jrmccowan thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

blue_dog_52954 Aug 22, 2012

blue_dog_52954 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 13

white_butterfly_199 Jul 22, 2012

white_butterfly_199 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

blue_ant_872 Jul 19, 2012

blue_ant_872 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

white_butterfly_162 Jun 25, 2012

white_butterfly_162 thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

red_bird_934 Jun 20, 2012

red_bird_934 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Summary

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BarSeeg May 23, 2013

It's been one crazy summer with the mother they hardly even know. Three kids venture to California and met their mom who just happens to be involved in the often violent Black Panthers Movement of the 1960s. How's that for a summer vacation to remember.

j
jrmccowan
Feb 10, 2013

Eleven year old Delphine, and her two younger sisters Vonetta, and Fern were sent from Brooklyn to California to see someone who left them seven years ago; their mother. When the girls arrive in Oakland, California, they realize the women the mother they were so anxious to see wants nothing to do with them for the summer, and sends them off to a day camp sponsored by the Black Panthers. The girls want nothing more than to be loved by someone who walked out on them. Though this book takes place in one of the most horrible times in history this story will gives you some laughs, and cries.

Quotes

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f
Falcon_12
Jun 21, 2016

“It was a strange, wonderful feeling. To discover eyes upon you when you expected no one to notice you at all.”

j
jrmccowan
Feb 10, 2013

Cecile looked at us, then at the stewardess. I’m Cecile Johnson. These are mine.” “Cecile’s face had no expression.”

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