One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia.
Amistad/HarperCollins: NY, 2010.
Newbery Honor Book 2011

Delphine and her sisters are sent from Brooklyn to Oakland to get to know a mother who abandoned them long ago. Cecile has no place for children in her life, but their dad is sick and insists that they need to know her. So, off to Oakland they fly in a 1960s summer, where they spend their days at a Black Panther day care. It is a rocky reunion for all, but there are snippets of why the father insisted. It is an enlightening experience, for the children and the mother.

My biggest impression is that the subject matter is different than anything else I've read. Sure, I've read other books with abandoned children, irresponsible parents, etc. But none like this. None that gives so much perspective regarding the parent. None that hints that there may have been a reason for the abandonment. None that attempts the complexity of healing the rift that would be there. To top it off, the background is refreshingly unusual.

I thought I'd give the book a try, since I have read and liked short stories by Rita-Williams Garcia. The book is short, and exceptional! Delphine and Cecile are a pair destined to battle, unless Cecile starts to pay attention to what is under her nose.

related-sisters, mothers and daughters, poets, African Americans, Black Panther Party, civil rights movement, Oakland, California, 20th century
RL=4th-7th



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