Academic journal article Language Arts

One Crazy Summer

Academic journal article Language Arts

One Crazy Summer

Article excerpt

One Crazy Summer Written by Rita Williams-Garcia Amistad, 2010, 215 pp., ISBN 978-0- 0607- 6088- 5

2011 Coretta Scott King Author Award

After several young adult novels, Williams-Garcia's first stab at middle grade fiction is an absolute gem. Sisters Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are shipped from Brooklyn to Oakland during the summer of 1968 to spend time with their estranged mother, Cecile ("They need to know her, and she needs to know them," (p. 43) says the girls' pa). Not one for parental responsibility, Cecile, who hasn't seen the girls in the seven years since she abandoned her family, sends them to a summer day camp run by the Black Panther Party. What was supposed to be a summer of Disneyland tours and trips to the beach turns out to be much more than the girls bargained for as they find themselves joining the Black Panther movement.

The sisters-ultra- responsible oldest sister Delphine, age 11; attention-hungry Vonetta, age 9; and baby-doll-toting Fern, age 7-are fantastically drawn characters with distinct (and authentic) personalities that are developed organically through Delphine's strong first-person narrative. …

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