02 March 2017

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Publication: January 26, 2010
# of Pages: 224
Source: Library Book 

In the summer of 1968, after travelling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.

In a humorous and breakout book by Williams-Garcia, the Penderwicks meet the Black Panthers.

I originally picked up this book for the diverse reads challenge I'm participating in this year. I had no knowledge of the writer or the series, but I am so happy that I picked it up. It is weaved with lots of history, wonderful characters, and an interesting plot. 

One of the most intriguing aspects of the book was probably the historical facts that were included. This book focuses heavily on the influence of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California. The book does well in fighting the violent stereotypes often associated with this organization. They are portrayed as kind individuals who feed the local children breakfast, provide them with activities to engage in during the summer, and individuals that are invested in standing up for what's right and what will benefit the development of the impoverished community. I had some background knowledge of the Black Panther Party from both high school and college; however, it was interesting to see the characterization of them in a fictional work. 

The three main characters, the Gaither sisters, are phenomenal especially Delphine. She is strong, opinionated, and definitely full of compassion and kindness. She has ultimately taken over raising her two younger sisters as their mother is not present. I loved reading through her perspective. It was interesting to see her thoughts and feelings in relation to her mother who was for the most part absent their entire lives. As the oldest I felt as though she wanted to feel her mother out and let her sisters know and understand that they shouldn't expect too much from their mother. She develops into a very intriguing character and I loved being able to watch her build and change her relationship with not only her mother, but also her sisters. 

Overall this book was amazing and definitely well deserving of the Newberry Honor. I honestly finished this book and immediately put the second one on hold at my local library. I was that interested in seeing where the rest of the story was going to go. If you are looking for a book with great characters and great historical plot points then I would recommend checking this book out. 


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