One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia (2010) takes you on a journey with Delphine, age 11, and her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern (or as her mom wanted to name her Afua), as they travel from Brooklyn to Oakland, California to meet the mom who abandoned them. Set in the summer of 1968, this story highlights what it was like as a young African American during this pivotal time of the Civil Rights Movement. As the three girls are first unwelcomed by their mom and treated as nuisances, they spend the majority of their time during their four-week visit at a summer camp run by the Black Panther Party. Over their four-week trip, they learn Black pride and are educated of their civil rights as Americans, they even take part in the movement by participating in rallies and reciting a poem written by their mother. As the summer comes to an end, the three sisters learn the injustices that face people of color, how they can make a difference, and even come to learn the truth about their mother, but can they forgive her for leaving them before they go back home?
I would recommend this book to children 10 to 11 and older. I think this is especially a good story for children of color as it highlights a strong, positive role model, particularly for young girls of color, but it is a great story for all children (of all races and ethnicities) to read as it highlights a pivotal time in American History, with relatable characters to all races. With many awards such as the John Newbery Medal and Corretta Scott Kind Award for Authors I am not the only person that believes this is a great read and that this story does a great job highlighting a historical time in America’s history.