Wednesday, May 7, 2014

What Will the Summer Bring?

“We all have our la-la-la song. The thing we do when the world isn't singing a nice tune to us. We sing our own nice tune to drown out ugly.” 

Delphine and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, are flying from New York to California alone. Being the oldest, Delphine’s in charge, but it's not easy keeping two little sisters in line. What's even harder is the fact that it's the late 1960s, and they have the fear of Big Ma (their grandma) in them, which reminds them that they're representing all African-American people. Delphine doesn't want her sisters to do anything wrong. When they get to California, they are met by their mother, Cecile, who seems like a shifty character with her sunglasses and quick ways through the airport. Cecile abandoned them seven years before and doesn't seem very motherly when she takes them to her apartment. She won't even let them in the kitchen! Each step of the way, Delphine acts like a little mother trying to protect her sisters and help them to have the best experience possible. Cecile lets them do things they would never be allowed to do back in New York, like go out to pick up Chinese food for dinner by themselves in an unfamiliar city. This whole new world brings with it a slew of rules and way of living for Delphine and her sisters. When the girls go to a camp that's run by the Black Panthers, they see a lifestyle that's foreign to them, but Delphine loves seeing the way the people are spreading peace. When the girls are asked to take part in a rally, Delphine is sure that they should not be a part of it, because she knows how her dad and Big Ma would react. After she takes her sisters on a special sightseeing outing around San Francisco, a trip she has planned down to the last penny, they come back to find the police arresting Cecile and two men. What will happen now that the girls have no parent to live with? How will each girl change? Who will help them until it's time for them to go back to New York? What lessons are they learning? Should the girls participate in the rally? You have to read this amazing story to find out what life is like for these three girls in 1960s Oakland.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia is the story of three girls learning and growing. They move to a world unlike any they have known before, and a new way of life is unveiled to them. It showed me that you can't go miles away from home and live in a different environment without seeing things in a new light. My heart went out to Delphine as she tried to be a good older sister and a wonderful caretaker. I was so scared for her when her mom was taken to jail. I always feel bad for a character that has to grow up before their time, but at least in this case the girls are able to learn some important lessons. This book opened my eyes to a different culture and made me think about what it might be like for people to have a parent they never really knew. The voices of the girls jumped off the page, and I still feel like I know each one and can picture them easily. I recommend this book to kids in grades four and up because it will help them to see how far we've come as a nation and what life was like not that long ago. This is the first book I have read by this author, but I cannot wait to read more! I recently heard there is a sequel, and I look forward to picking it up. A must read for people that enjoy historical fiction and strong characters!

Has anyone else read One Crazy Summer? Or have you read another book by Rita Williams-Garcia? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Happy Reading!
~L


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33 comments:

  1. Haven't read this yet, but am starting to see it around. It looks good.

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    1. Natalie- It was a great read! :) ~L

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  2. I have read this excellent book in our homeschool. The boys and I loved it. I was able to get my older children involved in listening too. Williams-Garcia really gives the reader a chance to grow close to each character by giving plenty of details and keeping her readers engaged. I did not want to put this book down and the kids repeatedly wanted to make extra time for this winner to be read aloud!

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    1. Esperanza- I can see why it was a favorite of you and your boys. The characters really jump off the page and I loved finding out about them. I am SO excited that there is a second book and I can read about these characters again. Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts! :) ~L

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  3. I have seen this cover around, but haven't picked it up. Looks really interesting!!

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    1. Meradeth- It is definitely an eye-opening read. :) ~L

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  4. Love, love this one! And it's sequel P.S. Be Eleven. The two books together balance Delphine's life in a very cool way.

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    1. Barbara- Glad to hear from another reader who enjoyed this one! I can't wait to read P.S. Be Eleven. It sounds awesome! :) ~L

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  5. Loving the sound of this, I'm determined that I too must get a la-la-la song.

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  6. Sounds like a great novel. One Crazy Summer was the title of an 80s movie I saw on a bad date once!

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    1. Tracy- I couldn't reply under your comment- but yes, we all need a la-la-la song! :) ~L

      Stephanie- It is a great book! I know the movie you are talking about. Both crazy summers in very different ways. :) ~L

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  7. Huh. Home schooler endorsed, maybe that's one we should try.

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    1. Crystal- It is a great read! I am sure there are resources out there to go with it too. :) ~L

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  8. Oh I'm so worried about the girls now! I'm sure everything will work out but also that everything will be placed on Delphine's shoulders now that her mom has been arrested. I'm sure my heart will go out to the girls (it already has) like it did for you when I read their story. I have to make sure to keep this on mind this summer. Thanks for the awesome review!

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    1. Adriana- I hope you get to read this one this summer because the girls will speak right to you. Delphine has more to shoulder than anyone her age should and I just wanted to give her a hug and let her run around and play like other kids her age. Loved reading your thoughtful comment. :) ~L

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  9. Kids in crisis! That always grabs my heart. Thanks for telling us about this one.

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    1. Lee- Definitely a heart grabber. :) ~L

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  10. Well this looks like a really great read. I will be looking it up for my kids! Thanks!

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    1. Heidi- It is! Definitely one for your kids' list. :) ~L

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  11. Nice book. I cannot believe summer is around the corner.

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    1. Lady Lilith- It is! I can't believe summer will be here soon either! :) ~L

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  12. This is weird - I stopped getting emails about your posts. :( It happened to another blog I follow too. I just re-subscribed. I hope that doesn't happen again! I haven't read this book, but it sounds great! :)

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    1. Erik- Thanks for resubscribing! Sorry you stopped getting emails, but we are glad you are back. I think this is a book you will really enjoy. :) ~L

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  13. I haven't read the book, but I think Rita was very clever to give the mc two little sisters to protect. There's nothing more appealing than a brave, protective mc doing her best in a bad situation.

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    1. Lexa- So true! You can't help but love Delphine for all she does to protect her sisters. :) ~L

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  14. Haven't read this but I think it sounds great. I have a thing for stories with children having to behave older than they are. Putting it on my to-read list!

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    1. Claudine- I think I have a thing for books like that too. They always grab my heart. :) I hope you get to read this one soon! :) ~L

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  15. I loved this book. I read it awhile ago.

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    1. Medeia- Glad to hear you loved this one too! Yeah! :) ~L

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  16. This sounds like a great read, and the timing couldn't be better with the subject of the lack of cultural diversity in children's literature being buzzed about.

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