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Thursday, July 22, 2010

One Crazy Summer

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia takes us to a volatile time in our history - the Civil Rights Movement. Eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters are sent from Brooklyn to spend a month with the mother she hardly remembers in Oakland, California. Delphine's mother, Cecile, left the girls and her father several years ago shortly after her youngest sister, Fern, was born. The memories Delphine has of her mother are not good ones and it doesn't help that her grandmother, Big Ma, has nothing nice to say about Cecile. When the sisters reach Oakland, Delphine must continue her role as the care-giver of the family as Cecile, who calls herself Nzila, wants the girls to stay out of her way. Cecile makes the girls go daily to the People's Center, run by the Black Panthers, where the girls learn about revolutionary ways they can help bring about change. Who are the strange men with their black berets who come to Cecile's house at night? What could Cecile possibly be doing with her poetic words and why is she insistent that the girls stay out of her kitchen? Readers will find themselves cheering on Delphine and her sisters as they try to gain Cecile's love and approval during their crazy summer of 1968.

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