Saturday, July 16, 2011

DCF number 4

"One CrazySummer" by Rita Williams-Garcia is a great book! It has already won or been nominated for three awards-- King, National Book, and Newberry -- and it is certainly worthy of all of that acclaim. I would not be surprised if it won the DCF as well, though I am not sure kids in Vermont in the current era would be able to relate to the topic and the characters very well.

The protagonist is an eleven year old African American girl who has grown up without the mother who abandoned her and her sisters. Now, after many years filled with only vague memories, Delphine is spending the summer of 1968 with her mother in Oakland, California. Her mother, Cecile, lives a life that Delphine considers "crazy," and most readers would probably agree. The most "crazy" aspect of Cecile's life is her involvement in the Black Panther movement. As Delphine explains it, "I was marching my sisters into a boiling pot of trouble cooking in Oakland" (128).

As Delphine's summer comes to a close, she realizes much about the world, herself, and her estranged mother, and comes to understand that not everything is as it seems.

This is a sweet and sorrowful coming of age novel that is beautifully written.

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