Sunday, January 4, 2015

One crazy summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

As you can see there are four huge award stickers on the front cover of One Crazy Summer.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book but I will say I am not sure how much understanding an Australian child would have of the experiences of Delphine in 1960s Southern America.

All that to one side I adore books that give me emotional highs and lows and One Crazy Summer certainly delivers this.  Delphine and her two young sisters called Vonetta and Fern fly from Brooklyn,  New York to Oakland, California.  They are going to spend one month with Cecile their mother.  She deserted the family when Fern was just two days old and so all three girls have huge questions to ask and strong emotions which need soothing.  What they find in Oakland is surprising and bruising.

This quote will give you a sense of this story.  The three girls go on an outing to San Francisco and thanks to Delphine they have a wonderful day until this incident unsettles them :

"We stopped in a gift shop on the wharf. The man behind the counter set his eyes on us really hard. At first I thought this was because we were there by ourselves, so I whispered to Vonetta and Fern to be extra well behaved. But then I heard Cecile's last words in my head. His hard stare was for the other reason store clerks' eyes never let up.  We were black kids, and he expected us to be in his gift shop to steal. "

Here is a very detailed review from the New York Times.  Here is a detailed set of teaching notes.


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