The Black Panthers. Finding the mother who abandoned you. One Crazy Summer isn’t exactly Captain Underpants. It’s serious stuff. And yet, it was moving, and touching, and very recommendable.
Although there was no Disney happily-ever-after ending here, One Crazy Summer broke with what was beginning to seem like a Newbery tradition — the heart-wrenching tragic event. (And thank goodness for that. It’s really not my goal when reading for pleasure to sob miserably at any point. I mean, it’s one thing for a book to be meaningful, and another thing altogether for it to make me depressed for weeks. But for that rant see my discussion of Hattie Big Sky.)
Delphine, and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, are sent to spend the summer with Cecile, the mother who abandoned them years earlier. From their travel to their mother’s home in California to their interactions with her Black Panther friends, the girls provide a fresh, and often painfully honest, look at the turmoil of the 1960s.
Give it a try. I know it may not be your usual read, but One Crazy Summer will give you a lot to think about. And that’s not a bad thing.
One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia
Newbery Honor – 2011
A.R. Level: 4.6; Middle Grades