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Joan reviews… One Crazy Summer

*Summer Reading List Spotlight*

This is on the Haverhill Public School’s recommended summer booklist for Grades 4-5.

One Crazy Summer

By Rita Williams-Garcia

Published: 2010

Age Range: 8-12

Genre: Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction

Awards: Newbery Honor, National Book Award Finalist, Coretta Scott King Award, Scott O’Dell Award

Joan read One Crazy Summer and this is what she thought…

In the summer of 1968, 11 year-old Delphine and her little sisters, Vonetta and Fern, travel from Brooklyn, where they live with their father and grandmother, to Oakland, California, to spend time with their estranged mother. The girls navigate days spent at Black Panther day camp, as well as being away from home and everything familiar, and being left completely unsupervised each day. This book reminded me of summers going up, when I roamed unsupervised through our neighborhood and explored whatever I found. One Crazy Summer made me feel nostalgic for summer camp and younger siblings always hanging around and bugging me.

My favorite scene was the girls’ day trip to San Francisco, although it underlined how different life is now from 1968. An 11 year-old now would never be allowed to supervise two younger kids and take a trip like that! Since the point of the girls’ trip to California was to connect with the mother they’d never known, it would have been nice if they had learned something other than to stay out of her way. The main theme of One Crazy Summer is coming of age and historical fiction. Obviously the world the girls knew in Brooklyn is completely different from what they experience when they get to California. Watching as they figure out all the new things surrounding them is what makes the book so interesting.

Who would you recommend this book to?

This chapter book has a very strong female voice, so it is a great-choice for well-read girls, but anyone who likes historical settings will be drawn in by One Crazy Summer. The sisters learn a lot about their mother, themselves, and a new part of the world in this story. They become even more self-sufficient than they were before, but at the cost of understanding that they really can’t count on their mother. Fans of this book can continue following the sisters’ adventures in P.S. Eleven and Gone Crazy in Alabama.

Place a hold on print copy here and the Overdrive ebook version here!



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