Monday, September 17, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Winner! and One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia

First of all I would like to announce the winner of Cinderella Smith and Cinderella Smith: The More the Merrier by Stephanie Barden:

Akossiwa Ketoglo

Yay Akoss! Send me your e-mail and I will pass your information on to Stephanie as she has graciously offered to mail these out to the lucky winner!


This week I have decided to highlight One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia. I grabbed this from the Book Fair at my kids' school last May and what caught my attention were the four awards that decorated the cover: a 2011 Newbery Honor Book, the 2011 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, a 2010 National Book Award Finalist, and the 2011 Coretta Scott King Award Winner.

Book Description: (from Amazon) Eleven-year-old Delphine has it together. Even though her mother, Cecile, abandoned her and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, seven years ago. Even though her father and Big Ma will send them from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to stay with Cecile for the summer. And even though Delphine will have to take care of her sisters, as usual, and learn the truth about the missing pieces of the past.

When the girls arrive in Oakland in the summer of 1968, Cecile wants nothing to do with them. She makes them eat Chinese takeout dinners, forbids them to enter her kitchen, and never explains the strange visitors with Afros and black berets who knock on her door. Rather than spend time with them, Cecile sends Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern to a summer camp sponsored by a revolutionary group, the Black Panthers, where the girls get a radical new education.

Set during one of the most tumultuous years in recent American history, one crazy summer is the heartbreaking, funny tale of three girls in search of the mother who abandoned them—an unforgettable story told by a distinguished author of books for children and teens, Rita Williams-Garcia.

Why it is Marvelous: I read the paperback version of this book and now that I see the hardcover version I just had to add an image of both covers... they each have a different feel, yet both convey important aspects of the book. I think the one thing that sticks with me the most from this book is the voice of the narrator. It is told in first person from Delphine's POV and the reader knows what she is all about from the get go. She is the oldest and has to take care of her sisters... she promised her father and Big Ma. Delphine is absolutely up to that challenge, but you can tell there is something missing. Whether she admits it out loud or not, she needs to know her mother cares about her, approves of her, and it just might take all summer to build some new, fragile bridges, not only with her mother but with the new people she meets at summer camp. 
I also enjoyed the aspect of them wandering around town on their own, off to the pool and summer camp. While my memories don't include Black Panthers, I remember the days spent at our community pool and center, where there were daily activities for the kids. Very fond memories... in fact I still have a soup can decoupaged with stamps (made at the community center) that we use as a pencil holder!


Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (MMGM) was created by Shannon Messenger. To find other bloggers participating in MMGM go to her blog for a list of links.


  1. I like the original cover better, although I can see on the paperback how they put ALL the awards.

  2. I, too, loved this one and will re-read it this year--this time aloud with my daughter. And I always experience something extra special when reading books aloud.

  3. I haven't read this one. Thanks for the recommendation! :o)

  4. I have to hang my head in shame here. I've had this book on my tbr list forever and still haven't read it yet.
    Thanks for the reminder. :)

  5. I really enjoyed this book! The whole relationship between the sisters was great.

  6. Will make note of this one. I too remember those summer days by the outdoor pool. Lessons in the morning and hanging with friends in the afternoon!

  7. And congrats Akoss!

  8. We have this book! I haven't read it yet, but now I'm eager to. What a nice bunch of awards!

  9. I've heard good things about this book. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Congrats to Akoss!

    I loved this book and was privileged enough to read an arc (so it was before all those awards were plastered all over!). Delphine is such a great character.

    Julie, I think it's cool that you still have the pencil holder you made at the community center.

  11. YAY AKOSS! I love Akoss. She loves books.
    How great!

  12. This sounds like a fascinating glimpse into history. Thanks for sharing!