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BOOK THOUGHTS: One Crazy Summer

This month I am reading "One Crazy Summer" by Rita Williams-Garcia. I love this book because it takes place in 1968 in Oakland, California which shifts the perspective of the Civil Rights Movement to the west coast and sheds a little light on the positives of the Black Panther Party. I have two very inquisitive students at my old school who I've partnered up to read it with. The book starts with the journey of three sisters (Delphine, Fern, Vonetta) who are on their way to California to see their estranged mother who left them with their father and grandmother some years ago. Delphine is the oldest. She's eleven and wise beyond her years. It appears that Cecile's (their mother) absence has forced her to take on a motherly role with her younger siblings, which Delphine owns and shows tremendous maturity despite her age.  Delphine narrates the story and further demonstrates her smarts and sass as the leader of her sisters. While headstrong she also displays vulnerability when reflecting on her mother noting:

Mommy gets up to give you a class of water in the middle of the night. Mom invites your friends inside when it's raining. Mama burns your ears with the hot comb to make your hair look pretty for class picture day. Ma is sore and worn out from wringing your wet clothes and hanging them to dry; Ma needs peace and quiet at the end of the day. 

We don't have one of those. 

Delphine is certainly right about that because Cecile is unconcerned with the presence of her daughters and amazingly surpasses the low expectations Delphine had for her!  The first night that the girls spend with Cecile she takes their money and sends them out in the dark on their own to get food. Crazy right? We are a little less than halfway in the book and the question my students keep asking me is "Why is their mama so mean?" It's hilarious watching their reaction to Cecile because it's the same reaction I had to her while reading it the first time. We've used their question to craft a larger question "How do you define family?"

This book is AH-MAZING! 5 STARS! 

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    I am starting my first year as a teacher this fall. I will be teaching 5th grade Reading. The first book my students are reading is One Crazy Summer. Im excited to see your updates as you progress with this text.

    P.S. I received my B.S. in Research Psychology from Southern Connecticut State University this past Spring (May 2015). Loved the city, loved learning about the progress being made in education throughout the New Haven area.

    Brianna James

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