One Crazy Summer

Written By: Rita Williams-Garcia

Jacket copy by HarperCollins Children’s Books

Set during one of the most tumultuous years in recent American history, One Crazy Summer is the heartbreaking, funny tale of three girls who travel to Oakland, California, in 1968 in search of the mother who abandoned them. It’s an unforgettable story told by a distinguished author of books for children and teens.

When I read this book, I immediately fell in love with the characters. They are not your typical kids, and their unusual trip – made all on their own – will not only give you insight into what it means to be young and on your own, but also into the civil rights activist group known as the Black Panthers. Definitely filled with characters that will have you cheering for them!

Discussion/Project Ideas:

1. I cannot miss the opportunity this book gives you to research the Black Panthers. I have to admit that I didn’t know much about this group other than the criminal activity done by some of its members. All groups, however, have members that don’t always represent the group and I was pleased to learn some of the positive things they did in this novel. It made me want to learn more.  Research this group, and record both positive and negative things associated with them. For an extension, you could separate the activities they participated in during the Civil Rights Movement and the activities they are involved with today. Then, compare and contrast the time periods.

2. I loved the way Delphine took care of her sisters over the summer and was so impressed with how many real dinners she could make all by herself. How many meals can you cook? Make a list of the meals you can cook and choose your favorite. Write down the recipes to the main course and any side dishes. Make this dinner for your family or friends, taking pictures of you and your hard work along the way. You can always draw pictures instead if you want. Present your activities to the class.

3. Pretend you are in charge of a days activities in the vacation destination of your choice. You have $50 and must pay for you and a sibling. Research activities, transportation, and food options for both of you for the entire day. Make a travel agenda, complete with price tags. Bon voyage!

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