- Published: New York, NY : Amistad, c2010.
- Year Published: 2010
- Edition: 1st ed.
- Description: 218 p. ; 22 cm.
- Language: English
- Format: Book
- Lexile: 750
- 9780060760885 (trade bdg.)
- 0060760885 (trade bdg.)
- Black Panther Party -- Fiction.
- Sisters -- Fiction.
- Mothers -- Fiction.
- Poets -- Fiction.
- African Americans -- Fiction.
- Civil rights movements -- Fiction.
- Oakland (Calif.) -- Fiction. -- History -- 20th century
- California -- Fiction.
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One crazy summer
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Where To Find It
Available Copies: Downtown Youth
In the summer of 1968, after traveling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.
As long as you can overlook the fact that otherwise loving and protective guardians allow their children to travel alone to 1968 Oakland to stay with a mentally-ill woman, you're likely to enjoy this book. Williams-Garcia is a gifted storyteller. She achieves the rare feat of creating an entire cast of characters that come alive on the page. Delphine's voice in particular is a strength. At once practical, thoughtful, precocious, and age-appropriate, she's a heroine of Scout Finch caliber. Like Countdown, also out this year, Summer will nudge readers to reconsider their perceptions of the sixties. Delphine and her younger sisters navigate a complex world; although they are familiar with the changes being brought about by the Civil Rights Movement, they live in constant fear of making a "a great Negro spectacle" of themselves. This book has the potential to be a catalyst for discussion in middle grade social studies classrooms. For example, ask students what they knew about the Black Panthers before reading Summer and how their knowledge was or was not reflected in the story. A minor complaint is that the story ends abruptly and without a satisfying conclusion. Williams-Garcia would have been well-advised to add more denouement.
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