Wednesday, November 3, 2010

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Wise beyond her years, 11-year-old Delphine tells of the summer she and her two younger sisters travelled from Brooklyn to Oakland in order to get to know their radical poet mother, Cecile. Fern was a newborn when their mother abandoned them and their father. Cecile has changed her name and takes no interest in her daughters - she didn't ask them to come. She has no food in her house and no TV. The girls spend their days at a centre run by the Black Panthers.

The racial politics and social justice issues of the late 1960s give this story depth and texture, yet the writing never seems preachy. It is mainly a story about sisters and learning to accept hard truths. Delphine's voice is uniquely, delightfully her own. I highly recommend the audiobook narrated by Sisi Aisha Johnson (5.25 hours).

Readalike: The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis.

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