One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Novel: One Crazy Summer

Author: Rita Williams-Garcia

Target Audience: 8-12 years 

Genre: Historical fiction

Publication Year: 2010

Setting: primarily Oakland, CA; 1968

A Favorite Quote: “Big Ma doesn’t care if President Kennedy’s face is on the half-dollar or if the airport is now officially named after him. She calls the airport by its old name, Idlewild. Don’t get me wrong. Big Ma was as mad and sad as anyone when they killed the president. It’s change she has no pity on.”

My One Sentence Summary: Delphine and her two younger sisters spend a summer in Oakland with their mother who left them seven years earlier.

What I loved about this book: I loved the complex family relationships portrayed in this novel. The characters are nuanced and completely authentic. The setting is incredibly vibrant. With humor and heart, One Crazy Summer captures the tension of a nation in the midst of massive changes as witnessed through the eyes of a child.

 Major themes: Civil Rights Movement; family relationships; forgiveness through understanding

Who should read this book: This is a wonderful story for anyone who enjoys novels with a strong voice, lovable characters, and a memorable setting. Perfect for readers who love books that focus on American history, sibling and parent relationships, and a realistic plotline.


  • P.S. Be Eleven
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