One Crazy Summer
Reviewed by Madeline McElroy (age 9) for Reader Views (05/10)
This is a story about three young girls that will make you laugh and cry. Their names are Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern. They live in Brooklyn, New York. Delphine is the oldest followed by Vonetta and then Fern. After Fern was about a year old, their mom Cecile ran away from them and moved to California.
One day their dad decides they need to meet the mother who left them many years before. The three girls travel to Oakland, California to stay with her for four weeks. When they finally get there, they all find out that there mother is really mean and nasty. She doesn’t cook them meals or do their laundry, and doesn’t take care of them. Every night Delphine takes her sisters with her to get Chinese food; they ate this every night for dinner for the first three weeks.
Cecile sends the sisters to a Black Panther summer camp, which was like nothing they ever knew before! They come to discover that their mother is somehow involved with the Black Panthers. The girls didn’t like going to the camp, but after weeks of learning about “their rights” they started to like the idea of standing up for themselves. One of the funniest parts of the story was when the kids from the summer camp went around town trying to get the shop owners to put up fliers for the freedom fighter rally. Fern, the youngest sister when into the Chinese restaurant where they ate every night to ask the owner of Ming’s if she would put one in her window. The woman walked up and Fern said, “Mean Lady Ming, would you please help us and put up our flier?” The girls had always called her Mean Lady Ming behind her back! They didn’t really think she was mean anymore, but for some reason the name stuck.
I enjoyed this book because I could really imagine the story and all of scenes seem to be played out in my head like a movie. When y’all read the ending you will cry just like I did because it was such a happy moment. Everyone who would like to read this book needs to be ready for the surprises in it.
Parent: What a fantastic book! I read “One Crazy Summer” with both of my daughters and thoroughly enjoyed it as an adult. We are a homeschooling family and this story gave me so many opportunities to revisit the Civil Rights Movement with them. I loved the history lessons that were sprinkled throughout the chapters. What an eye-opener for my girls to read about a life with so much contrast from their own. A mother who doesn’t cook or hug and kiss you good-night? We had so many discussions after each chapter. Honestly, I wanted to read the whole book on day one!
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