Looking for something to hook your students after they get back from a long summer break? Rita Williams-Garcia’s funny, touching, and eminently listenable One Crazy Summer is available exclusively from Recorded Books on cassette, CD, and Playaway. We recommended the title to you back in April, and are happy to see it’s generating a lot of positive buzz!
Rita Williams-Garcia is no stranger to awards and honors. Her YA novel Jumped, was a 2009 National Book Award finalist, and she is a Coretta Scott King Honor Book author for Like Sisters on the Homefront. But this latest title is exceptional, even by Rita’s usual standards of excellence. One Crazy Summer has been named a Junior Library Guild selection and a Texas Library Association Best Book of 2010. It is also currently under discussion in the 2011 ALA Notable Children’s Books and Capitol Choices committees and even being buzzed as a Newbery contender. It was a New York Times editor’s choice and enthusiastically reviewed in the Washington Post on the consumer side, and it has garnered 4 starred reviews from the trades—Kirkus, Booklist, Hornbook—including this humdinger by Teri Markson in School Library Journal:
One Crazy Summer: Grade 4–7—It is 1968, and three black sisters from Brooklyn have been put on a California-bound plane by their father to spend a month with their mother, a poet who ran off years before and is living in Oakland. It’s the summer after Black Panther founder Huey Newton was jailed and member Bobby Hutton was gunned down trying to surrender to the Oakland police, and there are men in berets shouting “Black Power” on the news. Delphine, 11, remembers her mother, but after years of separation she’s more apt to believe what her grandmother has said about her, that Cecile is a selfish, crazy woman who sleeps on the street. At least Cecile lives in a real house, but she reacts to her daughters’ arrival without warmth or even curiosity. Instead, she sends the girls to eat breakfast at a center run by the Black Panther Party and tells them to stay out as long as they can so that she can work on her poetry. Over the course of the next four weeks, Delphine and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, spend a lot of time learning about revolution and staying out of their mother’s way. Emotionally challenging and beautifully written, this book immerses readers in a time and place and raises difficult questions of cultural and ethnic identity and personal responsibility. With memorable characters (all three girls have engaging, strong voices) and a powerful story, this is a book well worth reading and rereading.—Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
AudioFile Earphones Award winner Sisi AIsha Johnson, who narrates One Crazy Summer, has been called “splendid” and “a storyteller” by AudioFile. Our audiobook will be available on CD and cassette in July 2010, on One-Click audiobook download in August 2010, and on Playaway in November 15, 2010.
If you want a real treat, check out the video of Rita talking about ONE CRAZY SUMMER that fellow author Kathi Appelt has posted on her blog. NYPL children’s librarian Betsy Bird, who is a HUGE Williams-Garcia fan, also featured the clip yesterday on her SLJ blog, A Fuse #8 Production.