Great Reads for Teens and Tweens!

Helping you make an informed decision about that book

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Title: One Crazy Summer

Author: Rita Williams-Garcia

Publisher: Amistad    Year: 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0060760908

Genre: Fiction

Age: 9 and up

Awards: 2011 Coretta Scott King Award Winner, 2011 Newbery Honor Book, 2011 Scott O’Dell Prize for Historical Fiction, 2010 National Book Award Finalist, Junior Library Guild Selection, Texas Library Association Best Book for 2010

Themes / Subjects: Juvenile Fiction, Historical Fiction, Prejudice & Racism, Family Life, Travel & Culture, African American, Black Panther Party, 20th century issues, Civil Rights Movement

Plot Summary:

It’s the summer of 1968 and sisters, 11-year-old Delphine, 9-year-old Vonetta, and 7-year-old Fern embark on an adventure that takes them from Brooklyn, New York to Oakland, California to meet the mother that abandoned them many years ago. The girls have no idea what to expect, but they certainly didn’t expect to participate in a day camp run by members of the Black Panther Party. Cecile Johnson, their mother, “mammal birth giver,” is secretive about her work behind the closed kitchen doors and wants nothing to do with them. Set during one of the most tumultuous years in American history, One Crazy Summer explores the civil rights movement through the eyes of children.

My Take:

I actually walked away from this book with a better knowledge of the civil rights movement and Black Panther Party. The reader sees the historical changes through the eyes of Delphine, the oldest sister. Although she is just 11 going on 12, Delphine is extremely wise for her age and carries the added weight of being responsible for her sisters. I love how conscious she is of the differences between blacks and whites, yet she doesn’t allow her views or opinions to be mandated by others especially the Black Panther party.

Throughout the book, I kept hoping for Cecile Johnson to change and finally become the mother the little girls so desperately wanted/needed. However, through Delphine’s, Vonetta’s, and Fern’s journey I grew to feel sorry for Cecile and had a better understanding of her relationship with her children (or lack of one). This book is both excellent for teens and adults because the impact of that summer continues to affect us today.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Similar read: The Watson’s Go to Birmingham1963  by Christopher Paul Curtis

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WatchKnow

Name: WatchKnow

URL: http://watchknow.com/

Description: Launched by Larry Sanger, the cofounder of Wikipedia, and promoted as “YouTube for kids” WatchKnow is a safe and educational wiki hosting more than a thousand educational videos and other media for kids. The majority of the video clips are reposted from kid-friendly sites such as National Geographic and TeacherTube. The site is geared towards kids ages 3-18 so parents do not need to worry about inappropriate content or ads.

Review: This site is supposed to contain videos for ages 3-18 years old, yet I found many of the videos to be geared towards little kids. Explain to me, how can one video be for ages 3-18? The page itself is very basic but also extremely easy to navigate. I found videos the fasted by simply typing in the subject/topic I was looking for in the search box. The videos I did find were of great quality and easy to load on the computer. Although it is geared for kids, I don’t think teens would come to this site on their own.

Educational Application: This site is free and has thousands of videos on a variety of subjects/topics which makes it a beneficial resource to any teacher. The categories and subcategories are easy to navigate, yet the quickest method of searching is by using the search engine. Registered users can edit video descriptions and ratings which would help improve the site.

Similar/Related Sites of Interest: http://www.bjpinchbeck.com/ A site of educational links provides users with information covering almost every topic that comes to mind.

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