Monday, September 19, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: One Crazy Summer

Since I read so many middle grade books (see my 100 book challenge) and I blog about writing middle grade books, I thought I’d join in on Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (aka MMGM) from a writer's perspective. The more I read MG, the more great books I’m finding. And some of them come from other bloggers doing MMGM (for example, see Shannon Whitney Messenger's blog).

Today’s pick: 
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins, 2010


Set in 1968, this novel tells the story of eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, who fly across the country to spend the summer with the mother who abandoned them seven years ago. Their mother is busy working on her poetry and doesn’t want them there. She sends them to a summer camp, sponsored by revolutionary Black Panthers, and leaves Delphine to care for her younger sisters.
My Take:

This is a great book to read for learning about how to create character—if you can stop from losing yourself in the story long enough to think about the writing. One of the wonderful things about this novel is the way the author has used details and shown the time period and setting from an eleven-year-old perspective. The opening intrigued me, since I haven’t read another middle grade novel that starts with a plane ride.

I loved what the author said in her acknowledgements, “I wanted to write this story for those children who witnessed and were part of necessary change.”  It made me think about what I want to say in my own writing.

Other info:

This book is a stand alone. It is a 2011 Newberry Honor Book, and has won several other awards, including the 2011 Coretta Scott King award.

Other books by Rita Garcia-Williams:
Jumped (2009)
No Laughter Here (2004)
Every Time A Rainbow Dies (2001)

For more, visit Rita Garcia-Williams’ website.


  1. I'v'e heard lots of great things about this book. It's at my library so I will read it one of these days!

  2. I need to read this! I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want to say in my writing. Thanks Andrea!

  3. wow, this sounds amazing. I love books that will transport you into a different time.

  4. I love this book! I haven't read it in years. I should get on that. Thanks!

  5. I haven't read this book yet, but it sounds great. I'm always reading books trying to learn from the writers and finding myself lost in the story instead! And I think that's the thing I'd most like to master - how to make someone lose themselves in my writing!

  6. I haven't read this book but it sounds lovely. I need to check it out.

  7. Susanna, that is exactly what I strive for too! I hope someday to get there.

  8. Historical fiction is my very favorite genre, and when it happens to be MG - that's completely awesome! I read this book this summer, and not having much background on the Black Panthers, I learned so much.

    And your point about thinking about what I want to say through my own writing - so important! Some stories truly are entertainment - and that's there intrinsic value - but sometimes our writing has other points and we need to evaluate what those are.

  9. I love historical fiction as well, but must admit I haven't read a lot of MG, so this sounds like a great book to add to my list.


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