One Crazy Summer
by Rita Williams-Garcia
Age Range: 8 - 12 years
Hardcover: 224 pages

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia has won a slew of awards -- it's a Newbery Honor Book, a National Book Award Finalist, and a winner of the Coretta Scott King Book Award, among others -- and it is deserving of all the accolades. 

The story begins amidst "Cassius Clay Clouds," as three young sisters embark on their very first airplane ride. They're leaving their home in Brooklyn, New York, where they live with their father and grandmother, to spend the summer with their estranged mother in Oakland, California. This mother of theirs is a mystery. She left them behind years ago, but why?

This politically conscious and deeply absorbing story brings the reader straight inside Oakland, California in the 1960s, and into the world of the Black Panthers, through the eyes of children. 

I have a particular fondness for author Rita Williams-Garcia, not just because she is a great writer, but because she is also a kind and generous person. When I met her at a book signing and told her about my dream to write children's books, she wrote this thoughtful inscription inside my copy of her book:

Dreams + Action! Pursue Your Goals.

Inspiring words to live by, as anyone who has pursued a dream knows it takes action to make one come true.  Thank you, Rita Williams-Garcia for sharing these words of encouragement with me. I will do my best to live by them.