Citywide Kids Reading Initiative Selects 2018 Book

"One Crazy Summer" by Rita Williams-Garcia

Fifth graders across the state are being encouraged to read “One Crazy Summer” by Rita Williams-Garcia in 2018.

The book was selected as this year’s One Book, One City for Kids read.

One Book, One City for Kids is an annual winter reading program encouraging fifth graders to read and discuss the same book. The program also strives to encourage a life-long love of reading among students, inspire readers to bring story ideas and themes to life through discussion, and build collaborative ties between public libraries and area schools.

As a part of this program, all fifth graders in the Grand Rapids Public Schools will receive a copy of the book and discuss it as part of their curriculum.

There are several activities planned as well to facilitate discussion among area fifth graders. A complete list of library events related to the book can be found at All programs are free and open to the public.

About the Book

Eleven-year-old Dephine has it together. Even though her mother, Cecile, abandoned her and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, seven years ago. Even though her father and Big Ma will send them from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to stay with Cecile for the summer. And even though Delphine will have to take care of her sisters, as usual, and learn the truth about the missing pieces of the past.

When the girls arrive in Oakland in the summer of 1968, Cecile is nothing like they imagined. She wants nothing to do with them. She forbids them to enter her kitchen, never explains the strange visitors with Afros and black berets who knock on her door. Rather than spend time with them, Cecile sends the girls to a summer camp sponsored by a revolutionary group, the Black Panthers, where the girls get a radical new education about the country, their family, and themselves during one truly crazy summer.

“One Crazy Summer” won the 2011 Coretta Scott King Award, the 2011 Newbery Honor Book, the 2011 Scott O’Dell Prize for Historical Fiction and was a 2010 National Book Award Finalist.

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