As a teacher, you’re always on the lookout for great literature to inspire and engage your students. One book that fits the bill is One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. This Newbery award-winning novel follows three sisters who travel from New York City to Oakland, California in the summer of 1968 to spend time with their mother, who abandoned them years earlier.

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Benefits of Using One Crazy Summer in Your Classroom:

  • Provides Diversity and Representation: One Crazy Summer tells the story of three sisters who travel from New York City to Oakland, California to spend the summer with their estranged mother, who is a poet and activist in the Black Panther Party in 1968. This book provides a rare and powerful representation of Black girls in literature. The novel also introduces students to the history of the Black Panther Party and the Civil Rights Movement, which is essential for understanding our country’s past and present.
  • Provides a Historical Context: The novel takes place during the summer of 1968, a tumultuous time in American history. The Black Panther Party was gaining traction, and the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing. By using One Crazy Summer in your classroom, you can help your students understand the historical context of the time and the social issues that were at the forefront.
  • Encourages Critical Thinking: One Crazy Summer offers plenty of opportunities for critical thinking and discussion. The novel tackles themes such as family, identity, activism, and resilience. Students can explore these themes through group discussions, writing assignments, and class debates. The novel also touches on more complex issues such as police brutality and the criminal justice system, providing a chance for deeper analysis.
  • Has an Engaging Storyline: At its core, One Crazy Summer is an engaging and well-written story that will captivate your students. The novel has won numerous awards and has been praised for its compelling characters and vivid imagery. Your students will be eager to read and discuss the book, making it an excellent addition to your classroom curriculum.
  • Encourages Empathy and Understanding: Reading One Crazy Summer will help your students develop empathy and understanding toward others. The book’s characters face real-world issues such as poverty, racism, and family conflict, which will resonate with many students. Through reading and discussing the book, students will learn to see the world through someone else’s eyes and to appreciate the diverse experiences of others.
  • Has a Connection to Real-Life Issues: One Crazy Summer deals with real-life issues that are still relevant today. This book will allow your students to connect their reading to current events and develop a deeper understanding of the world around them. Through reading and discussing the book, students can explore the history of social justice movements and how they continue to shape our society today.

One Crazy Summer is a must-read for any classroom. This novel is an excellent tool for teaching critical thinking, writing skills, empathy, and understanding towards others. Its representation of Black girls in literature and introduction to social justice issues make it a valuable addition to any curriculum. By using One Crazy Summer in your classroom, you will not only enhance your student’s learning experience, but you will also empower them to make a positive impact on the world.

I offer a complete novel study to accompany One Crazy Summer, which includes an informational WebQuest to learn more about the Black Panther Party’s Free Breakfast Program, for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.



Try a free sample of the novel study for One Crazy Summer

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