Critical Analysis: The novel has material of historical significance in which the view point of an eleven year old girl is the main narrative of the story. The scenes are complete with dialogues and thoughts reflecting the social condition to a great extent. Characters are well designed and presented to reflect the complex nature of every human being.
A flight from New York to Oakland, Calif., to spend the summer of 1968 with the mother who abandoned Delphine and her two sisters was the easy part. Once there, the negative things their grandmother had said about their mother, Cecile, seem true: She is uninterested in her daughters and secretive about her work and the mysterious men in black berets who visit. The sisters are sent off to a Black Panther day camp, where Delphine finds herself skeptical of the worldview of the militants while making the best of their situation. Delphine is the pitch-perfect older sister, wise beyond her years, an expert at handling her siblings: “Just like I know how to lift my sisters up, I also knew how to needle them just right.” Each girl has a distinct response to her motherless state, and Williams-Garcia provides details that make each characterization crystal clear. The depiction of the time is well done, and while the girls are caught up in the difficulties of adults, their resilience is celebrated and energetically told with writing that snaps off the page. .(Historical fiction. 9-12)
Connection: The presentation of each of the three sisters is well thought out. The reader might question why in Rita’s narration was Vonetta so designed to be a show-off? Why was Fern someone who never asked about Patty Cake after it was hid? Reflections of the black community’s struggle was something crucial to the movie, but the depiction of a poetess as a selfish person takes readers to a different level of experiencing humanity.