91 pages 3 hours read

Rita Williams-Garcia

One Crazy Summer

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2010

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Use this activity to engage all types of learners, while requiring that they refer to and incorporate details from the text over the course of the activity.

Form Poetry

In this activity, students are asked to select a poetic form and use it to write a poem based on one of the novel’s themes.

1968 was a year of chaos and upending of the status quo. Much like art, revolution and evolution can be messy and full of expression, and can spill over society’s pre-determined “lines.” At the same time, artists, including poets, use limits or constraints to challenge themselves to create something original and unique. Poetry is Nzila’s art and her life’s work, and at the novel’s end, at least one of her daughters shows the potential to write poetry. 

Using one of the poetic forms below, or a poetic form you already know, write a poem based on one of the novel's four themes: 1968Children and the Black Liberation MovementMothers and Daughters, or The Importance of Naming.

  • Acrostic
  • Haiku
  • Tanka
  • Elegy
  • Villanelle
  • Narrative
  • Soliloquy/Monologue
  • Sonnet

As an additional challenge, you might choose to write your poem from the point of view of one of the novel’s main characters: Delphine, Vonetta, Fern, or Cecile. For example, what would Fern have to say about the summer of 1968? Which poetic form would best allow her to get her message across? Have fun with the possibilities, and don’t be afraid to try something that might not come out perfect!