Saturday, July 31, 2010

Book Review: "One Crazy Summer," by Rita Williams-Garcia

One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia
Amistad/HarperCollins, 2010

Three sisters travel to Oakland, California, from Brooklyn to visit their mother, whom they haven't seen since she left them and their father some years earlier. The year is 1968 and the girls spend their days at a summmer camp sponsored by the Black Panthers. Talk about a great premise! The book starts kind of slowly. The first half establishes the characters and the milieu, but it's not terribly exciting. The plot kicks in in the second half of the book, however, and the last few chapters are just phenomenal. It becomes clear why the somewhat slow build-up to the final scenes was necessary.
One Crazy Summer was written for grades 4-6. I'd say most kids this age will have no idea who Booby Seale and Huey Newton were. The book infuses details about the Panthers into the story in such a way that I think kids can pick up quite a bit about the Black Panther movement and the era in general. There's also a segue in the story where the characters visit San Francisco and get to see real live hippies (they'd previously only seen pictures in magazines).
This story is fiction, but it feels incredibly true to the time and place of the setting. This is an excellent read for kids, and there's a lot for adults to appreciate in this book as well.
More info about the Black Panther Party can be found at Wikipedia.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer Geo Quiz #3: Poland

Cities: Warsaw, Poznan, Krakow, Lodz, Gdansk.
Rivers: Vistula, Bug, Warta, Oder.
Mountain Ranges: Sudeten Mtns.
Mountain: Rysy Peak.
Body of Water: Gulf of Gdansk.

A Map of Poland can be found here.

Photo of Krakow courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Summer Geo Quiz #2: Deutschland

Cities: Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, Nuremburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Hanover, Bremen, Hamburg, Kiel.
Rivers: Danube, Elbe, Rhine, Main, Weser.
Mountain: Zugspitze.
Islands: East Frisian Is.
Photo of Zugspitze courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, July 19, 2010

World Cup Prediction Contest: Final

Spain wins the World Cup, defeating Netherlands 1-0. The winner of the Jones Soda is Galen. Congratulations!

Here are the Top 5 finishers:

1. Galen: 33 pts.

2. Aaron: 32 pts.

3. Nickan: 30 pts.

4: Isabel: 29 pts.
- Neil: 29 pts.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

World Cup Predictions: Semifinals

The World Cup Final is set: Netherlands vs. Spain! If Netherlands wins, Isabel will be the champion. If Spain wins Galen will be the champion. The Final will be played Sunday, July 10, at 11:30 a.m.

29: Isabel (Spain vs. Brazil)

28: Jake (Spain vs. Brazil)
Galen (Spain over Brazil)

27: Aaron (Spain over Brazil)

26: Cheyenne (Brazil over Spain)

25: Nickan (Spain vs. Brazil)

24: Ethan (Brazil over Spain)
Anya (Brazil vs. Spain)
Neil (Spain over Brazil)

21: Quinn (Brazil over Germany)

19: Colin Mil. (Germany over France)
Rosa (Greece over Spain)

17: Shreya (Brazil over Argentina)
Allyson (Brazil vs. Argentina)

16: Chelan (Chile vs. South Korea)
Olivia (South Africa vs. Paraguay)
Linnea (Australia over Ghana)
Michael (New Zealand vs. Chile)
Jenny (Italy over France)
Tristan (England over France)

15: Jeongvin (Brazil over France)

14: Sam R. (Ghana over Honduras)
Tessa (Brazil over Italy)

13: Danny (Brazil vs. Portugal)
11: Matt (Japan vs. Denmark)
10: Zachary (Slovenia over Japan)