Delphine, Vonetta and Fern have left Brooklyn to spend the summer with their mother in Oakland. Cecil left the girls when Fern was born and hasn’t seen them since. She is not the mother of their dreams; she doesn’t want them there and makes them spend all day outside of the home. She sends them to The Center and the Black Panthers. At The Center they get free breakfasts to feed their bodies and summer school to feed their minds. The Black Panthers teach them about The People and what it means to be Black.
This was a wonderful story about the 60s and the Black Panthers. It doesn’t focus on the violence or the hatred of the movement; it focuses on the outreach and the education the Panthers brought to neighborhoods. Delphine, Vonetta and Fern learn who they are and who they want to be. They learn who their mother is and how to live with her. They come to terms with the fact that she will never be the mother they dream of, but they learn to accept her for who she is. I love this quiet story of personal growth and family. Delphine is a wonderful character. She is the oldest and must take care of her sisters and keep them out of trouble. She is more of a mini-adult than a child, but during her summer in Oakland she learns to be a child and to accept life as it is.