Why do the sisters have to go away in One Crazy Summer?

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In Rita Williams Garcia's young adult novel One Crazy Summer, the three Gaither sisters, Delphine (age 11), Vonella (age 9), and Fern (age 7), take an airplane from their home in New York to Oakland, California. Their father has sent them to visit with their mother, Cecile, who left...

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In Rita Williams Garcia's young adult novel One Crazy Summer, the three Gaither sisters, Delphine (age 11), Vonella (age 9), and Fern (age 7), take an airplane from their home in New York to Oakland, California. Their father has sent them to visit with their mother, Cecile, who left the family years earlier.

Although their paternal grandmother, Big Ma, thinks this is a bad idea, the girls' father insists that it is important for the three sisters to get to know their mother.

The girls are excited about the possibility that they will get to see Disney World, but they are in for some big and unpleasant surprises when they meet their mother and she takes them to her home. Incredibly cold, she makes it a point to tell the girls how unwanted they were and still are.

Nonetheless, the summer proves to be one of great learning; the three sisters spend their days at the People's Center, run by the Black Panthers, and come to understand something of their mother's past and current life as a poet and civil rights activist.

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