P.S. Be Eleven

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Overview

In this Coretta Scott King Award-winning novel and sequel to the New York Times bestseller and Newbery Honor Book One Crazy Summer, the Gaither sisters return to Brooklyn and find that changes large and small have come to their home. This extraordinary novel earned five starred reviews, with Publishers Weekly calling it "historical fiction that's as full of heart as it is of heartbreak" and The Horn Book considering it "funny, wise, poignant, and thought-provoking."

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P.S. Be Eleven

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Overview

In this Coretta Scott King Award-winning novel and sequel to the New York Times bestseller and Newbery Honor Book One Crazy Summer, the Gaither sisters return to Brooklyn and find that changes large and small have come to their home. This extraordinary novel earned five starred reviews, with Publishers Weekly calling it "historical fiction that's as full of heart as it is of heartbreak" and The Horn Book considering it "funny, wise, poignant, and thought-provoking."

After spending the summer in Oakland, California, with their mother and the Black Panthers, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern arrive home with a newfound streak of independence. The sisters aren't the only ones who have changed. Now Pa has a girlfriend. Uncle Darnell returns from Vietnam a different man. But Big Ma still expects Delphine to keep her sisters in line. That's much harder now that Vonetta and Fern refuse to be bossed around. Besides her sisters, Delphine's got plenty of other things to worry about—like starting sixth grade, being the tallest girl in her class, and dreading the upcoming school dance. The one person she confides in is her mother, Cecile. Through letters, Delphine pours her heart out and receives some constant advice: to be eleven while she can.

Supports the Common Core State Standards

Winner of the 2014 Coretta Scott King Author Book Award

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Delphine and her sisters return to Brooklyn from visiting their estranged mother, Cecile, a poet who sent them off every day to a camp run by the Black Panthers in Williams-Garcia’s Newbery Honor–winning One Crazy Summer. It wasn’t the California vacation they expected, but the experience rocked their world. Big Ma, their grandmother, is no longer just a stern taskmaster, she’s an oppressor. Delphine, who again narrates, loses interest in magazines like Tiger Beat and Seventeen: “When there’s Afros and black faces on the cover, I’ll buy one,” she tells a storeowner. Reflecting society at large in 1968, change and conflict have the Gaither household in upheaval: Pa has a new girlfriend, Uncle Darnell returns from Vietnam a damaged young man, and the sixth-grade teacher Delphine hoped to get has been replaced by a man from Zambia. Though the plot involves more quotidian events than the first book, the Gaither sisters are an irresistible trio. Williams-Garcia excels at conveying defining moments of American society from their point of view—this is historical fiction that’s as full of heart as it is of heartbreak. Ages 8–12. (June)
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
Delphine, Vonetta and Fern are back in this sequel to One Crazy Summer, a Newbery Honor book that won the Coretta Scott King Award in 2011. It is 1968.The three sisters have just returned to Brooklyn from Oakland, California, where they were visiting their fiercely independent poet mother and a neighborhood center run by the Black Panthers. Now, the girls must re-adjust to their grandmother’s strict ways, their father’s stylish new girlfriend, and their young uncle’s fraught return from Vietnam. Readers learn about historical events through the sharp, wry voice of first-person narrator Delphine, age 11, even as she relates her worries about an upcoming school dance, her annoyance with her show-off friend Lucy, and her squeals of joy over that new, hot band the Jackson 5. In this compelling historical novel, Williams-Garcia captures both the late 1960’s zeitgeist and the mindset of a preteen girl trying to understand herself and her changing world. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum AGERANGE: Ages 8 to 12.
Kirkus Reviews
Readers will cheer the return of the three sisters who captured hearts in the Newbery Honor–winning One Crazy Summer (2010). The sequel finds sisters Delphine, Vonetta and Fern returning to their Brooklyn home, full of excitement about visiting their mother in Oakland, Calif. The girls, especially Delphine, are also eager to begin a new school year. However, home is a little different: Their father has a girlfriend, the teacher Delphine had been eagerly expecting has exchanged places with one from Zambia, and their beloved Uncle Darnell is returning home from Vietnam. But their favorite singing group, the Jackson Five, is coming to town, too. With the help of their father's girlfriend, Miss Hendrix, the girls set out to save to attend the concert. Through all of their experiences, Delphine uses her new connection with her mother to understand things, questioning, challenging and reaching for a mother's guidance. Whenever she pushes a bit too hard, Cecile's tart, repeated advice to "be eleven"--even when she turns 12--resonates. Williams-Garcia's skilled writing takes readers to a deeper understanding of Delphine as she grows up and is forced to watch her family take a new shape. Disappointments are not glossed over, even when they involve heartbreaking betrayal. This thoughtful story, told with humor and heart, rings with the rhythms and the dilemmas of the '60s through characters real enough to touch. (Historical fiction. 9-14)
Horn Book (starred review)
PRAISE FOR ONE CRAZY SUMMER:“The setting and time period are as vividly realized as the characters, and readers will want to know more about Delphine and her sisters after they return to Brooklyn...”
Monica Edinger
PRAISE FOR ONE CRAZY SUMMER:“In One Crazy Summer Williams-Garcia presents a child’s-eye view of the Black Panther movement within a powerful and affecting story of sisterhood and motherhood.
Linda Sue Park
PRAISE FOR ONE CRAZY SUMMER:“One Crazy Summer is a genuine rarity: a book that is both important in its contents and utterly engaging in its characters…with the tremendous bonus of being beautifully written.”
Booklist (starred review)
PRAISE FOR ONE CRAZY SUMMER:“Regimented, responsible, strong-willed Delphine narrates in an unforgettable voice, but each of the sisters emerges as a distinct, memorable character, whose hard-won, tenuous connections with their mother build to an aching, triumphant conclusion.”
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—After their life-changing summer in Oakland with their poet-activist mother, related in One Crazy Summer (HarperCollins, 2010), sisters Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern find it difficult to readjust to life in Brooklyn. In addition to their grandmother's strict expectations, the girls must navigate the return of their uncle from Vietnam, their father's new romantic relationship, and their own uncontrollable love for the Jackson Five. Delphine finds some solace in corresponding with her mother, who reminds her not to take on too much or try to grow up too fast; instead she should remember to be 11. But each adult in Delphine's life has a different idea of what that means. Over the course of the book, Delphine strives to balance these conflicting perspectives and to articulate her own beliefs. From the very start of the story, her well-realized voice pulls readers into her rapidly changing world. Williams-Garcia ably integrates historical information with Delphine's story. Even secondary characters are complex and her nuanced understanding of the 1960s brings the setting to life. P.S. Be Eleven is a must-read for fans of the first book, but it can also stand alone as an engrossing novel that will leave readers pondering important issues of race, gender, and identity.—Gesse Stark-Smith, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061938627
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/21/2013
  • Pages: 274
  • Sales rank: 96,637
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Rita Williams-Garcia is a New York Times bestselling author and winner of the PEN/Norma Klein Award. She is the author of One Crazy Summer, which was a Newbery Honor Book, a Coretta Scott King Award winner, a Scott O’Dell Award winner, and a National Book Award finalist. She is also the author of six distinguished novels for young adults: Jumped, a National Book Award finalist; No Laughter Here; Every Time a Rainbow Dies, a Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book; and Fast Talk on a Slow Track (all ALA Best Books for Young Adults); Blue Tights; and Like Sisters on the Homefront. The latter was named a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and was chosen as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and a best book of the year by ALA Booklist, School Library Journal, The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, The Horn Book, and Publishers Weekly. Rita Williams-Garcia lives in Jamaica, New York, is on the faculty at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in the Writing for Children & Young Adults Program, and has two adult daughters, Stephanie and Michelle, and a son-in-law, Adam.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2013

    It was good!

    I loved one crazy summer! This sequel did not disappoint. Although this had fewer laughs, it was a thoughtful account of a young girl dealing with family life, navigating through stepmom and her budding relationship with her mom. Uncle Darnell and his struggles after coming home from Vietnam were realistic and thought provoking.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2014

    Best book ever

    Best book ever so is one crazy summer

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2013

    I love the first book to

    Its cool to see how they live at home to

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2014

    Cool

    Cool

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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