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P.S. Be Eleven (Ala Notable Children's Books. Middle Readers) Hardcover – May 21, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From 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, ORα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The Gaither sisters—Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern—are newly returned from a summer spent in California with their mother, Cecile, and the Black Panthers (One Crazy Summer, 2010). But life in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, with Big Ma and Pa is nothing like the freedom of Oakland, even if the girls carry back independent streaks. And while their summer may have been crazy, autumn is not exactly tame: Pa’s wearing cologne and whistling now that he has a girlfriend; Uncle Darnell’s back from Vietnam but sleeps a lot; and sixth grade has a new Zambian exchange teacher, Mr. Mwilla. Delphine speaks her worried mind in letters to Cecile, who always adds a postscript, reminding Delphine to “Be Eleven” and not a grown-up. (This makes for a nice recurring sentiment, if a somewhat clunky title.) Set against the tumultuous, yet vibrant, backdrop of the late 1960s—as Nixon campaigns against Humphrey and the Jackson Five are poised to play Madison Square Garden—the story is vividly narrated by Delphine, who reluctantly learns to ease control over her sisters and comes to a tough realization: “Twelve makes you know better than to wish for things that only eleven would wish hard for.” Even without the dynamic Black Panther characters, this soars as a finely drawn portrait of a family in flux and as a memorable slice of a specific time in our nation’s history. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Williams-Garcia’s One Crazy Summer (2010) won the Newbery Honor and the Coretta Scott King Award and was a National Book Award finalist. A robust marketing campaign includes author appearances. Grades 4-7, --Ann Kelley
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: Ala Notable Children's Books. Middle Readers
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Amistad; First Edition edition (May 21, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061938629
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061938627
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #355,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Playwright on June 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I loved ONE CRAZY SUMMER, which was a Newbery Honor List book, and this sequel is just as delightful. I grew up in this era, and this novel evokes a sense of times. The characters, the relationships of the three sisters, the character-driven literary quality of this work--it all works for me. Wonderful writing. A gem.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K. N. Tipper on July 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I adored ONE CRAZY SUMMER, and was psyched when I learned Rita was writing this sequel. I dove right back in to protagonist Delphine's world, not only fully enjoying the ups and downs of Delphine's family, but also the deeper issues of what it would be like to grow up African-American in the late 1960s. And come on--she's got The Jackson 5 in there!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By txblaize on May 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I received this book in a give-away and is the first book I read by Rita Williams-Garcia.

Though this is a sequel it reads well as a stand-alone. I read this book in one sitting.

This book is a great read for readers of all ages. Unlike most readers, I remember the sixties and seventies, and feel this book represented the time well. I feel it was softened for the intended age group, but is an accurate history of the time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Anne Faulks on June 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I truly enjoyed the book. This book, along with the first one, helped me move a nonreader to a reader! I am now a fan of Rita Williams-Garcia.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By carolzy on March 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
It is one of those books that makes you remember your own growing up and wishing there were no race lines then so you could truly share the day.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By tdm260 on March 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this for my niece for Christmas. I got her the first book (One Crazy Summer) the year before and she loved it. She was very excited to learn there was a sequel. She told me a few weeks later that she finished it and the sequel was just as good as the original.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Teresa McCaw on April 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Read One CrazySummer first and you will understand why this is a must read! Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are so easy to fall in love with.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jordan Patrice Anderson on July 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you read One Crazy Summer you'd know that it was a phenomenal book. This second book is definitely not as good. Some parts were great and other times they were super boring. I think you should read this book if you're curious to find out what happens to Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern. But just be warned, don't except it to be as good as the first.
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