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P.S. Be Elevenby Rita Williams Garcia
Synopses & Reviews
Things are changing in the Gaither household. After soaking up a "power to the people" mind-set over the summer, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern return to Brooklyn with a newfound streak of independence. Pa has a girlfriend. Uncle Darnell is home from Vietnam, but he's not the same. And a new singing group called the Jackson Five has the girls seeing stars.
But the one thing that doesn't change? Big Ma still expects Delphine to keep everything together. That's even harder now that her sisters refuse to be bossed around, and now that Pa's girlfriend voices her own opinions about things. Through letters, Delphine confides in her mother, who reminds her not to grow up too fast. To be eleven while she can.
An outstanding successor to the Newbery Honor Book One Crazy Summer, P.S. Be Eleven stands on its own as a moving, funny story of three sisters growing up amid the radical change of the 1960s, beautifully written by the inimitable Rita Williams-Garcia.
"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Uncle Darnell returns from Vietnam a damaged young man, and the sixth-grade teacher Delphine hoped to get has been replaced by a man from Zambia.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)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Rita Williams-Garcia's much-anticipated middle-grade novel P.S. Be Eleven, winner of Coretta Scott King Award, is the sequel to her New York Times bestseller One Crazy Summer, a Newbery Honor Book and winner of the Coretta Scott King Award.
Eleven-year-old Brooklyn girl Delphine feels overwhelmed with worries and responsibilities. She's just started sixth grade and is self-conscious about being the tallest girl in the class, and nervous about her first school dance. She's supposed to be watching her sisters, but Fern and Vonetta are hard to control. Her uncle Darnell is home from Vietnam and seems different. And her pa has a girlfriend. At least Delphine can write to her mother in Oakland, California, for advice. But why does her mother tell her to "be eleven" when Delphine is now twelve?
The historical novel, set in the 1960s, features vivid characters, insight into family relationships, and a strong sense of place.
About the Author
Winner of the PEN/Norma Klein Award, Rita Williams-Garcia is the author of five other distinguished novels for young adults: Blue Tights, Every Time a Rainbow Dies, Fast Talk on a Slow Track, Like Sisters on the Homefront, and No Laughter Here, the latter four of which were chosen as ALA Best Books for Young Adults. Like Sisters on the Homefront was also named a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and a best book of the year by ALA Booklist, School Library Journal, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, and Publishers Weekly. She has also written an acclaimed novel for middle-grade readers, One Crazy Summer, which the New York Times called "a powerful and affecting story of sisterhood and motherhood."
Rita Williams-Garcia is currently a faculty member at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in the Writing for Children and Young Adults Program. She has two daughters, Michelle and Stephanie, and lives in Jamaica, New York.
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