The Gaither sisters are at it again A sequel to the Newbery Honor Book One Crazy Summer, this Coretta Scott King Award-winning novel will find a home in the hearts of readers who loved Brown Girl Dreaming and As Brave as You.
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. That doesn't sit well with Big Ma, who doesn't like the way things are changing.
Neither does Delphine. Pa has a new girlfriend. Uncle Darnell comes home from Vietnam, but he's not the same. And her new sixth-grade teacher isn't the fun, stylish Miss Honeywell--it's Mr. Mwila, a stern exchange teacher from Zambia.
But the one thing that doesn't change during this turbulent year is the advice that Delphine receives from her mother, who reminds her not to grow up too fast. To be eleven while she can.
Readers who enjoy Christopher Paul Curtis's The Watsons Go to Birmingham and Jacqueline Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming will find much to love in this book. Rita Williams-Garcia's books about Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern can also be read alongside nonfiction explorations of American history such as Jason Reynolds's and Ibram X. Kendi's books.
Each humorous, unforgettable story in this trilogy follows the sisters as they grow up during one of the most tumultuous eras in recent American history, the 1960s. Read the adventures of eleven-year-old Delphine and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, as they visit their kin all over the rapidly changing nation--and as they discover that the bonds of family, and their own strength, run deeper than they ever knew possible.
"The Gaither sisters are an irresistible trio. Williams-Garcia excels at conveying defining moments of American society from their point of view." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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- ISBN-13: 9780061938627
- ISBN-10: 0061938629
- Publisher: Quill Tree Books
- Publish Date: May 2013
- Dimensions: 8.43 x 6.07 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.8 pounds
- Page Count: 288
- Reading Level: Ages 9-12
Growing up too fast in the '60s
When we last saw them, sisters Delphine, Vonetta and Fern were leaving Oakland after spending the summer with their mother. Now, in Rita Williams-Garcia’s P.S. Be Eleven, the sequel to the Newbery Honor-winning One Crazy Summer, we catch up with the Gaither sisters as they return to Brooklyn in 1968 and are reunited with Pa and Big Ma.
It doesn’t take long for the life lessons the sisters learned from their mother and the Black Panthers to clash mightily with the views of their grandmother, who wants to avoid creating a “grand Negro spectacle.” The oldest girl, Delphine, must find a way to live as her mother would want, while still respecting Pa and Big Ma, and keeping Vonetta and Fern out of trouble.
This balancing act becomes difficult very quickly. Soon after they arrive home, the sisters learn that their father is getting married. Vonetta and Fern love Miss Marva Hendricks right away, but Delphine wants to keep her distance. Adding to their struggle is Uncle Darnell, who returns home from the Vietnam War and lives with Pa, Big Ma and the girls as he fights his own internal battles. During all this, the girls stay in contact with their mother through letters—Delphine pouring out her heart, and her mother always ending her letters with a reminder to “Be Eleven.”
P.S. Be Eleven is a worthy successor to the unforgettable One Crazy Summer. The writing is just as powerful, and the story includes a convincing snapshot of the era, encompassing everything from the Civil Rights movement and Richard Nixon’s presidency to the beginnings of The Jackson 5. The story allows the girls to grow—learning new things, testing their ideals and discovering their true relationships with their mother and father, grandmother and many others. Williams-Garcia’s story offers a magnificent window into everyday life during the late 1960s and should not be missed.