February 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Pick of the Day: P.S. Be Eleven | Audio

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P.S. Be Eleven. By Rita Williams-Garcia. 6 CDs. 6:15 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4703-6184-6, CD: ISBN 978-1-4703-6183-9. $66.75.
Gr 4–7–In Williams-Garcia’s sequel (2013) to her Coretta Scott King award-winning One Crazy Summer (2010, both Amistad), the three Gaither sisters—Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern—return home to Brooklyn after an eventful 28-day reunion with their estranged poet mother inOakland,California. They are full of “Power to the People” and independence as they finish up their summer and begin another school year. Told through the eyes of sixth grader Delphine, the eldest sister, listeners join the girls as they navigate the changes in their lives during 1968, including the return of their beloved Uncle Darnell fromVietnamwho just isn’t the same, their Pa’s new girlfriend, and the arrival of the Jackson Five on the music scene. Delphine confides her worries and thoughts in letters to her mother, who reminds her daughter not to grow up to fast—to “be eleven.” The novel has strong African-American female characters. The Gaither girls mature and adapt to the changes happening around them. Sisi Aisha Johnson does a superb job of creating a unique voice for each character. The sisters like to finish each other sentences, and Johnson’s distinct vocal changes keep each girl’s voice clear. She captures the humorous moments as easily as the thoughtful ones, producing a smile one moment and bringing tears to your eyes the next. Featuring an excellent text and superb narration, this is a must-have for school and public libraries looking for well-written historical fiction offering insight into the African-American experience of the 1960s as seen through a young girl’s eyes.–Terri Norstrom, Cary Area Library, IL

Phyllis Levy Mandell About Phyllis Levy Mandell

Phyllis Mandell was Managing Editor/Multimedia Review Editor for SLJ.



  1. jakevis gaither says:

    hi my last name is gaither and i love that book