Cover image for P.S. be eleven / by Rita Williams-Garcia.
P.S. be eleven / by Rita Williams-Garcia.
Title Variants:
Post script be eleven

Be eleven.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Amistad, [2015]

Physical Description:
274 pages ; 20 cm
"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?" -- from publisher's web site.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
WIL Paperback Junior Paperback Fiction
WIL Paperback Junior Paperback Fiction

On Order



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.

Author Notes

Rita Williams-Garcia graduated from Hofstra University. She has written several books including Blue Tights, Every Time a Rainbow Dies, Fast Talk on a Slow Track, One Crazy Summer, and No Laughter Here. Like Sisters on the Homefront was named a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. She won the PEN/Norma Klein Award. She currently teaches at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in the Writing for Children and Young Adults Program. She won the Coretta Scott King awards in 2016 with her title Gone Crazy in Alabama in the author category.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

Against Big Ma's objections, in One Crazy Summer (rev. 3/10) Delphine and her sisters Vonetta and Fern flew off to Oakland to get to know their mother, Cecile, and learned about the Black Panthers. Here, they've returned, and before they even get home to Bedford-Stuyvesant, they outrage Big Ma, making a "grand Negro spectacle" of themselves at the airport by refusing to be invisible and docile. For Delphine, this new stage of life is tricky to maneuver. Pa is suddenly happy, with a new "lady friend"; their uncle returns from Vietnam but seems greatly changed; and her sisters have learned to stand up for themselves, refusing to let Delphine take charge in her usual way. She tries to better understand why her parents never married, but Cecile sets her straight in letters, establishing boundaries ("My feelings about your father are mine. They are not feelings that can be understood by a young girl") and reminding her repeatedly to "be eleven." Williams-Garcia evokes the late-sixties time period perfectly with word choices ("right on!"), clothing details (Delphine longs for bell-bottoms), and other specific references, especially the instant, passionate devotion the sisters feel toward the Jackson Five. And as in the multi-medaled previous book, she brilliantly gets to the very heart of Delphine and each of her family members and friends, using Delphine's keen perceptions ("Big Ma put a smile over her real face...") to create complex, engaging, and nuanced characters. Funny, wise, poignant, and thought-provoking, this will leave readers wanting more about Delphine and her sisters. susan dove lempke (c) Copyright 2013. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.