Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “P.S. Be Eleven (Gaither Sisters, #2)” as Want to Read:
P.S. Be Eleven (Gaither Sisters, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

P.S. Be Eleven

(Gaither Sisters #2)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  5,584 ratings  ·  652 reviews
In this exquisite sequel to the New York Times bestseller One Crazy Summer, the Gaither sisters return to Brooklyn and find that changes large and small have come to their home.

After spending the summer in Oakland with their mother and the Black Panthers, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern arrive home with a newfound streak of independence, and the sisters aren't the only ones wh
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 21st 2013 by Amistad
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about P.S. Be Eleven, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Frankie She hung out with her friends and Ellis danced with her
Marlene In the first book, we learn about Cecile’s childhood and how she lost her mom when she was eleven, therefore life became difficult after that. Cecile…moreIn the first book, we learn about Cecile’s childhood and how she lost her mom when she was eleven, therefore life became difficult after that. Cecile offers some advise to Delphine, to be more selfish, to not be hardheaded and to enjoy life. “Be eleven.” Don’t rush growing up. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tweener-lit
It's entirely possible that I love this continuation of the Gaither sisters' small saga even more than the first award winning smash of a novel, but that could just be proximity talking. Since I just finished this lovely sequel and am still hearing the Jackson Five in my head, smelling Big Ma's cooking, and seeing Mr. Miwila's sixth grade classroom, my deep love of Rita Williams-Garcia's lyrical, heartfelt writing is still fresh. But I can already tell that this is a book that will stick with me ...more
4.5 stars. The wonderful Gaither sisters are back! Delphine, Vonetta and Fern return home to Brooklyn. After their summer with Cecile, their mother, and the Black Panthers, the girls are different, and are more willing to speak up. Their grandmother is not too pleased, and continues to badmouth Cecile.
It's a new school year, and there are changes happening in their family. Their father introduces the girls to a woman and seems pretty serious about her. The girls discover the Jackson Five, and ar
Apr 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Truth be told, I didn't understand the Rita Williams-Garcia hype before reading P.S. Be Eleven. I'd read a couple of her books, notably 2011 Newbery Honoree One Crazy Summer, but wasn't convinced she belonged in the discussion with the top children's authors of her day. Her writing was never dull, chapter after chapter of engaging prose that hit the ear with the faint ring of poetry, but I wasn't sure it meshed as a cohesive piece of art with a worthwhile central message. After P.S. Be Eleven, I ...more
Monica Edinger
Nov 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed on blog and below.

A huge fan of Rita Willliams-Garcia's One Crazy Summer, I was incredibly happy when it got a great deal of award-love and recognition. I mean, who could not be taken with those three sisters going off to spend the summer in California with the Black Panther mother they never knew? And who could not want to know what happened to them when they went home to Brooklyn?

Happily, we find out in the sequel,   P.S. Be Eleven . Taking off immediately after the girls return from
I see a number of four star reviews for this one, and I only just finished it, so haven't sat with it yet... but this was a five star book for me. I think it was stronger than one crazy summer in voice, depth of the characters, and sense of place. I loved the pacing, the quiet tone, and the utter believability of the kids' actions and voices. super impressed: this is by far my favorite of her books so far.
Barb Middleton
Aug 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
As a kid, my brother would drop the needle on our Monkees' album and we would shout-sing, "Hey, Hey we're the monkees! We keep on monkeying around..." (not sure of the lyrics anymore since it was decades ago). I do remember my brother pretend throwing a football and me doing cartwheels (our version of dancing) before mom eventually hollered, " Uff-da! Turn that down! The house is shaking!" We were the "Heckle an Jeckle" in our family of seven just like Vonetta and Fern are in this story. I found ...more
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bedtime read-aloud. I can't say enough about these Gaither girls books. Such great characters, and such a clear sense of time and place. They remind me in many ways of the Ramona books, which were the emotional touchstones of my childhood. Delphine and her sisters feel real. They talk like real kids, and they feel real feelings, and real things happen to them, and Rita Williams-Garcia -- like Beverly Cleary -- trusts kid readers to get it. Like...with the Jackson 5 concert ticket storyline... sh ...more
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
Aug 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: randomly-reading
For all of you who became fans of the Gaither sisters - Delphine, Vonetta and Fern - in One Crazy Summer, the girls are back. And for anyone who doesn't know the Gaither sisters - they are a delight to meet.

The girls have just returned to Herkimer Street in Brooklyn after spending the summer with the mother Cecile in Oakland, CA (see One Crazy Summer). Gone for one short summer, when they get back home things are definitely different. For one thing, their father is a changed man now that he has
Linda Lipko
Jan 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
In the Newbery honor award winning One Crazy Summer, we learned of the Gaither girls and their struggle to understand the mother who abandoned them and headed to California for life dedicated to the black panther and civil rights movement. That was a five star read for me.

P.S. Be Eleven is the second book, and while not as strong as One Crazy Summer, it tugged at my heart. Told from the perspective of the oldest of the sisters, eleven year old Delphine is a stubborn, loving, spit-fire of a girl.
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
Wow, so different from One Crazy Summer. The first book included historical details that supported the story. I felt like this book did just the opposite, as if the story and characters were there as a backdrop, allowing her to place references of the period center stage. I admire the ability to create a sense of time and place, but in this case the story really was a "p.s." for me and not one that could stand on its own. One Crazy Summer was as near perfect as I could imagine, and I think it wa ...more
I'm in love with the Gaither Siter really. I'm in love with their relationship, their personalities. Delphine, Vonetta and Fern, they stand out as a trio as well as individual. They felt so real that for a moment I thought I was one of them. I would have love to be.
They made me cry; even though I'm the easy cryer when it comes to adult fiction I do not cry when I read children/middle grade books. I can get teary yes; but I do not cry. This one:
I laughted, oh boy! So much laughter in suc
Feb 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is the sequel to One Crazy Summer. It starts EXACTLY where the previous book ended. If you fell in love with the first book, I guarantee you will love this one. Delphine narrates this story and has many struggles dealing with the start of 6th grade, the return of her uncle Darnell from Vietnam, her grandmother leaving, a new stepmother and overall letting her sisters become more independent. Though letters between Delphine and her mother, Delphine learns more about herself and remember ...more
Sam Bloom
It took me a while to get into this, and I am pretty sure it was out of fear: I loved One Crazy Summer so much that I was afraid its sequel wouldn't live up to the original. And it doesn't, at least not quite; OCS had Delphine, Vonetta and Fern vs. Cecile (even though it wasn't really good vs. evil per se, the conflict between mother and daughters really moved the book) and I feel like PSBE suffered somewhat from the lack of Cecile. But PSBE is still an incredibly strong book, beautifully writte ...more
Mar 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrensbooks
Sequel to ONE CRAZY SUMMER, but not nearly as good. Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are back home in Brooklyn and must face some big changes in their family. Parts of the story were delightful, like the girls' obsession with the Jackson Five. There were some abrupt incidents (SPOILER ALERT!) like Big Ma moving back to Alabama. There were also some incidents that did not make sense and made me a little angry. When a wonderful book like ONE CRAZY SUMMER comes along, I understand why the publisher want ...more
Brenda Kahn
What a satisfying companion to One Crazy Summer! The Gaither girls return from Oakland very much changed only to find things changing on Herkermer Street in Brooklyn. Pa's got a lady friend, Big Mama still disapproves of the girls' visit to California, Delphine's friendships are changing and she's starting sixth grade. The audio was performed by one of my favorite narrators, Sisi Aisha Johnson, and she was spectacular as usual. While I was totally lost in the Brooklyn, 1968, I found myself wishi ...more
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: MMM
I liked this even better than One Crazy Summer. The writing is so joyful and natural and real. I don't think it's a GREAT standalone--I think there's a lot about Cecile that would be confusing (and some of it was confusing because I don't remember everything about her very well)--but it is doable. I love this cover, too, even though it doesn't match the text; I think of it kind of as, this is how Delphine and Vonetta and Fern felt on the INside.
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
So friggin cute! Interesting perspective from some of the characters on the Nixon era. I just love how Garcia is able to capture the issues of the era and still keep it kid friendly and real all at the same time!
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, 2016
This was such a joy! I loved being back in this world with Delphine and her little sisters, getting to watch them all grow up a little bit. I'm definitely wanting to pick up the next book in this series soon.
Anna Ryckman
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the second book in Rita Williams-Garcia’s three book series about the Gaither sisters. The three sisters spent their summer visiting their mom in California where the girls got to experience a very different culture and it is a huge shock to them when they come home and find that everything has changed. The girls stay in touch with their mother through letters where she continously reminds Delphine, who is the oldest sister, to remember to act her age and shouldn’t worry about being in c ...more
Gulshan Naqvee
Very aptly written but very mature main character!! Too good
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice sequel

Enjoyed this read. The Author is a great writer! Interesting to see the main character grow and mature. Who sent the package?
Amy Herrick
Categories/Genres for this class fulfilled by this book:
Middle-Grade Reader & Historical Fiction

Estimate of age level of interest
Grades 5-8

Estimate of reading level
Grade 5

Brief description
In the late 1960s, three sisters, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern, have just returned to Brooklyn from a summer in Oakland, California, with their mother, who is a poet and a member of the Black Panthers. Back home in New York, their grandmother and father espouse different ideals about race relations than wh
Vikki VanSickle
P.S. Be Eleven begins on the plane, when Delphine, Fern and Vonetta are returning home to New York after spending ‘one crazy summer’ with their free-spirited activist mother. But one can never come home again, as Delphine discovers that things have changed in her absence over the summer. Delphine is surprised to find that her beloved father has a girlfriend and can’t make heads or tails of her uncle’s strange behaviour.

This book is as close to bottled adolescence as you can get. Delphine’s insta
Natalie Payton
P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia is a sequel to the book, One Crazy Summer. This books follows the development of Delphine, an 11 year old girl that just got back from visiting her mom who left to live in Oakland, CA. This story is set in the late 1960s in Brooklyn, NY during the civil rights movement. Delphine has two younger sisters, Fern and Vonetta, who are too hard for Delphine to take care of anymore since everyone is growing up and getting bigger. This story goes th
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It's 1968 and African-American sisters Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern have returned home to NYC after a summer in Oakland with the mother who abandoned them and the Black Panthers. They're back to living with their father and his mother, Big Ma, and their Uncle Darnell who recently returned from Vietnam. Delphine, the oldest of the sisters, is starting 6th grade. There's a lot going on in their lives. Their father is engaged to a woman Big Ma doesn't approve of, and Delphine is still wondering why ...more
This is one of the best middle grade books I've read all year. It truly sings and dances! I think that Williams-Garcia outdoes herself with her standalone sequel to One Crazy Summer. I thoroughly enjoyed that novel, but feel that she really hits her stride with this touching, funny, vulnerable, and strong novel about the three sisters and their return to their New York neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant in the early 1970s after a conscience-raising summer spent with their mother in Oakland, Cali ...more
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
Grade: A+

Delphine and her two younger sisters return home after summer in Oakland with their mother and at Black Panthers Camp. Back to Big Ma and her old fashion ways, back to Pa and his new girlfriend, back to Uncle Darnell home from Vietnam and on drugs. Everything seems to be changing except Big Ma and her strict ways. The sisters are saving for a Jackson 5 concert, sixth grade is harder than Delphine imagined and she keeps receiving letters from her mother ending with PS BE ELEVEN, remindin
Picking up right where Newbery Honor Book One Crazy Summer left off, its successor is every bit as delightful as its predecessor was. Eleven-year-old Delphine Gaither and her sisters, Vonetta and Fern, have just returned to Brooklyn from Oakland after a summer getting to know her mother. Delphine finds that she and her sisters aren't the only ones who have changed. Things at home are different since her father is dating someone and her sisters are coming into their own. The girls continue to com ...more
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Four stars or five stars? However many are there, know that I really, really liked this charming novel.

Eleven year old Delphine is supposed to take care of her younger sisters, but her mother also wants her to have a childhood, so she often signs her letters to her some version of “P.S. Be Eleven.” Delphine’s mom is a poet who lives in Oakland and Delphine, Vonetta and Fern live with their dad, grandmother and Uncle Darnell in Bed Stuy. It’s the late sixties or the early 70’s. Their mom is a Bla
Carlos Gastelum
Garcia, R., W. (2013) P.s be eleven. New York, NY: Harper Collins.

P.S. Be Eleven, is a historical fiction novel and sequel to the book One Crazy Summer. The focuses on three sisters Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern. After spending their summer in Oakland they decide to return home and soon come to realize things have in fact changed. Their Pa now has a girlfriend, and their uncle returns from Vietnam a different man. Besides everything going on the author focuses on Delphine’s life as she deals with
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Fiction 2 3 Apr 27, 2016 06:59AM  
Coretta Scott Kin...: P.S. Be Eleven 1 3 Jul 19, 2015 03:25PM  
Children's Lit Su...: Painter: Book Promotion 2 5 Jun 20, 2014 07:02PM  
  • Bo at Ballard Creek
  • Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War
  • Sugar
  • The Madman of Piney Woods
  • Crow
  • Africa Is My Home: A Child of the Amistad
  • Eruption! Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives
  • Stella by Starlight
  • Revolution (The Sixties Trilogy, #2)
  • The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
  • The Thing About Luck
  • Hattie Ever After (Hattie, #2)
  • Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles, America's First Black Paratroopers
  • One Came Home
  • Chasing Secrets
  • No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller
  • Zebra Forest
  • A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina's Dream
"I was born in Queens, N.Y, on April 13, 1957. My mother, Miss Essie, named me 'NoMo' immediately after my birth. Although I was her last child, I took my time making my appearance. I like to believe I was dreaming up a good story and wouldn’t budge until I was finished. Even now, my daughters call me 'Pokey Mom', because I slow poke around when they want to go-go-go.

"I learned to read early, and

Other books in the series

Gaither Sisters (3 books)
  • One Crazy Summer (Gaither Sisters, #1)
  • Gone Crazy in Alabama (Gaither Sisters, #3)
“Dear Delphine,
When you are older I want you to find Chinua Achebe. I want you to read Things Fall Apart. Don't be hardheaded and try to read this book now. Don't be hardheaded, Delphine. You are the smart one, but you are not ready. You can read all its words. Even the African words. But you will not know what Achebe is saying. It is a bad thing to bite into a hard fruit with little teeth. You will say bad things about the fruit when the problem is your teeth.
I want you to read this book. I want you to know Things Fall Apart. Fourteen is a good age to find Chinua Achebe.
Your Mother.
P.S. For now you are eleven. Be eleven.”
“Heckle and Jeckle again” 0 likes
More quotes…