Sue's Reviews > Eleven

Eleven by Patricia Reilly Giff
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's review
Aug 03, 2012

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Read in August, 2012

This book is nominated for a California Young Reader Medal for 2012-13. I would recommend this book as a 4th-6th grade read-aloud. It is the story of a 5th grade struggling reader, who discovers a newspaper clipping in his grandfather's attic which leads him to question his past, and enlist the help of a new classmate and avid reader, Caroline.

The cover artwork, and the front jacket description is not an accurate depiction of the book. Both set the reader up to expect a dark mystery, which this book is not.

The message that everyone has different talents will be encouraging to students with reading disabilities, like Sam and his grandfather Mack, and will encourage tolerance from students who are more academically successful. Mack is a skilled woodworker and Sam has a talent for it, as well. "You read the wood, and that's something that almost no one else can do." "You'll learn to read, Sam. It may take longer than most, it may never be your strong point. But you have this."

I enjoyed the close adult friendships portrayed with Mack and the neighbors and business owners that live and work in his building, Onji and Anima, and the caring relationships between Mack's neighbors and friends with his grandson, Sam. The meaningful connection Sam has with them downplays the lack of parents and a grandmother in his life, as they look after one another, share meals, celebrate Sam's birthday together, and mimic an extended family.


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