P.S. Be Eleven


Yes, I know.  It feels as if I’m back for a post and then I’m away again.  Well, it’s time for me to be back.  I’m done my last course for a while…I seem to say that on a regular basis but this time it’s true.  I have other things on my horizon…

But before that, I have books to read!!!

The books I decided to spend time with this weekend are Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg and the sequel to One Crazy Summer, P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia.

First of all, if you have not read One Crazy Summer, go read it.  Now!  Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern visit their absent mother in Oakland, and learn about the mother who left them and more about themselves.  Being a Black girl in the United States in the sixties was an incredible learning experience, in terms of identity, family, and love.  These girls get lessons in all of these subjects and many more.

The story continues when they return to New York in P.S. Be Eleven.  No joke.  It starts with the girls on a plane on their way back to New York where they live with their Pa and Big Ma.  But while they were away, things have changed at home…one crazy summer and ps be eleven

As Ms. Rita Williams-Garcia writes in her author’s note: the themes continue to get bigger in the sixties, especially in New York, in terms of racial identity, the Vietnam War, politics and women’s rights.

One thing that Ms. Williams-Garcia does so well, is let the reader experience the story.  At times, I was silently yelling at the author, wanting her to let Delphine tell everything but that’s not what an excellent storyteller does.  She let’s the reader sit side by side with Delphine, laughing at the joy and crying at the sorrow.  All I hope for is a P.S. Be Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen, etc…

Even though this story takes place over forty years ago, the themes are all relevant to the reader today: friendships and family relationships.  That story is still the same, except instead of passing notes, we now send texts.

It is amazing that I started to read Lean In this weekend, as well.  (It probably helped that I borrowed Lean In from the Public Library and it was due after the weekend).  Anyway, in the first two chapters of Ms. Sandberg’s book, I saw Delphine’s story parallels some of the situations Ms. Sandberg writes about.  In the grade six classroom, Delphine’s teacher has divided the class, boys on one side, girls on the other.  When he asks them to create a group, he expects two boys and two girls in a group.  Once in the group, the boys are confident to strike down the ideas for a project the girls’ present to the group.  The idea: can a woman become president of the United States?  They eventually agree on the topic, after the girls agree to a debate about the topic, with a vote by the class at the end of their presentation.  I won’t tell you how the class votes; however, the fact that Delphine’s father says she’s a good speaker and has good information, isn’t enough to convince him to agree with her…and I wonder why?lean in sheryl sandberg

I still have a few chapters to read of Lean In and then I will write a true review of the reading.  Until then, I hope you take some time to get to know the Gaither girls.  They are three of my favourite characters of all time.

Hold Fast and Keep Reading!

One more thing…

P.S. Be Eleven!

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