P.S. Be Eleven
Book Category: Title reflecting diversity
Author: Rita Williams-Garcia
Copyright: (2013) New York, NY
Suggested Grade Level: 4-6
Lexile Level: 770L
Accelerated Reader: 4.6
Suggested Delivery: Small Group Read/Independent Read
Common Core State Standard: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.6: Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.
Summary: In this sequel to the book One Crazy Summer, the Gaither sisters return to Brooklyn, NY after spending the summer in Oakland, CA with their mother and the Black Panthers to find that many changes have occurred back at home. The Gaither siblings begin to notice that their father is in love with a new woman and their uncle has returned from the Vietnam War a changed man; however, the siblings are still expected to be independent and obey orders. Although Delphine has a lot of other sixth grade problems to worry about, she constantly finds support and guidance from her mother, who reminds her that she must not grow up too fast. This novel is all about what it may have been like to grow up and become an adolescent in the 1960s.
5 Key Words to Describe the Book: Diverse, Independence, Adolescence, Relatable, Family-Oriented
This website provides many electronic resources for the book, such as a book summary, reviews, details, and a place to download or buy the electronic version of the book: https://kenton.overdrive.com/media/2D6C5404-4E03-4413-B5D5-25CD652B3983
This website provides an interesting and detailed interview with the author: http://files.harpercollins.com/HCChildrens/OMM/Media/PSBeEleven_AuthorQA.pdf
This website provides examples of discussion questions and activities about the book for students and teachers to incorporate into their classroom: https://b0f646cfbd7462424f7a-f9758a43fb7c33cc8adda0fd36101899.ssl.cf2.rackcdn.com/teaching-guides/TG-9780060760885.pdf
Adolescence: the period following the onset of puberty during which a young person develops from a child into an adult.
Black Panthers: a militant political organization set up in the US in 1966 to fight for black rights.
Oppression: using authority in a cruel way.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: also known as PTSD; a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock.
“A Grand Negro Spectacle:” a repeated phrase from Delphine’s grandmother; she wants to avoid creating these and she constantly scolds her family for creating this.
Automaticity: independence; the ability to do things without help from others.
Before, During, After-
Before: Students will complete a shades of meaning chart; in other words, the students will write a less complex word (such as “sad”), then determine 2-3 more complex words that mean the same thing as “sad.” They will put these words in order from least complex to most complex (“sad,” “gloomy,” “miserable,” “wretched”).
During: Students will focus on how the author displays point of view through the main character’s perspective. Students will complete a relatively simple chart on one of the main characters as they are reading. The chart will include the character’s name, experiences, beliefs, values, and attitudes. An example of this point of view chart can be found here: http://ontheweb.rozlinder.com/common-core-and-point-of-view/
After: In the book, Delphine and her classmates have a debate. Each speaker has notes and has two minutes to make his or her strongest points. Have students come up with two-sided topics related to their lives (such as whether a school should sell sodas and candy or whether ads should be banned on children’s television). Have them prepare brief notes and then hold a short in-class debate.
Writing Activity- Pick one of the Gaither sisters and write a letter to Big Ma from her point of view towards the end of the book. The letter can discuss what has happened since Big Ma left and how that particular sister is feeling. Use formal letter format with a date, salutation, and closing.
Teacher’s Guide: http://assets.readcommoncore.com/resources/PS_BE11_DG_FINAL.pdf