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Eleven by Patricia Reilly Giff
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Eleven (2008)

by Patricia Reilly Giff

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1,0384112,371 (3.43)15

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Sam, a functionally illiterate ten-year-old who is being raised by a man he believes is his grandfather, is snooping in the attic and finds a small piece of a newspaper article sticking out of a locked box. The part sticking out has a picture of him, and he can manage to read, "Sam Bell, Missing." Since his last name is not Bell, he jumps to the conclusion that his grandfather is not his grandfather, and that he must enlist the aid of a fellow student at school to come home, sneak in the attic, unlock the mystery box, and read the materials to him so he can discover his origins.

Caroline is a new student in school, and she is the one he enlists. The growing friendship between Sam and Caroline - a girl whose family moves to another town several times each year - is the one highlight of this mediocre novel for young readers.

Sam can't read simply because for the story to exist, he needs to get someone's help. There is no other reason for his illiteracy, nor is there any resolution along those lines at the end. And the solution to the great mystery of Sam's origins and the newspaper article are quite anticlimactic. (spoiler) It turns out that, surprise!, the man he always thought was his grandfather really is his grandfather.

If, like me, you adored "Pictures of Hollis Woods" by Patricia Reilly Giff, don't expect that level of literary quality in this novel. Just skip this one altogether. ( )
  fingerpost | May 14, 2018 |
A young boy had a fear of the number 11 but could not remember why. As we learn more of his story he finds his name on a sheet of paper in the attic that says missing? Was he really apart of the family that he is in? Who is he? We watch as he finds out the story of his life as he meets people who mean the world to him in the way. ( )
  abrianawedin | Feb 26, 2018 |
Sam is turning 11 and cannot figure out why he is so hung up on that number and why he has snippets of memories that don’t seem to fit with his present life. He is convinced that there is more to his background than what his grandfather Matt, and family friends Onji and Anima have told him. When he finds a box in the attic with an article about a missing boy who resembles him & items that trigger more memories. His attempt to solve the mystery is complicated by his inability to read the article due to his dyslexia. He is motivated and recruits a new classmate, Caroline, to help him with the reading. They uncover the astounding truth about Sam’s past, and in the process become friends despite resistance on both parts. ( )
  JenniferLSimpson | Apr 11, 2017 |
The title symbolizes the age of Sam. The address of CHILDREN'S home in New York where he lived after his mother died and the chimney stacks on the children's home formed an eleven. The mood of the story is happy and sad. Sam was happy once he found out his past and sad when his friend Caroline had to move away. Sam is the main character and the supporting characters are his friend Caroline, his grandfather Mack and their neighbors Onji and Anima. Sam struggles to read due to dyslexia, so he gets Caroline to help him with the mystery of why he was in a newspaper clipping reporting him missing when he was younger and his name was Sam Bell. He finally talks to Mack and he explained everything. Mack is Sam's grandfather and Sam's mother, Julia Bell, is Mack's daughter who died. The story was very good and full of logicality. It is a good book for us to learn something about dyslexia as well. ( )
  JCHEN16 | Mar 6, 2017 |
Summary:
This story is about a boy who sees to believe that he was possibly kidnapped as a child. He finds a sheet of paper in his attic that is a missing person add with a his picture but a different last name. He has to figure out how to find out more even though he has a serious reading problem. When he meets a new girl at school they become friends and they find out his past together because she needs a friend and he needs someone who can read the papers he finds. In the end it is found out to be a misunderstanding and that his family was his real family.

Genre:
It's a realistic fiction- This book has no unrealistic occurrences in this book. It is all real life and fills into the realistic fiction genre.
Great way to show that learning disabilities don't define a person and that we all have different strengths.

Commons on use:
I'd like to let students read this book as their monthly reading plan and write their reading journal for each chapter. ( )
  LaurieZeng | Mar 1, 2017 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
To Conor Giff, eleven on February 18, 2008, with love
First words
Never mind being afraid of eleven right now.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Who is Sam, and what do his strange dreams mean?

The shock of icy water as a boat crashes onto rocks feels real; so does the castle high above him that is almost hidden in the mists. And what about the number eleven woven into all those dreams?

The papers Sam finds in the locked box in the attic may hold the answers–if only he could read them. But to Sam, words are like spiders flexing their thin legs as they move across the page. Words are impossible. It’s wood that Sam understands, wood that he loves to shape and to build with.

Caroline, the new girl, who bursts into Sam’s classroom one day and warns him that she’s not there to stay, helps build a castle with him, and reads those papers. Together they set out to discover who Sam really is and where he belongs.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440238021, Paperback)

Sam must solve the mystery of who he really is.

Sam is almost 11 when he discovers a locked box in the attic above his grandfather Mack’s room, and a piece of paper that says he was kidnapped. There are lots of other words, but Sam has always had trouble reading. He’s desperate to find out who he is, and if his beloved Mack is really his grandfather. At night he’s haunted by dreams of a big castle and a terrifying escape on a boat. Who can he trust to help him read the documents that could unravel the mystery? Then he and the new girl, Caroline, are paired up to work on a school project, building a castle in Mack’s woodworking shop. Caroline loves to read, and she can help. But she’s moving soon, and the two must hurry to discover the truth about Sam.

★ “This psychological mystery explores a child’s deepest genetic need for belonging. An engrossing examination of a profound theme in the deft hands of a discerning author.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred

★ “Exquisitely rendered story of self-discovery. . . . Given the author’s expertise at developing sympathetic characters and creating a suspenseful plot, readers will find the complexity of Sam’ vulnerabilities to be as
intriguing as the unfolding enigma of his past.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:26 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

When Sam, who can barely read, discovers an old newspaper clipping just before his eleventh birthday, it brings forth memories from his past, and, with the help of a new friend at school and the castle they are building for a school project, his questions are eventually answered.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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