Eleven by Patricia Reilly Giff


Sam can't remember life before his Grandpa Mack, but sometimes his memory brings up snatches of a cold and angry place. Although he is happy and safe with his grandpa, when Sam finds a newspaper clipping in the attic, he begins to question if he is where he belongs. The article talks about a missing boy and the picture looks like a three-year-old version of Sam. The problem is Sam can't read the article. Dyslexia causes words to jump on the page and Sam can only figure out a few, key points.

In an attempt to puzzle out the article and learn about his past, Sam befriends Caroline, a new girl at his school. The two fifth graders build a strong friendship as they try to rebuild Sam's past. Their experience teaches lessons about love, loyalty, and learning to belong even when life is hard. The author creates a compelling mystery and two great characters finding their place in the world. Her approach to the struggle of dyslexia is also compassionate and realistic, a good way for readers to understand that very real learning trial.

Recommended for ages 10-12.

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