Bulldog Library


on February 24, 2013

JF Giff    •    AR Reading Level: 4.1    •    AR Points: 4.0    •    Quiz #120111

Jacket.aspxSam lives with grandfather, Mack, in an apartment over his grandfather’s carpentry shop.  Sam has learned woodworking from Mack, but he has not yet been able to learn to read.  He tries.  He is in a special class in school, and every night his neighbor Anima reads out loud to him over desert.  Despite his inability to read, Sam loves his life.  He loves his grandfather, and he loves his neighbors, who have become his extended family.

One day, when searching for his birthday present, Sam comes across an odd newspaper clipping.  There is a picture of him as a young child, but the name is wrong: Sam Bell.  Who is Sam Bell?  Why does it say ‘missing’?  Sam needs someone who can read to help him find the truth, so he invites Caroline, the new girl at school, home.  Together they search for the truth of Sam’s past.

While the plot of this story is the mystery surrounding Sam’s past, the real heart of this story is the friendship that develops between Sam and Caroline as they work together to solve the mystery.  It is this friendship between two misfits that will grab the readers and draw them into this story.  Even knowing that Caroline’s father could move the family any day, readers will root for the growing friendship.  Despite the design of the cover, which makes this book look like this is a scary book, it is actually a book about friendship, family, and finding your place in the world.

Genre: Mystery  •  Interest Level: grade 4-8

2013 California Young Reader (CYRM) Nominee

Giff, P.R., (2008). Eleven. New York, NY : Wendy Lamb Books.


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