Eleven. Patricia Reilly Giff; Alfred A. Knopf, 2008

Grade Level: 3-5

ISBN 978-0-385-73069-3 (0-385-73069-1) & Cost: $15.99


Eleven by Patricia Reilly Giff published by Wendy Lamb Books,

an imprint of Random House Children's Books



Sam MacKenzie will turn eleven as his birthday is approaching quickly. There is something about the number eleven that mystifies him. Sam finds some papers in a box in the attic that may answer his questions, but he cannot read. Caroline, a classmate who just moved to town but not for long, loves to read. Sam wants to learn but knows he cannot learn quick enough to solve the mystery by himself. When Sam and Caroline are paired for a school project, Sam feels he can put his trust into Caroline in helping him discover who he really is.


General Review: 

What a great, quick, mystery read. Couldn't turn the pages quick enough to figure out what happened next. Would be a nice classroom read-aloud or suited for that quiet child not too sure about who they are.


Themes: Friendship, School, Self-identity, Families


Author information: 



Discussion Questions: (Standard 3; Benchmark 3)

  1. What character do you like most in this book? Why? How is this character like you or unlike you? In what ways are his experiences similar or different from yours?
  2. How do you feel about the ending of the book? Why? How might you change the ending if you were the author? Why would you change it this way? How might this change in the plot alter the author's message?
  3. Why do you think the author wrote this book? What was her purpose? Did she succeed? How? What is the main theme or idea overall? Do you agree with this message? Why or why not?



  1. Challenge students to pair up with a younger student learning to read. Set aside some work time for the older student to assist the younger student (buddy reading-activities)

(Standard 5; Benchmark 1)

  1. Research fun facts about the number eleven – compare what you learned from reading the story and what you find out from your research. (Standard 4; Benchmark 2)


Similar Books for Further Reading

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

Boxcar Children by Gertrude Warner