Monday, July 05, 2010

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly is the coming-of-age story of an eleven year old girl at the turn of the 20th century. “Callie Vee” as her brothers call her, is the only daughter in a fairly wealthy rural Texas household. She has six brothers and rebels inwardly at the notion that she must put aside her natural curiosity so she can learn to sew, cook and become a “lady”. While her brothers are allowed to be somewhat wild and free, Callie quietly follows her grandfather who teaches her things her mother and teachers have never considered necessary (or desirable) for girls’ education. Quite accurately, Calpurnia’s mother fears that “a diet of Darwin, Dickens, and her grandfather’s influence will make Callie unsatisfied with her life”.

This book won a Newbery Honor for 2010 and it is clear to see why. It is an entertaining historical fiction novel that shows women how far our gender has come in the past century! I would recommend it for girls 10-15 (grades 5-8) and all my grown-up friends who like historical fiction.

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