Monday, November 21, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Callie Be Gold

I still have a mound of Cybils homework to read. But I don't mind it. When else would I have steeled myself to read so many novels in such a short space of time?!!

This week's find was a debut novel by Michele Weber Hurwitz: Calli Be Gold. It was nominated for the Cybils by Jennifer Wharton. (All opinions are my own and are not meant to reflect the opinions of the entire judging panel.)

Opening lines: "The way I look at it, you can divide all the people in the world into two categories: the loud ones who shout about who they are and what they do, and the quiet ones who just are and do."

The Story: Calli Gold is in 5th grade, the youngest of three siblings. Her brother is a basketball star. Her sister is in a highly competitive synchronized skating team. And her parents live vicariously through their successful children, because the are GOLDS!!

Callie can't find her place in this family. During the past two years, she's tried "gymnastics, ballet, soccer, baton twirling, violin, and even origami... (and been) a big disappointment in everything." Her dad says she'll make her mark (after all, she's a Gold), but Callie isn't sure.

It turns out that Callie's special talent is for friendship. She teams up with Noah Zullo, the second-grade pariah, in her school's Peer Helper Program, and together they have the most successful booth in the show. Callie has made her mark, after all.

Why I Loved This Book: Callie's voice. First person present is hard to pull off, and Hurwitz does a masterful job. And the humor. This book is funny, but also has loads of heart. If you have a tender-hearted 5th grader of your own, this would be a super-duper novel for them to enjoy.

Michele Weber Hurwitz has a great website, where you can learn about her favorite color, her family, and her road to publication. Check it out HERE.

(I do plan a Thanksgiving post, but just in case the Don makes me cook dinner for the entire clan, I'll say an early HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you all now. Thanks for making Middle Grade Mafioso part of your reading life.)