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.)


  1. This sounds like a sweet story, Michael. Thanks for drawing my attention to it.

  2. I hadn't heard of it. Being with siblings that are so good at sports would be a hard place to be that I'm sure kids can relate to.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Sounds wonderful. Thanks Michael! And love. love that cover!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  4. The opening line is great, and I adore books written in first person, present tense. I just love being that close to a character. Thanks for sharing this one!

  5. I agree; first person present is tough. Some I like (AL CAPONE DOES MY SHIRTS) and some I do not. This sounds great--sometimes it is hard to find your fit, even within your own family.

    Also, I've always thought the two categories of people are these: those who walk around while brushing their teeth and those who do not (I am in the walking bunch).

  6. This sounds very sweet. It's refreshing to see a reality based book once in a while.

  7. One of my fellow booksellers adored this book, so I already knew of it, but you're making me want to read it even more. I love books that are funny but still have a lot of heart.

    And Happy Thanksgiving to you too! One of the nice things about living in the US, eh?

  8. Happy Thanksgiving! And thanks for the review!

  9. This book sounds like a great find. Thanks for sharing!

  10. The humor in the book is very tempting. I want to check it out now.
    Thanks for the review and Happy Thanksgiving. :)

  11. Sounds like JUST the thing for a young friend/reader of mine who's turning 9 but likes to read ahead, and likes humor in a serious story. Thanks for the tip.
    I agree, first person's tough, because you can't get by with anything, have to stay constantly on pitch. But it's wonderful when it works!


Youse got something to say? Well, say it then. (The Don and I will shoot you... a personal reply, that is. But if we can't find your e-mail, we'll just reply in the comment box.)