Calli Be Gold

by Michele Weber Hurwitz

Wendy Lamb Books, April 5, 2011.
Hardcover, 208 pages.
Ages 9-12

Calli Be Gold by Michele Weber Hurwitz

At last we have a story written for the twenty-first century child, trapped in a world that demands overachievement for both children and parents. If you are a kid hoping for a good future, you had better be accomplished. We have all seen (or even been) the distraught parents at school sports events: red-faced fathers shouting to the players, frantic mothers trying to cover transportation to several sports events in a single afternoon and children who really don't seem as happy as they could be. One is tempted to ask, "Is anyone having any fun?"

Calli Gold is the youngest sibling in an over-achieving family that has life organized by their mother, who uses different colors of sticky notes on a large calendar in the kitchen to bring order to everyone's schedules. Blue is for the son, pink is for Calli's older sister, and gold will be for Calli if she ever finds her true talent. As often happens the youngest sibling feels overwhelmed by the accomplishments of older kids in the family.

The journey of Calli as she discovers her real talent and finds her own value is the theme of this reassuring story. Calli begins to discover her own special talent when she chooses to be the mentor of a shy second grade boy who spends his days in class doing little, and resolutely sits under his desk during class. The fifth grade teacher and the second grade teacher have decided to set up a mentoring program with their classes. After working together for several weeks, each pair of students will build a project for the Friendship Fair to which their families will be invited to see the booths. Calli wonders how she will be able to accomplish this with such a shy and withdrawn boy. In discovering the answer to her problem, Calli also discovers herself.

Calli Be Good is an excellent choice for upper elementary and middle school students. In a self-absorbed stage of life, self discovery and the confidence that goes with it can be found best when a challenge is accepted, struggled with and mastered.

-- Sarah Reaves White

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