Monday, May 7, 2012
Posted by Kristen at 6:25 PM
Friday, May 4, 2012
Posted by Kristen at 7:33 AM
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Posted by Kristen at 2:05 PM
Sunday, April 22, 2012
- The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman
- The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli
Posted by Kristen at 7:49 PM
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Posted by Kristen at 8:58 AM
Friday, April 20, 2012
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is the story of a young girl's self discovery during the early 20th century. Calpurnia Virginia Tate, Callie Vee for short, is a spunky and curious eleven-year-old, who is a born scientist. One day, while sitting in her yard, Callie notices two different types of grasshoppers. She wonders why the green grasshoppers are little while the yellow grasshoppers are much bigger. In her quest for answers, Callie finds an unlikely companion in her cantankerous grandfather. Over the course of the next year Callie grows closer to her grandfather as he teaches her all about science. As Callie learns more about science her desire to become a scientist intensifies, much to the dismay of her conservative mother.
Through Callie's adventures, readers learn about various scientific facts, like evolution, the life cycle, and microscopic organisms, as well as events that had a great impact on society, like the invention of the telephone and automobile. Kelly has discovered a unique way to blend science, history, and fiction into an appealing and interesting story.
Jaqueline Kelly's story of a precocious young girl in 1899, Texas is the perfect blend of fact and fiction. Kelly flawlessly incorporates factual information about science and history into a beautiful story of hope and determination. Callie's story proceeds in chronological order over the course of a year. Each chapter of the book begins with an excerpt of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species, which highlights a particular event in Callie's life.
Callie is full of charisma, so readers can't help but cheer for her as she longs to break away from the traditional expectations of young girls in the 20th century. Calpurnia's grandfather, whom she calls “granddaddy” starts off as a bit of a mysterious character, but as his relationship with Callie grows, readers discover his complexity and genuineness. Kelly does an excellent job describing all of the supporting characters in her book, readers come to know the whole Tate family.
Kelly flawlessly captures life in 1899, Texas. Her description of Fentress and the Tate's cotton and pecan farm provide a clear image of rural life during the early 20th century. Kelly's use of southern dialect and terms/phrases common in 1899 brilliantly capture the essence of the time period. Her description of horse-pulled gigs, the town's first telephone connection, and various social events transport readers back in time. The scientific terms and historical references throughout the book lend credibility and authenticity to the story.
As Callie struggles to follow her dreams, she is pressured by her mother to follow a more traditional path of sewing and cooking. The story's theme of following one's dreams is universal, so even today's youth can relate to Callie's desire to carve out her place in the world. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate encourages discussion about the role of women during the early 20th century and the advantages of living in today's society.
Jacqueline Kelly does not provide a list of sources for the information included in the book. In the author's note, she mentions that not everything in the book is accurate, so readers must conduct their own research to distinguish fact from fiction. Kelly does include a list of possible discussion questions, which promote critical evaluation of the text.
LIBRARY MEDIA CONNECTION, 2009: “The references to the inventions that come about add charm to the story. Recommended.”
BOOKLIST, 2009: “Many readers will hope for a sequel to this engaging, satisfying first novel.”
*John Newbery Medal, 2010 Honor Book
*Josette Frank Award, 2010 Winner
- The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
- DK Biography: Charles Darwin by David C. King
- Charles Darwin by Kathleen Krull
*Ask students to discuss how the lives of women have changed since 1899. A good website for obtaining pictures and additional information about women's history is the National Women's History Museum (www.nwhm.org).
Posted by Kristen at 10:57 AM