by Jacqueline Kelly. (Holt, 2009. ISBN 9780805088410. Order Info.) Novel. 340 pages. Grades 4-8.
While her family is napping through the heat of Texas afternoons in the summer of 1899 Calpurnia sneaks off to the river to cool off and to escape the confines of an eleven year old girl's responsibilities in order to wonder at the tiny details of the riverside.
Calpurnia has six brothers and the full weight of taking on female roles in her family descends on her complete with corsets and needlework.
When her reclusive, naturalist, grandfather discovers her love of the natural world he takes a special interest in her and introduces her to Darwin's The Origin of Species where her intellectual curiosity is rewarded with knowledge of the workings of the life around her.
Calpurnia becomes obsessed with discovering a new species and she and her grandfather take on the challenge while thwarted on all fronts by the gender roles of the turn of the century.
Calpurnia, while full of spunk, is more than just the stereotype of a spunky heroine. She is a girl of her time while still frustrated by her time. Watching the inner musings of her singular mind is quite beguiling.
This is Jacqueline Kelly's first novel and she's an author to watch. This book won a Newbery Honor Award.
Following these links will take you off our web site. You will have to use your back button to return or, bookmark our site now so you can return anytime.
Subscribe to our Free Email Newsletter.
In Times Past
by Carol Hurst and Rebecca Otis
Integrating US History with Literature in Grades 3-8.
Enliven your US History curriculum!
Teach US History using great kids books.