Children's Books

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APRIL 1, 2010
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
This is a wonderfully sweet story set in Texas in 1899. Eleven-year-old Calpurnia Tate is not interested in sewing, knitting, cooking, or playing piano. But she is interested in science. After her oldest of six brothers gives her a notebook, Calpurnia writes down observations and questions she has. Why the big yellow grasshoppers were living while all the small green grasshoppers seemed to be dying, is the first question she considers and the one that leads to a special bond with her grandfather. No one else dared to enter his laboratory. But Grandaddy seems pleased with her interest and begins to fill in the gaping holes that are becoming obvious in her education. Things like Darwins' theories about evolution. Against a backdrop of the arrival of the new century, including the likes of seeing an automobile, and the location of a telephone in their town, Calpurnia's joint discovery of a new plant species with her grandfather looms large as she questions her role in society. This book recently was a recipient of a 2010 Newbery Honor Award. Highly recommended for readers in grades 4 and up. This was hard to put down.

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