Calli Be Gold

Gr 4—6—Eleven-year-old Calli Gold is a quiet, perceptive child born into a family of overachievers. Her older sister is on an ice-skating team and her brother is a high school basketball star. Calli's parents expect their children to "be Gold" and realize their full potential, but Calli hasn't found her niche yet, and doesn't know if she has or even wants one. She tries to explain this to her parents, but to no avail, as they sign her up for class after class. In school her class has been paired with second graders in a Peer Helper Program and Calli chooses Noah Zullo as her partner—a new student who seems to have Asperger's syndrome. Calli slowly makes progress with Noah, patiently talking and interacting with him until he feels comfortable, and they are able to come up with a project for the classes' joint Friendship Fair. Still under pressure from her parents, Calli eventually triggers a confrontation that forces them to reexamine their expectations for her and her siblings and also their overscheduled life. This is a well-done first novel that clearly presents a young girl struggling to figure out just who she is and how she fits in her family. Readers will sympathize (and possibly identify) with Calli, and Hurwitz also does a good job revealing the adults' motivations.—Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA
Fifth-grader Calli is the youngest of three siblings in the super-driven, hyper-talented, overscheduled Gold clan. The harder her parents push her to find a special talent, the more alone Calli feels--until she meets a reticent second-grader and discovers her true ability. Affable Calli is a sea of calm--and common sense--in this satisfying story about family pressures and self-actualization.

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