In this witty historical fiction middle grade novel set at the turn of the century, an 11-year-old girl explores the natural world, learns about science and animals, and grows up. A Newbery Honor Book.
“The most delightful historical novel for tweens in many, many years. . . . Callie's struggles to find a place in the world where she'll be encouraged in the gawky joys of intellectual curiosity are fresh, funny, and poignant today.” —The New Yorker
Calpurnia Virginia Tate is eleven years old in 1899 when she wonders why the yellow grasshoppers in her Texas backyard are so much bigger than the green ones. With a little help from her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist, she figures out that the green grasshoppers are easier to see against the yellow grass, so they are eaten before they can get any larger. As Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century.
Author Jacqueline Kelly deftly brings Callie and her family to life, capturing a year of growing up with unique sensitivity and a wry wit.
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly was a 2010 Newbery Honor Book and the winner of the 2010 Bank Street - Josette Frank Award. This title has Common Core connections. This is perfect for young readers who like historical fiction, STEM topics, animal stories, and feminist middle grade novels.
Don't miss the sequel!
The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate
To follow Calpurnia Tate on more adventures, read the Calpurnia Tate, Girl Vet chapter book series:
Who Gives a Hoot?
A Prickly Problem
Life at the turn of the century is not easy for a girl who loves books and science. Kelly's first novel presents spirited heroine Calpurnia (Callie) Virginia Tate, a middle child with six brothers, growing up in the isolation of Fentress, Tex., in 1899. To her family's dismay, Callie is stubborn, independent and not interested in darning socks or perfecting her baking skills like a lady. "I would live my life in a tower of books," she thinks to herself. She spends most of her time with Harry, "the one brother who could deny me nothing," slowly befriending her Granddaddy, a mysterious naturalist who studies everything from pecan distillation to microscopic river bugs. Together they dream up experiments and seek answers to backyard phenomena, discovering something new about the invisible world each day. Callie follows her passion for knowledge, coming to realize her family "had their own lives. And now I have mine." Callie's transformation into an adult and her unexpected bravery make for an exciting and enjoyable read. Kelly's rich images and setting, believable relationships and a touch of magic take this story far. Ages 10 up.
This book is Sooo funny it gets really funny when she is drunk 🍻
I LOVE THIS BOOK!!
This is my favorite book of all time!!!!
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
I liked this book because it was very educational. I think this book would appeal to girls 10 and older.