The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
This is the best middle reader historical fiction that I’ve read in
years. As a girl growing up at the end of the 19th century, Callie
doesn’t feel like she has any control over the path her life will take; the
only girl in a house full of brothers, she is all too aware that her future is
full of cooking, cleaning, sewing, and raising children. But what Callie
loves more than anything is observing nature and conducting scientific
experiments. Fortunately, Callie finds an ideal companion and mentor who
shares and nurtures her interest in science- her grandfather.
Each chapter begins with a quote from Darwin’s Origin of Species, mirroring Callie’s own “evolution” and the
awakening of her ambition. The characters are smart and endearing, and I
love Callie’s touching relationship with her grandfather. This Newbery
Honor book is a must-read if you missed it the first time around.