Parents' Guide to

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

By Debra Bogart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Newbery Honor book about a smart Southern tomboy in 1899.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 7+

Fabulous for all ages

Calpurnia captivated our entire family. It is a coming-of-age story about an 11 year old girl living in Texas at the turn of the century, but it is much more. Every chapter opens with a quote from Darwin which is worthy of discussion all its own, and the stories from her grandfather’s experience in the Civil war gives nuance rarely provided in children’s books. The family dynamic with Calpurnia’s brothers and parents is rich in warmth and hilarity. My nightly reading aloud of this book became the ‘main event’ in our house for a few weeks and we were all a bit sad when it ended. Good thing there are more Calpurnia stories out now!

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
age 8+

Looking forward to reading The Curious Life of Calpurnia Tate!

Just finished reading this book with my 8 year old daughter. She loved it and I loved. It was a really fun read and a wonderful opportunity to talk about life in 1899.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6 ):
Kids say (20 ):

It's easy to see why this coming-of-age story earned a Newbery Honor: Readers will find plenty to like. This is a fun historical novel jam-packed with rich details and events. Readers will get a vivid sense of rural Southern life as the children catch fireflies, eat their pet turkeys for Thanksgiving, and enter the county fair. And in Callie they'll find a smart role model who tries to follow her heart, despite gender expectations. Each chapter begins with a quote from Darwin's The Origin of the Species, which mirrors Callie's own longing for the evolution of the roles of women.

Tweens and teens (and their parents) might find it fun to explore how their childhoods differ from Callie's -- both in terms of the technologies being developed and what expectations society has for boys and girls.

Book Details

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