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Parent reviews for The Great Gilly Hopkins

Common Sense says

Brash foster-kid tale a great choice for reluctant readers.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 18 reviews
Parent of a 4, 6, and 9 year old Written byMary M. May 17, 2017

Great read

My 9 year old enjoyed this book except she felt the end didn't satisfy. We read it together and both laughed and felt heartache. I am use to books ending without closure but my daughter wants a more complete ending. The movie gives this.
Parent of a 12 year old Written bynancycaregiver September 12, 2010

Great for tweens and older children.

I read this book with my 12 year old son. Yes, the child in the story uses some mild profanity and she is prejudice against African-Americans in the beginning. She is also a bully in the beginning. My son understood that the girl had led a very rough life and she had become hardened because of all the foster homes she had been in. She ends up having a lot of respect for the African-American teacher she tried to annoy and a deep love for the African-American blind neighbor. She is a very bright girl and could be a good role model except for the bully issue. She ends up doing the right thing in the end. My son got the story and seemed to really enjoy it.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Adult Written byroosevelt school November 11, 2009

Not for everyone

Mr. Kurz Per. 1 The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson is a realistic fiction novel that begins in Thompson Park, Maryland in the 1970s. Gilly, the main character, is a smart but very violent girl who is motivated to find her mother. She has been moving around as a foster child for eight years and tries to sabotage every relationship she has. Trotter, Gilly’s new foster mother, is a loving, caring person, but Gilly does not want to have anything to do with her. Two of her other disappointments at Trotter’s are her new foster brother, W.E., who she thinks may be retarded, and her blind neighbor, Mr. Randolph, who happens to be black. Slowly, throughout the book, Gilly’s feelings begin to change. After receiving a letter from Courtney, Gilly writes a letter back to her mother with false information exaggerating how unhappy she was at Trotter’s. She hopes this letter will re-unite her with Courtney; however, it drastically changes Gilly’s life in a way that she didn’t intend. The author shows how hard the life of a foster parent or child can be, being that she herself was only able to handle that responsibility for a few months. Some of the lessons that Paterson teaches through Gilly’s experiences are that life does not always have a happy ending, and people should find something positive in their lives and make the best of it. This book is realistic in that it includes real-life problems and believable characters. Clever similes and metaphors are placed throughout the story, while characterization is incorporated to keep readers gripped. Paterson effectively changes the mood and pace at which the story is read, and breaks up narration with dialogue. The writing leads readers to believe the story will go one way, when suddenly the plot takes a sudden turn. Every time a reader comes to the end of a chapter, Paterson makes them want to read more with clever foreshadowing. This book best fits a young, mature reader, but it is recommended to people who enjoy emotional, unique books. Foster children who are disappointed with their lives, could learn to make the best of it, while foster parents will be able to relate to Trotter as they probably had to deal with kids like Gilly.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Parent of a 17 year old Written bylove2 September 28, 2009

good but bad rolemodels.

i thought this book was awsome! but i have to admit Gilly isnt a good role model she steals things, swaers, and is someone that nobody wants to be around.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byJen404 April 9, 2008

Great for discussion with adults, but know your kid

The main character of this book is Gilly a foster child who has been moved around a lot. She struggles with fears, anger, and feeling alone and unloved. She lies, steals, bullies other kids, is prejudiced, and uses profanity. She learns to eventually trust and love her foster family before being removed to live with her grandmother. At the end of the book, she finally meets her biological mother only to find that her mother does not love her and is not interested in living with her. This is a great book for discussion but it may be disturbing for kids reading it on their own. Ages 13+ should be fine reading this book. Ages 11-12 may or may not be okay reading it. Kids 10 and under will probably be disturbed by the themes unless they have a troubled past. My 10 year old was uncomfortable after she read it on her own. She did feel better after we discussed it. I wish we had read it together and discussed it throughout.