Archive for the ‘Newbury Award’ Category
In the baking hot Texas summer of 1899, Harry, the oldest of eleven-year-old Calpurnia Tate’s six brothers gives her a notebook in which she begins to write down her observations of nature. She also longs to get her hands on Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species, but the local librarian says it’s barely fit for adults, let alone a child. Calpurnia’s mother is busy riding herd over her seven active offspring and running the house, while her father oversees their cotton acreage and the mill. Neither parent nor all the brothers seem to have a scientific bone in their bodies. In the Tate family, Darwin’s note that “the child often reverts in certain characters to its grandfather’ seems on the money: Calpurnia’s granddaddy is a rather remote man who retired from commerce years ago to take up the pursuits of a naturalist. One day he comes across his granddaughter making her notes, and they begin exploring their mutual interest together. The old man mentors her, even opening one of his locked cabinets to haul out his copy of the book she so wants to read.