Calli Be Gold

Observant but quiet Calli Gold doesn’t fit in with her loud, intense family. Calli’s dad thinks his kids have to be the best at their activities. His motto is that everyone in the Gold family needs to be “golden” and that means winning medals and placing first.

Calli’s older brother Alex is a basketball star and her older sister Becca is on a synchronized skating team, but 11-year old Calli thinks she’s a failure because she’s flopped at everything she’s tried. Calli’s not so sure she wants to be a star. She feels content with who she is—an average fifth grade kid who likes to watch the world around her and think about things.

Calli’s dad signs her up for an acting class, hoping she’ll find her talent at last. But when Calli starts working with second grader Noah Zullo through a peer helper program at school, she begins to discover what her true passion might be, and it has nothing to do with acting, or for that matter, kicking a soccer ball or doing pliés or flipping on a balance beam.

In her own quiet way, Calli prompts her endearing but misguided family to reconsider what achievement really means. A heartwarming story about standing up for who you are and finding your own rightful place within a family, this novel applauds the joy in small moments and makes us think about what’s most important.

It’s hard not to fall in love with 11-year old Calli Gold. The pressures of modern family life come through loud and clear in Hurwitz’s debut novel.
Publishers Weekly
This is a well-done first novel. Readers will sympathize with Calli, and Hurwitz does a good job revealing the adults’ motivations.
School Library Journal
[In] Hurwitz’s engaging debut, [she] nicely conveys the sense that it’s okay for reserved Calli to be loud sometimes, and that families can be enriched by their younger members’ ideas.
Calli’s often-insightful narration provides a thoughtful look at how adults too often try to find success through their children’s achievements. The depiction of stage parents pokes gentle but oh-so-true fun at them, adding to the appeal of this amusing debut.
Kirkus Reviews
Hurwitz offers a sympathetic and perceptive portrait not just of Calli but of the whole Gold family, skillfully enriching the picture. Kids who are feeling overshadowed will applaud Calli’s finding herself and achieving a new role in her family.
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books


Nominated for Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award, Minnesota Youth Reading Awards 2016
Nominated for Illinois Bluestem Award 2014
Bank Street College of Education Best Books of the Year listing 2012, starred for outstanding merit


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