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Calli Be Gold

Calli Be Gold

5.0 8
by Michele Weber Hurwitz

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Eleven-year-old Calli Gold is the quiet third child in a family of loud overachievers. In fact, the family motto is Be Gold. Calli's sister is on an ice-skating team, and her brother's a basketball star. Her parents are sure she has a hidden gift for something. They just have to figure out what it is! But Calli has flopped at everything she's tried. She sure doesn't


Eleven-year-old Calli Gold is the quiet third child in a family of loud overachievers. In fact, the family motto is Be Gold. Calli's sister is on an ice-skating team, and her brother's a basketball star. Her parents are sure she has a hidden gift for something. They just have to figure out what it is! But Calli has flopped at everything she's tried. She sure doesn't feel like a Gold.

Until a new person enters her life. Second grader Noah Zullo might seem strange to some people, but Calli can't help liking him, and they become partners in their school's Peer Helper Program. When they create a booth for the Friendship Fair, they fill it with secrets and surprises. And as Calli and Noah work and learn together, they even surprise themselves.

Michele Weber Hurwitz's debut is an endearing and gently humorous story about the true meaning of achievement and the important things an "ordinary" kid has to offer.

Nominated for:
Maud Hart Lovelace Award (Minnesota)
Bluestem Readers’ Choice Award (Illinois)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
It’s hard not to fall in love with 11-year-old Calli Gold, who is forced into the role of quiet observer in her very busy, boisterous, and achievement-oriented family. Her sister is on the ice-skating team, her brother is a basketball star, and the family calendar is filled with everyone’s activities except Calli’s (“Light yellow is the color of my Post-its. There are only two of them on the Calendar.... One is for a dentist appointment and the other is for a haircut”). She is shuttled around between her siblings’ engagements, occasionally forced to try yet another after-school activity that ultimately disappoints both her and her family. Things change, however, when she meets second-grader Noah Zullo, who has a similarly detail-oriented perspective on the world and is in dire need of a friend. The pressures of modern family life come through loud in clear in Hurwitz’s debut novel, which should speak to children who, like Calli, know what it’s like to be a normal, even average, member of a family that values success above all else. Ages 8–12. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Lisa Greenberg
What is in a name? For Calli Gold, problems! This engaging story captures the reader from the first page. Calli's problems within her family are many, but her delightful character illuminates each page. In a family of louds, she is a quiet, eager to live in her own way. But she tries to discover, at her parents' behest, her passion in life. She discards all her parents' suggestions, from sports to improv acting, to discover that being Gold, a requirement of her name, means to be herself, not a stellar student, athlete like brother Alex, or achiever like sister Becca. Instead, she is an observer, whose bad day can be transformed by friends, by beauty, by thinking about things. Her habit of noticing leads her to meet a young boy in a coma-like state under a table at his sister's skating practice. He does not respond to her, but she continues to wonder about him, and then she chooses him in a peer program. He cannot believe any one is interested in him; she believes that she can make him laugh, then smile, then "like" her. Together they build a friendship and then show at a Friendship Fair what true friendship can be. Students struggling with their place in the world or their identity within a family will welcome this book which addresses the struggle, does not blame, and reaffirms the internal drive toward being one's self. They will also relish the ideas that parents can learn from their children! Reviewer: Lisa Greenberg
Kirkus Reviews

Eleven-year-old Calli wishes she could be gold—at anything, because then maybe her helicopter parents might finally be satisfied with her. Unfortunately, she doesn't stack up well against her older brother, Alex, a high-school basketball star, or her older sister, Becca, a figure skater. Her parents focus solely on accomplishments, with her father scouting opposing basketball teams and endlessly coaching Alex and her mother managing the older teens' hectic schedules with a calendar (and a steering wheel) liberally pasted with Post-its. But things are more complex than the frustrated girl understands. Becca and Alex are feeling the pressure, too, and Becca, especially, is starting to balk. Calli's talents clearly lie outside the athletic realm. She meets a second grader, Noah, with many problems, possibly related to Asperger's, and takes him under her wing through a new peer-helper program at school. Empathetically guiding him, she helps ease his difficult way while at the same time trying to live up to her parents' unrealistic expectations. Calli's often-insightful first-person narration provides a thoughtful, child-eyed view look at how adults too often try to find success through their children's achievements. The sometimes over-the-top depiction of stage parents pokes gentle but oh-so-truefun at them, adding to the appeal of this amusing debut. (Fiction. 8-12)

School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Eleven-year-old Calli Gold is a quiet, perceptive child born into a family of overachievers. Her older sister is on an ice-skating team and her brother is a high school basketball star. Calli's parents expect their children to "be Gold" and realize their full potential, but Calli hasn't found her niche yet, and doesn't know if she has or even wants one. She tries to explain this to her parents, but to no avail, as they sign her up for class after class. In school her class has been paired with second graders in a Peer Helper Program and Calli chooses Noah Zullo as her partner—a new student who seems to have Asperger's syndrome. Calli slowly makes progress with Noah, patiently talking and interacting with him until he feels comfortable, and they are able to come up with a project for the classes' joint Friendship Fair. Still under pressure from her parents, Calli eventually triggers a confrontation that forces them to reexamine their expectations for her and her siblings and also their overscheduled life. This is a well-done first novel that clearly presents a young girl struggling to figure out just who she is and how she fits in her family. Readers will sympathize (and possibly identify) with Calli, and Hurwitz also does a good job revealing the adults' motivations.—Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

MICHELE WEBER HURWITZ grew up in a suburb of Chicago and still lives in the same area with her husband and three children. She does not have a huge calendar taped to her kitchen wall but has been known, on occasion, to drive with Post-it notes stuck to the steering wheel. This is her first novel. Visit her at micheleweberhurwitz.com.

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Calli Be Gold 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
LibraryMaryA More than 1 year ago
Eleven-year-old Calli Gold's parents want her to be happy and successful at something. Calli is the youngest of three children named in ABC order. Alex, Becca, Calli. 1-2-3. Older brother Alex is a high school basketball star, middle sister Becca is very busy with her synchronized skate team practices. The whole family seems possessed by the noise, action, and schedules for these events. But Calli hasn't yet found a "thing" that she can do to be a success, to "be gold," as her father likes to say. She really enjoys just walking and thinking, and being herself. Does she have to DO something to BE somebody? It seems that's what her parents expect. They keep signing her up for things, hoping she'll find something. This present-day story takes place in the Gold's home, car, sidelines of sporting events and in the school where Calli is in 5th grade. When Calli meets second grader Noah Zullo he is hiding from the world and having a really hard time adjusting to school. Calli becomes Noah's Peer Helper in the school's program. Her uncertainty about how to help Noah is refreshing and realistic. I think middle grade readers will be able to relate to Calli's quiet, thoughtful, and very likeable character. I liked Calli Be Gold. It would be an especially good summer reading book for kids Calli's age: 5th graders building their confidence and getting ready for middle school.
Robin Bissett More than 1 year ago
Za best!! Love this book!
Claire Kallen More than 1 year ago
Amazing, capturing, great Enjoyed it
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Emma Albin More than 1 year ago
I luv it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good morning sexiness! Logan