The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

By 1899, we had learned to tame the darkness but not the Texas heat.

Feminism in shape of an eleven-year-old girl in the nineteenth century. Calpurnia is a smart little girl who doesn’t understand why “because it has always been like this” is a valid excuse for pushing gender restrictions on anyone.

Because Calpurnia Virginia (Callie Vee) is on the edge of womanhood and it’s time for her to learn different things than her brothers, so she can one day not that far away, get herself a nice husband. But Callie is more interested in the strange things her grandfather keeps up with, like nature and the origin of species. Why care about a straight seam when you could discover a completely new plant species?

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate comes from the YA/children section of the library, but Jacqueline Kelly manages to handle these questions (Can you be religious while believing in evolution? Why can’t women work and be married?) in a sane, realistic manner. She combines this with a world-building of an end of century Texas that makes you smell cornbread and sweat straw.

And you’re witness to an evolution.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, Jacqueline Kelly, Henry Holt and Company 2009

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