Today, I finished yet another of the nominated books for the 2012-13 South Carolina Children’s Book Award. After All, You’re Callie Boone by Winnie Mack was a quick read–ideal for summer–that really resonated with me. I identified with the character of Callie, and I think that a lot of other young girls–and even some older readers–will as well.
Callie Boone’s summer is not off to a good start. Her best friend since the first grade has, all of a sudden, decided that she’s too cool to hang out with Callie. Her uncle has moved twelve ferrets into the family garage. At the community pool–one of Callie’s favorite places in the world–she embarrasses herself in such a public and humiliating way that she can never go back there again. Her family is crazy, she has no friends, and she’s the laughing stock of her neighborhood. Will things ever get better?
Well, yes. She’s still got her diving practices with her dad, and Callie is nurturing a dream of becoming a champion diver–maybe even competing in the Olympics someday. Despite her public humiliation at the pool, Callie is determined to be the best diver she can be–even though she’s not even twelve.
Something else is going okay in Callie’s life. A new kid has moved in next door. He’s a little odd–his name is Hoot–but he may turn out to be the best friend Callie has ever had…if she can convince everyone that he is most definitely not her boyfriend.
As her summer progresses, Callie learns a bit about what it means to be a good daughter, a good friend, and a good person. Everything doesn’t always go well, but Callie discovers who she can truly lean on when things don’t go the way she plans. She starts paying more attention to those around her instead of focusing on herself all the time. But what will happen when tragedy strikes and Callie is forced to really trust in those around her, especially her crazy family and her friend Hoot? Will she revert back to her old ways, or will she step up and be the girl everyone thinks she can be? Find out if Callie can make it through when you read After All, You’re Callie Boone by Winnie Mack!
Even though it didn’t take me very long to read this book, I was engrossed from the first page. Callie’s voice is so relatable that I almost thought I was reading about my own childhood. Yes, my family can be a bit crazy. (Anyone at today’s family reunion can probably testify to that.) But we stand by each other through thick and thin. That’s something that Callie and I definitely have in common.
One other thing that I identified with was Callie’s relationship with her former best friend. The same kind of situation occurred in my own life when I transitioned from elementary to middle school. All of a sudden, I wasn’t cool enough to hang around with the girls I had grown up with. I didn’t get invited to birthday parties or sleepovers. It was painful. (Obviously, I still have a few issues with this.) I didn’t really care about makeup, boys, shopping, or any of the supposed “girly” things that some of my former friends thought was all-so-important as we moved to middle school. (And to be perfectly honest, I still don’t care about those things very much.) I think a lot of young girls probably feel the same way, so Callie definitely gives those girls a character to identify with.
After All, You’re Callie Boone is a short, oftentimes fun, read, but I will warn you that it does pack an emotional punch. Toward the end, I had to break out the tissues. I kind of love it when that happens. After all, tears are a sign that a book has engaged your mind and your heart and truly made you feel something. That’s true for me anyway.
If you’d like more information about this book or author Winnie Mack, I encourage you to visit http://www.winnie-mack.com/. Enjoy!