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After All, You’re Callie Boone book cover

After All, You’re Callie Boone, by Winnie Mack;
Feiwel and Friends: New York, 2010; $16.99

“Oh fish sticks, tartar, and a side of fries!” Being called a loser by your former best friend, having to live together with stinking ferrets, and doing one extremely public belly flop is definitely not Callie Boone’s idea of a fun summer. Then enters Hoot, the new kid from next door, who turns Callie’s world upside down and right side up and teaches her the true meaning of friendship.

Callie loves the water. It’s the only place where she feels like she can get away from everything and everyone at once. But that all changes when Callie gets banned permanently from the pool for doing a dive from the high diving board (which is strictly forbidden to children). Actually… it wasn’t a dive—it was a belly flop. But it wasn’t her fault… or at least that’s what Callie thinks. The other girls she was swimming with made her do it! But deep down, Callie knows that she did the dive because she wanted to wow the older girls. She wanted to come out of th water to the sound of thundering applause. Instead, she came up to hear the sound of roaring laughter.

In addition to being humiliated in front of a gigantic crowd of people, Callie is friendless. Ever since first grade, Callie Boone and Amy Higgins were the best of friends, but just before the end of the school year, Amy started acting weird. It began when Amy no longer wanted to trade stickers with the other kids. Next, Callie couldn’t find Amy to sit with her in the cafeteria. She realized that Amy had gone home with Samantha McAllister to work on an assignment. Although Callie had the same assignment, she hadn’t been invited along. Why? Then on the last day of school, Callie overheard Amy and Samantha talking... about her! Callie feels upset and doesn’t understand why Amy traded her in for snotty old Samantha McAllister. Is it because Callie likes riding her bike better than painting her fingernails?

During this whole scenario of events, a new family moves into the house next door. Callie has been crossing her fingers hoping a girl her age will move in who, for some unknown reason, will want to be best friends with her. But Callie’s hopes are dashed when a boy with a large amount of freckles turns up on the other side of the hedge. When Hoot asks her to show him around the neighborhood, Callie is flabbergasted. She can’t be seen showing a boy around town. People might talk and then no one would want to be her friend. Still, Callie and Hoot end up becoming good buddies.

In this sense I'm a little like Callie. I also have a good friend who is a boy. We’ve known each other since we were born and are still close. When I was in third grade, my mom decided to pull me out of school and home-school me. When I first started, I didn’t know anyone else and—like Callie—was sometimes very lonely. But all the kids were friendly and nice to me and integrated me into their group. Now I know them well and we have lots of fun together. Through home-schooling I have met many different kinds of people and I’m happy about that. I think friendship is special and it’s important to have friends of different ages, races, genders, and personalities.

When things have finally started to look up for Callie, real disaster strikes and she feels like she’s on a high diving board with no way down. But with lots of effort and teamwork, she might pull through. After all, she’s Callie Boone!

After All, You’re Callie Boone Jamila Kern
Jamila Kern, 10
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts