Author: Gretchen Olson
Interest Level: 5th Grade and Up
About This Book: Eleven-year-old Hope leads a seemingly normal life. She is looking forward to sixth grade, and the promise of Outdoor School, an annual camping trip that happens in the spring. She is thrilled when she lands a job at a used clothing store, and manages to attract the attention of a cute boy from her class. But Hope's self-serving mother, Darlene, who frequently flies into rages, calling Hope "stupid" and "hopeless," always manages to overshadow everything good in Hope's life. When Darlene threatens not to sign the permission slips for Outdoor School, Hope decides she can no longer keep silent about what is happening at home. By drawing strength from the example of Anne Frank, whom she is reading about in class, Hope gathers the courage to tell her mother how much the names hurt. The message of this story about the destructive power of verbal abuse is thinly veiled, but Hope is a winsome character whose bravery and determination will resonate with middle-grade readers. ~from Booklist
Why It's On My Bookshelf: Recently, a parent volunteer was working in our school library and approached me holding a new book arrival, "Mrs. D, I think you might want to read this." I flipped it over and started reading the description:
A bully is ruining eleven-year-old Hope's life, and she doesn't know what to do. She can't even go to her mother for help, because the bully is her mother.
We do a lot of talking with students about stopping the verbal bullying of one another. But what if they are being verbally bullied by a parent? Are we talking to them about how to handle that? Are we teaching them to identify that as verbal abuse? Sometimes kids have difficulty thinking of verbal abuse as abuse, especially when it comes from a parent. I've chosen Call Me Hope as my first chapter book review because it's a critical read for kids. There are not enough books addressing the issue of verbal abuse by parents. There may be more 'Hopes' walking the hallways of our schools then we know. Maybe a life could be changed by living through the eyes of Call Me Hope.
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