Author: Katherine Paterson
Title: The Great Gilly Hopkins
Publishing information: Harper Trophy, 1978, Ages 9-12
Number of Pages: 178
Genre:Contemporary Realistic Fiction
Summary Plot: Gilly is a foster child being moved to a new home. She knows what it takes to be taught and she is convinced she won’t be hurt again by this family. Miss. Ellis her social worker takes her to the dirty home of Mrs. Trotter. Trotter is a big woman and has been doing foster care for years. She takes care of little William Ernest Teague and the blind neighbor Mr. Randolph. Gilly more than anything wants to go home to her mother, so she writes her mother to tell her how awful the new home is. When she doesn’t receive a response she decides to take the matter into her own hands. She steals money from Mr. Randolph and Mrs. Trotter. Once caught Gilly comes to realize the love Mrs. Trotter has for all her Foster kids. She comes to love the little family. When things start getting regular for her in her new home, her Grandma shows up to take her home. Because of the letter Gilly sent her mother, convinced Gilly’s mother to contact her own mother to pick up Gilly.
Gilly realizes what love is in this book, and through Mrs. Trotters lessons, learns its ok to love somebody even if it hurts you, or scares you. Gilly is a tough girl because of the jumping around different homes. Mrs. Trotter has had many Foster kids, and even though they leave her she still loves them.
Potential Problems: Gilly is a mean girl, she picks fights. she has the attitude that things are rightfully hers. she starts the book with a narrow mind. The people who are trying to Help Gilly are not put into a good light (this could be because its from her point of view).
Your Reaction to the book: My parents do foster care, and I felt that this book, captured the feeling of the foster kids in a new home very well. I thought that Mrs. Trotter was a great foster parents, she loved the kids, but didn’t let them run her life.
Recommendation: Foster kids, Foster parents, teachers, friends of foster kids, if you have any contact with a foster kids, I think that this book to understand foster kids.