Inside Look at ‘The Great Gilly Hopkins’

The film version of Katherine Paterson’s award-winning novel The Great Gilly Hopkins will have a multi-platform release on October 7. The film will be in theaters in key cities across the country, as well as digitally. In 1979, the story about a girl in foster care swept the book awards, winning the National Book Award, Christopher Award, Jane Addams Award, and a Newbery Honor. It ranked 63 in School Library Journal’s 2012 list of the top 100 children’s books of all time.
The film stars Sophie Nelisse as Gilly, Kathy Bates as Gilly’s foster mother, and Julia Stiles as Gilly’s birth mother. Octavia Spencer and Glenn Close also appear.

The book has long been required reading in many school curriculums. Marilyn Toriello, a retired middle school teacher from the Westfield (NJ) district where the book was part of the sixth grade curriculum, recalls that it was well received by students. “More than 30 years after its publication, the characters and situations still ring true with children.” To that end, the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance, an organization to educate, inform, and advocate for young people, literacy, literature, and libraries, has developed an educator’s guide to accompany the film. It has various activities that librarians and teachers can use to help students better understand the themes of the book. These include activities to help spur discussion of what defines a family and suggestions for developing a pamphlet to welcome new students.

Read more at School Library Journal.

Image source School Library Journal.

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