Gretchen Olson, children’s author, is president of the board of directors of the Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project®(Hands Project). Her newly released middle-grade novel, “Call Me Hope,” addresses the pain of verbal abuse from the point of view of Hope Elliot, an 11-year-old girl who is devastated by her mother’s hurtful words. Hope finds strength in her own survival techniques and from two zany women who own a resale clothing store. As the story progresses, Hope gains the courage to confront her mother’s abuse and is thrilled when her mother takes the Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Pledge. Hope’s school participates in the Hands Pledge daily and reinforces the message with ongoing annual activities.

Gretchen’s editor, Alvina Ling, and publishing house, Little, Brown & Co., have also embraced the Hands Project, placing the Hands logo on the book’s back cover, the inside flap, the quote page (along with the Hands Pledge). And our founder/executive director’s own words of praise grace the back cover. The entire cover is also in shades of purple and red, which are symbolic colors used in the Hands Project logo.

Gretchen is generously donating a portion of the proceeds from the sales of “Call Me Hope” to the Hands Project.

“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 used clothing store, and manages to attract the attention 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, who she is reading about in class, Hope gathers the courage to tell her mother how much the names hurt. …Hope is a winsome character whose bavery and determination will resonate with middle-grade readers.”

Booklist (3/15/07)

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