No Ordinary DayBook - 2011
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SPL_Kids thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 13
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12-year-old Valli, who lives in India, does not attend school. Though she longs to go to school and learn, her family has no money to spare for school fees. Instead, Valli works. All day – and every day – she picks up pieces of coal, left behind by workers at the coal mine.
When Valli discovers that the people with whom she lives aren’t her real family after all, she decides to leave the coal town. After hitching a ride to Kolkata, she lives on the streets. Valli soon learns to be quite self-sufficient, cadging and “borrowing” the things that she needs, and passing them on to others when she is finished. She is quite proud of her self-sufficiency and independence.
For some time, Valli, who doesn’t own shoes, has noticed that her feet never feel pain or the cold. One day she happens to meet a doctor who tells her why. The nerves in her feet have been destroyed by leprosy, which will worsen unless she is treated for a long time in a hospital. The doctor knows of a special hospital where the treatment will be free.
However, Valli must first learn to trust the doctor. She must admit that she isn’t as self-sufficient as she would like to be, that it is okay to accept help when you truly need it… and that there is no shame in having a disease such as leprosy.
Author Deborah Ellis, from Simcoe, Ontario, has won numerous Canadian awards for her stories of children around the world and the dangers and conditions under which they live. She is best known for her Breadwinner trilogy of stories about children living under Taliban rule in Afghanistan.
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