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No Ordinary Day
Cover of No Ordinary Day
No Ordinary Day
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Shortlisted for the SYRCA 2013 Diamond Willow Award, selected as an American Library Association 2012 Notable Children's Book, a Booklist Editors' Choice, nominated for the OLA Golden Oak Tree Award,...
Shortlisted for the SYRCA 2013 Diamond Willow Award, selected as an American Library Association 2012 Notable Children's Book, a Booklist Editors' Choice, nominated for the OLA Golden Oak Tree Award,...
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Description-

  • Shortlisted for the SYRCA 2013 Diamond Willow Award, selected as an American Library Association 2012 Notable Children's Book, a Booklist Editors' Choice, nominated for the OLA Golden Oak Tree Award, and a finalist for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards: Young Adult/Middle Reader Award, the Governor General's Literary Awards: Children's Text and the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award

    There's not much that upsets young Valli. Even though her days are spent picking coal and fighting with her cousins, life in the coal town of Jharia, India, is the only life she knows. The only sight that fills her with terror are the monsters who live on the other side of the train tracks — the lepers. Valli and the other children throw stones at them. No matter how hard her life is, she tells herself, at least she will never be one of them.

    Then she discovers that she is not living with family after all, that her "aunt" was a stranger who was paid money to take Valli off her own family's hands. She decides to leave Jharia ... and so begins a series of adventures that takes her to Kolkata, the city of the gods.

    It's not so bad. Valli finds that she really doesn't need much to live. She can "borrow" the things she needs and then pass them on to people who need them more than she does. It helps that though her bare feet become raw wounds as she makes her way around the city, she somehow feels no pain. But when she happens to meet a doctor on the ghats by the river, Valli learns that she has leprosy. Despite being given a chance to receive medical care, she cannot bear the thought that she is one of those monsters she has always feared, and she flees, to an uncertain life on the street.

    Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.3
    Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.3
    Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.6
    Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • DEBORAH ELLIS is the author of the international bestseller The Breadwinner, which has been published in thirty languages. She has won the Governor General's Award, the Middle East Book Award, the Peter Pan Prize, the Jane Addams Children's Book Award and the Vicky Metcalf Award. A recipient of the Order of Canada, Deborah has donated more than $2 million in royalties to organizations such as Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, Mental Health Without Borders, the UNHCR and the Children in Crisis fund of IBBY. She lives in Simcoe, Ontario.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 11, 2011
    Ellis (the Breadwinner trilogy) again brings an individual humanity to newspaper headlines. Giving voice to an orphan girl living on the streets of Calcutta unaware of her leprosy, Ellis turns a potentially unpalatable subject into a fresh and compelling story that focuses on Valli's spirited personality and sly cleverness. Valli runs away from her poverty-stricken home in the coal town of Jharia, India, when she learns that she is not a true member of the family she lives with. In Calcutta, she learns to survive by "borrowing" what she needs, be it blankets, money, or food. Quick, intelligent, and fearless, Valli is content living day to day until she meets a doctor who takes her for treatment to the hospital, where she finds herself among the "monsters" she feared most in Jharia—leprosy-stricken, disfigured people. Refusing to acknowledge she is one of them, she escapes back to the streets, until she finally understands she has the potential to lead a better life. Ellis's straightforward language and uncompromising depictions of Valli's unimaginably harsh and gritty world combine with believable character development to create a strong and accessible novel. Ages 9–12.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from September 1, 2011

    Gr 3-6-Valli, about 10, lives in the poverty-stricken town of Jharia, India, where she is a coal picker. When she makes a shocking discovery about her family, she runs away and, after a series of harrowing events, reaches the bustling city of Kolkata. Valli survives on the street by stealing and begging. With no plan, no support system, and failing health, she begins to lose hope. While begging for change one day, she is befriended by a kind doctor who recognizes Valli's symptoms of leprosy. The child is terrified with this diagnosis as back home the village children had thrown stones at people with this disease, calling them "monsters." With the help of the doctor and other leprosy patients, Valli gets treatment and education, learns tolerance for people different from herself, and simultaneously realizes her own self-worth. Although many important lessons are presented in this even-paced, clearly written story, it is never heavy-handed or didactic. Valli is a well-developed, realistic, and engaging narrator. While American readers may not all relate to her ordeals, they will recognize common emotions for people their age. The story highlights not only the overcoming of adversity, but also the importance of education and literacy. It also brings to light the issue of leprosy, which is misunderstood. An important, inspiring tale.-Rita Meade, Brooklyn Public Library, NY

    Copyright 2011 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    August 15, 2011

    Homeless orphan Valli is always friendly, if amoral.

    When Valli can, she sneaks glimpses at Bollywood dances, learns a little reading or throws rocks at the monsters—people without faces or fingers—who live on the other side of the tracks. Most of the time, however, she picks up coal. Sick of beatings, hunger and coal, Valli hides on a passing truck, fleeing her life of poverty for a life of... well, more poverty, but also more excitement. On the Kolkata streets she lives day-to-day. Constantly starving, she contentedly begs and steals; when she has something she doesn't need (a bit of extra soap, a blanket), she passes it on to somebody else. When Valli tries her luck begging from kind Dr. Indra, she learns she has leprosy, just like the faceless monsters back home. It takes some time, but Valli learns to accept help from the women who offer it to her: Dr. Indra, who works at the leprosy hospital; Neeta, a sales manager with leprosy who teaches Valli how to make pie charts; Laxmi, a teenager who's been burned. An emphasis on Christmas falls discordant, but Valli's journey from stubborn solitude to member of a community is richly fulfilling.

    A true-to-life portrait of a young girl's cheerful selfishness in this surprisingly optimistic novel of unrelenting poverty. (Fiction. 9-11)

    (COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • Booklist

    Starred review from November 1, 2011
    Grades 4-7 *Starred Review* Valli, an orphan living in Jharia, India, spends her days picking up coal, fighting with cousins, and avoiding the monsters (lepers, actually) who live on the other side of the tracks. When she learns her family are not true blood relatives, she runs away to Kolkata, where she survives by borrowing what she needs, using it for a while, and then passing it on to someone else. Finally, she meets Dr. Indra, who recognizes that Valli, too, suffers from leprosy and helps the child to secure treatment and hope for a better future. What keeps this story from becoming maudlin is Valli's positive outlook. Quick, intelligent, and fearless, she isn't above begging to ensure her survival, but rarely does she play the victim card. Details about leprosy (causes, symptoms, treatment, prognosis) are carefully woven into the story and never feel forced or didactic. While Valli's situation will seem alien to most young North Americans, this compelling and accessible novel will enlighten, spark discussion, and prompt readers to try other Ellis titles, in particular, the Breadwinner trilogy.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2011, American Library Association.)

  • CM Magazine ...solid and worthy of attention by both its intended audience and adults alike...Ellis continues to write what needs to be read...Recommended.

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