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Groundwood Books

No Ordinary Day

Written by Deborah Ellis

For kids 9 - 12 years old | Published September 10, 2011 | ISBN 9781554981083
JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Asia

Cover of No Ordinary Day

Regular price $9.95 CAD

160 pages | 7.5 in × 5 in
Print Format

Also Available as an Ebook

About this book

No Ordinary Day

Deborah Ellis

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:

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).

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).

Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.

About the Author

Deborah Ellis

Deborah Ellis is a member of the Order of Canada. She has won the University of California’s Middle East Book Award, Sweden’s Peter Pan Prize, the Governor General’s Award, and the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. She is best known for her Breadwinner series, which has been published in twenty-five languages, with $2 million in royalties donated to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and Street Kids International.

Awards and Praise

"...compelling and accessible..." — Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

"Ellis writes with great skill..." — Horn Book Magazine, STARRED REVIEW

"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." — School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

  • Long-listed OLA Tree Awards, 2013
  • Commended South Asia Book Award Honor Book, 2012
  • Commended CCBC Choices Best of Year, 2012
  • Long-listed TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, 2012
  • Commended ALA Notable Children's Books List, 2012
  • Short-listed SYRCA Diamond Willlow Award, 2013
  • Winner Booklist Editors' Choice: Books for Youth, 2012
  • Short-listed Governor General's Award: Children's Text, 2011
  • Short-listed Ruth and Syliva Schwartz Young Adult/Middle Reader Book Award, 2012