FICTION

The Theory of Hummingbirds

160p. Pajama Press. Oct. 2017. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9781772780277. pap. $9.95. ISBN 9781772780352.
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Gr 5–8—Alba has talipes equinovarus, also known as a "club foot," and she calls her foot "Cleo." Alba's best friend, Levi, has his own physical challenges managing his asthma. The two form a tight bond, sharing time inside the school library during recess. Levi has an interest in science and science fiction, and thinks the librarian may have discovered a wormhole in her office. Alba has never met her dad and lives with her mom, a therapist, and a menagerie of animals her mother adopted from guests at the senior home where she works. Alba wonders if her newest surgery will allow her to prove herself by participating in a cross-country race. Fascinating hummingbird facts flit throughout this contemporary realistic story and a glossary helps readers know more about the birds. An author's note states that Kadarusman, like Alba, was born with talipes equinovarus. Kadarusman's writing has a light touch, and the story will resonate with a wide audience.
VERDICT Readers learn that a group of hummingbirds is called a "charm"—and are sure to be charmed by this heartfelt tale.

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