No Ordinary Day, Deborah Ellis' latest book, explores the topic of leprosy in the current day. I read (andre-read) The Breadwinner by Ellis each year with my book club at school - and after five years this book continues to be the favorite by all the clubs. Needless to say, I have high hopes for Ellis' books as she tackles tough and important topics.
No Ordinary Day is set in India, a country famous for its overpopulation. Valli lives a life without much hope, picking up coal each day, living with a family that is not her own. She fears the "monsters" that live on the other side of the train tracks - lepers. Eventually Valli becomes a runaway, fending for herself on the streets. A doctor who finds Valli diagnoses her with leprosy, causing Valli to run away again as she is unable to understand the care she needs and the treatment for her condition.
While I have read a few books about leprosy, all were historical fiction, not set in the present day like No Ordinary Day. Ellis did a great job of explaining the condition, the ways the body is affected, and how it is treated.
I didn't love this book as much as The Breadwinner (which would be hard) but I always appreciate Ellis' ability to shed light on important topics and help middle grade readers aware of issues in our world.