Books about books and friendships past and present are the books I have been reading this month.

The Theory of Hummingbirds

Michelle Kadarusman’s The Theory of Hummingbirds from Pajama Press ($14.95) was a lovely story about Alba and Cleo, the name Alba calls her left foot, which was born twisted the wrong way, and Levi, her best friend and what happens when there is a misunderstanding with words spoken quickly, the desire to fix it, but not knowing how.

In this middle grade book, Alba has had numerous surgeries to correct Cleo and finally, her cast is about to come off from her last surgery making Cleo “normal.”

To celebrate, Alba plans to run in the school’s cross-country race, a race that she usually sits out and watches.

Unfortunately, Levi, who sits out of things because he has asthma, thinks there isn’t a chance she can pull it off and besides, there are more important things to worry about – like how there is a wormhole in the school librarian’s office.

“Sharp words fly faster than hummingbirds. And soon it looks like both friends will be stuck proving their theories on their own.”

Alba and Levi are great characters, each with their own interests, separate from each other, but with enough similarities to bring them together. I love they both like reading and help out at the library.

I like the lessons Alba and Levi learn and the words of wisdom imparted by Alba’s mom, who is a strong, wise woman who shows compassion and care to everyone she meets. I love that Alba and her mom have a collection of animals adopted from the residents in the long-term care home where she works. The entire long-term care home and its residents is such a great addition to the story.

The book shows Alba, Levi and the reader the importance of friendship and learning how to say sorry.

Sisters of the Wolf

Patricia Miller-Schroeder’s Sisters of the Wolf is another book about friendship and looking past differences to find similarities. The friends in this young adult book, however, are based in an ice age landscape where the “climate is changing, game is disappearing and two peoples…compete for survival in the savage world.”

In the book we meet Keena who comes from a powerful band of Neanderthals and Shinoni, daughter of a Cro-Magnon shaman. Keena’s father sends her with her mother’s brother, Haken, a ruthless hunter, after he kills a lion tormenting their people. Shinoni’s tribe is killed by Haken and his followers and the girls, who neither like nor trust each other, come together to escape him. Working together they journey across the advancing glaciers to outrun the hunter and his men.

“As Shinoni and Keena work to overcome disaster at every turn, they are joined by Tewa, a powerful she-wolf who becomes their guardian and spirit guide.”

Judith Silverthorne, the award-winning author of Convictions, said “The strong girl-power in this vibrant story about friendship and trust across racial and species boundaries is made even more compelling by the prehistoric setting.”

Girl power indeed. Both Shinoni and Keena are strong characters who do what needs to be done to survive. While they don’t like each other at the beginning, they relied on each other to help when needed. While it was clear Shinoni is a more advanced human (Cro-Magnon’s are called early modern humans) – and one the reader could relate more too – Keena’s willingness to try, to learn and change made her an enjoyable character to read.

Sisters of the Wolf is from Dundurn Press and retails for $14.99. Read my interview with Miller-Schroeder.

The Undercover Book List

I always love books about people who love books. In The Undercover Book List, Sienna, who is moving to the other side of the country, decides to find her Jane a best friend by leaving a hidden message in a library book with the goal of starting a secret book club.

It is Tyson who finds the note and what starts off as a joke – Tyson doesn’t read and has a reputation for being a troublemaker – turns into one of the best things that happens to him.

“Tyson finds himself pulled into a secret book club where being hidden may be the first step to being truly seen.”

I really liked this book and it’s on my to-be-read-to-my-son pile. And while I liked Jane, the main character in the book, it was Tyson I liked the most and who I saw the most change in. My heart actually broke for Tyson a couple of times. Not only do his teachers believe the worse, so too, do his parents who laughed when Tyson said he read a book; they didn’t believe him. No wonder the kid can’t be bothered. I loved how hard Tyson tried and how it changed him in the end.

The Undercover Book List is from Colleen Nelson and Pajama Press and retails for $21.95.

These books were provided by Dundurn Press and Pajama Press for an honest review. The opinions are my own.