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by Candy Gourlay


School Library Journal:

/* Starred Review */ Gr 6–9— Separated for years by immigration restrictions, Bernardo, a Philippine teen, finally gets legal permission to join his mother, a nurse, in England. His younger half sister, Andi, can’t wait to meet her eight-foot-tall brother and share with him her love of basketball. Bernardo’s desire to join his family is tempered by his loyalty to his village where he is compared to a legendary giant revered as a protector from earthquakes. After arriving in England, Bernardo gets medical help for a pituitary tumor and seizures; inadvertently propels his sister into realizing her dream of playing basketball; and reconciles his fears about leaving his village. Bernardo and Andi tell their compelling, heartwarming reunion story in alternating chapters. Bernardo grapples with adjusting to life in England, physical pain and superstition, and guilt when an earthquake destroys his Philippine village. Meanwhile, Andi struggles to fit into a new school and cope with added family responsibilities. Contemporary Tagalong and British vernacular enhance the brother/sister narration and enliven the depiction of cultures. In her first young adult novel, Gourlay offers an appealing blend of diverse characters, emotional conflicts, well-paced action, and an upbeat finale. The challenges facing separated, immigrant families and the universal teen desire for acceptance and respect ring true.—Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC –Gerry Larson (Reviewed March 1, 2011) (School Library Journal, vol 57, issue 3, p161)


  • ALA Notable Children’s Books – Older Readers Category: 2012


6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, 9th Grade, Cultural Differences, Family, Teen