Andi is a very petite 13 year old and has just found out that she won’t be able to play point guard on her school basketball team, because her family is moving. The move from their small apartment to a larger home will hopefully allow her older brother, Bernardo, to join their family at last. But there is no basketball team for girls at Andi’s new school and when her brother does arrive, he is a giant! Bernado feels very guilty leaving the Philippines and his small village behind. Over the years, he has become an almost folk hero for his village, where he is credited with stopping the daily earthquakes. Now he and Andi have to figure out how to be siblings to one another, what family means, and how basketball plays into it all. This is a funny, touching and heartwarming story that has a great depth to it as well.
The novel is written from both Bernardo’s and Andi’s points of view, allowing readers to relate to both protagonists. This also underscores their different attitudes about family and their relationship with one another. The book weaves magic into a realistic story in a way that will have readers convinced that there is magic at work, yet able to also think it may simply be coincidence. It is very subtly crafted.
This book deals with deep subjects of culture, family and belonging. At the same time, it remains upbeat and celebratory of our diversity. This is a book that would work well as a classroom discussion thanks to its natural depth and its positive attitudes. There is plenty here to discuss that is timely and relevant to any community.
Highly recommended, this is a book that will put a smile on your face and warm your heart. Appropriate for ages 10-13.
Reviewed from copy received from Random House.
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