The theory of hummingbirds by Michelle Kadarusman
University of Queensland Press, 2020. ISBN: 9780702262920.
(Age: 8-12) Highly recommended. "Love who you are and love what you do" is a quote from Alba, the main character in this book, that sums up what the author is trying to say with this story. It was written from the personal experiences of the author having the same condition as a child. Alba has always felt different and very self-conscious because of her Club foot (named Cleo) as well as the fact that she has never been able to run. She is best friends with Levi, who also cannot run because of his severe asthma. They hang around in the library together most lunchtimes and are both obsessed with hummingbirds. The book is dotted with wonderful facts about them, one of which is that hummingbirds never walk because their feet are too small; they perch or fly.
Levi and Alba both have big ideas. Alba is certain that when her final cast comes off, she will finally be able to run. So, Alba decides she wants to run in the next cross-country event instead of being the timekeeper. Levi (a Steve Hawking fan) is investigating the idea that the School Librarian has stumbled into a wormhole in her office when she mysteriously disappears each lunch time. The big ideas cause friction between the two friends and they need to reassess their attitudes to realize what they are missing by being stubborn.
A wonderful story that has many other story threads that are wound around the central theme, including her relationship with her single mother, Alba's inability to recognize that Miranda Grey (the best runner in the school) wants to be her friend and the interactions with the wonderful doctor who is treating Alba's club foot. Themes: Friendship, Disability.