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Parrot Helps Child Fighting Cancer in New Young Readers Novel

Jane Kelley

The young heroine of writer Jane Kelley’s latest novel is facing tough circumstances.

Eleven-year-old Alya is fighting leukemia.  But she’s been weakened so much that its hard for her to exert any effort to do anything. 

But a chance meeting with a precocious parrot shakes up her world - and it should be said, the parrot’s, as well.  The book is called The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya.

Kelley says she was inspired by her own encounter with a parrot.

"He wasn’t bred to be particularly brilliant, but it turned out that he was because he could identify shapes and colors and concepts like numbers," she says.

The Milwaukee area native is also the author of two other novels for young readers.