Starred Review. Grade 3-5–In alternating chapters, two fourth graders tell about the development of their unlikely friendship. Drita is a refugee from Kosova who, along with her family, is finally joining her father in New York City. In a cramped apartment and without connections or language skills, her mother sinks into a serious depression, while the girl struggles to find her place in school. Maxie, a precocious African-American child who lives with her supportive grandmother and her widowed father, struggles, too; shes in constant trouble in school for her comedic efforts since her mother died. When she sees a news report on Kosova, she decides to do a project on Albanian refugees, focusing on Drita. The girls find common ground, and when Maxies grandmother, a retired nurse, sweeps in to rescue Dritas mother, the families forge a bond as well. Maxies attempts to help Drita understand American ways are touching, and Dritas understanding of her friends loss is a testament to the emotional intelligence of children. Dritas story resonates with the bravery of an individual determined to become part of her new country while retaining the love of her homeland. Maxie has the cocky voice of a girl who is trying too hard to disguise her pain. More a tale of the power of love than of refugees, this first novel is imbued with the language and customs of Kosova as well as the efforts of a family attempting to regain balance. Read it aloud to groups and let the conversations begin.–Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, FL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Gr. 3-5. Drita, 10, is a Muslim Albanian refugee from Kosovo and a stranger in her fourth-grade classroom in Brooklyn, New York. Maxie is African American, one of the in-crowd that wants nothing to do with the newcomer--until her social studies teacher charges her with interviewing Drita about her story. The two girls speak in alternating first-person narratives that reveal both their differences and their connections: Drita's mother is having a breakdown; Maxie cannot confront her grief about her mother's death in a car accident three years before. Most moving is Drita's surprise about the ethnic mix in her classroom; in Albania a wall separates Serb students from Muslims. The message connecting schoolyard bullying with war is heavy, but the girls' growing friendship and respect for one another is poignant, as is the climax when Maxie presents her report about what Drita left behind. Steer slightly older children wanting more about the Balkan war to Nadja Halilbegovich's My Childhood under Fire: A Sarejevo Diary (2006). Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This is a beautiful story for both children and adults. It is a sweet reminder that we should not judge people until we have walked in their shoes. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Natalie M Gilmore
I had started this book thinking I'd buy it for my niece.
It is a beautiful and relevant book which deals with what it means to be a human being. Read more
I liked how they were alternating the chapters from person to person great great great great great great great bookPublished 9 months ago by awesome 101
It was a great book .
It was a very interesting book to read.
The book was about a girl from Kosovo who traveled to New York and met this girl named Maxie and then... Read more
This is one of the most touching books I have read. A great lesson about friendship, and what kind of people are your true and closest friends. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Miranda
It was very good. I loved the ending. Some times It was very emotional.it was just really really very goodPublished 16 months ago by Greg Hacobian
Excellent book! Great for teaching elementary students about culture, friendship and bullying! This book generated great classroom discussions. I would use it again.Published on June 24, 2013 by Holly
I'm looking for novels that depict immigration to the United States for a research project for my 4th grade students. Read morePublished on April 24, 2013 by Eric M Fogle
I am an ESOL teacher. This a great book for any teacher who has students from other countries. It is written in first person from Drita's point of view and Maxie's point of view. Read morePublished on May 22, 2011 by pokey