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Drita, My Homegirl
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I just found another book to add to my "good books" shelf. That's what one of the girls in our PK3-8 school call this particular section in the library. This is where I keep books I think will appeal to girls third through eighth grade. The top of this low bookcase is about shoulder height, just right for browsing books about girls. This is my story, I am the librarian.

A first novel, "Drita" is the story of a ten-year old girl who comes with her mother, grandmother, and brother from war-torn Kosova (that is how it is spelled in her country) to join the father, who has worked and saved a year to bring his family over. The females are dismayed by the dirty, unkempt apartment and spend their first few hours cleaning it.

The story shifts viewpoint every other chapter. Chapter two begins with Maxie's story. Maxie is African-America with grief in her heart over the loss of her mother in an auto accident two years previously. Wise Ms. Salvato, their fourth grade teacher, gets Maxie interested in Drita and assigns Drita's journey and country to Maxie and Drita as their big project.

The two girls do become friends in a most unlikely way. What a sweet and kind friendship it becomes, which, of course, is the main plot. Reverberating around these two are family members whose lives are touched and changed in such loving ways because of this friendship.

This book is highly recommended for friendship, geography and history lessons, resolution of family problems for both girls, and the sheer joy of the story. No girl could ask for better!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2006
A girl named Drita came to New York City from Kosova because of a war in her homeland. She starts school the day after she arrives in NY. She finds it quite complicated to make friends, when all of a sudden, she meets an African-American girl named Maxie. Maxie doesn't like Drita at first but they soon find out they have alot in common. What changes Maxie's mind about Drita? Why don't you read this book by Jenny Lombard,a NYC school teacher, and find out? It is her 1st novel for children. I enjoyed it very much.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2006
The first fiction novel by Jenny Lombard is a book you will read from start to finish. It is about a girl named Drita and a girl named Maxie. Drita, a refugee from Kosova, must live in a new country. Meanwhile, Maxie, a girl from New York that has lost her mom and has to cope with the loss of her best friend, meets a new girl in school. Could Drita have found a new friend in Maxie? Or will she be a loner in school with no friends forever? A tale of friendship, loss and realizing that it's what's on the inside that matters, Jenny has written a page-turner that you will read from start to finish. I would recommend this book to 4th grade and up.

Harry, New York City
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
"Drita, My Homegirl" is a fun but touching tale of two very different girls, one lost in a strange new country and one brash city girl suffering the loss of her mother. The author does a good job of keeping the characters' voices distinct as she switches back and forth between Drita and Maxie's perspectives. Children will learn in a gentle way about the fear and pain of war and its effects on everyday people, although Drita's mother's depression may be a bit unsettling for sensitive kids. This story tackles some tough issues and leaves us with the lesson that the person inside is what is really important. My fussy-reader fourth grader loved this book which I read aloud to her.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2006
A war story turns into a story of friendship between Maxie and Drita. Read the small adventures between these two girls. But how does friendship happen? Recommended for 3rd graders and up. This author teaches in my school and it is her first novel for children.

Gabe, New York City
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2006
Drita, My Homegirl is a great book. It is a good book for children in 3rd to Sixth grades. It teaches you how not to judge kids from the outside but to look at their inside and to give them a chance to be friends with you.

Miriam
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on August 30, 2010
Review from my perspective as an elementary school counselor:

I always have a lot of optimism as the school year begins that students will continue to blossom in their math, reading, and writing skills....but more importantly I have a hope in my heart they will also grow as a community. If you want to create, build, and bind positive student relationships then start with an inspiring story like Drita, My Homegirl by Jenny Lombard. It will inspire kids to be appreciative, compassionate, sensitive, and take care of one another. Starting in third grade I sometimes notice a negative shift in friendships. This sometimes stems from the differences they notice about each other. Instead of taking a genuine interest and being curious about diversity, sometimes kids can knock one another down with hurtful teasing and exclusion. Enter Drita and Maxie, two girls with not a lot of commonality...sounds like a lot of students in my school. Each chapter changes back and forth between their voices. This is key to developing empathy and understanding towards their personal stories. It reminded me of the quote, "Never judge a person until you've walked a mile in their shoes." Drita, My Homegirl embodies those words. It's also the adults who get Maxie to take a REAL look at who Drita is and what she's been going through. This allows Maxie to show her own vulnerabilities and it sparks her caring side to come forward. I'm excited to have this in our school library this year. But it can also be used as a wonderful read aloud that will surely increase empathy, friendship, and community building.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2006
Jenny Lombard's newest novel is execiting. It explans the life of two girls, one from Kosovo and the other from New York City.Both girls have a great story behind there lifes.Drita My Homegirl is a great novel for kids!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2006
Jenny Lombard, a third grade teacher, has written a wonderful first novel about an unlikely friendship. It is sometimes sad and sometimes happy, but very interesting.
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on December 1, 2014
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. In light of the events of the last few weeks-- which happened to be when I read it-- it is relevant to the time in which we live.
The section which struck me the most was when Maxie's grandmother walked into the Drita's apartment to find her mother literally physically and mentally in shambles on the floor. This was their first introduction and instead of questioning anything about the situation or causing further damage or dissonance Maxie's grandmother rolls up her sleeves and asks "How can I help?"
This moved me to tears. These two families, so culturally different, moved forward with a solution together. To turn and walk away would have been devastating. Instead- she mended the situation for everyone by choosing to be proactive and calm.

The book gives a prime example of the kind of thinking and positive action that all adults, children, and anyone interested in making a difference should be engaged in.
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