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Drita, My Homegirl Hardcover – March 16, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

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.

From Booklist

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
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 690L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (March 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399243801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399243806
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,990,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Judy K. Polhemus VINE VOICE on February 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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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A Kid's Review on May 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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 eventually became friends.
And how they did it I can't tell you!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent novel for 4th grade students to read and discuss. It's good for character study and the vocabulary is challenging. The students can relate with either girl, and start to see how each chapter builds upon the other. They will also be pleasantly surprised by the ending, and will be able to decipher the central theme of the novel.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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. You do not need to speak someone's language to learn about their heart.
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Format: Kindle Edition
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. Like Drita's mom said, " I would rather you have one true friend, than a million other friends." I would recommend this book to anyone that likes to get into a good book, because it is not only a good book, but a fabulous lesson as well. Five Star🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
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Format: Hardcover
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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