“In this powerful, finely crafted novel, Paterson unveils the experience of Muslim Albanians in the Kosovo war” —Publisher’s Weekly
“…a solid addition to the scant offerings on this subject.” —Kirkus Review
Meli Lleshi is positive that her drawing of her teacher with his pelican nose started it all. The Lleshis are Albanians living in Kosovo, a country trying to fight off Serbian oppressors, and suddenly they are homeless refugees. Old and young alike, they find their courage tested by hunger, illness, the long, arduous journey, and danger on every side. Then, unexpectedly, they are brought to America by a church group and begin a new life in a small Vermont town. The events of 9/11 bring more challenges for this Muslim family–but this country is their home now and there can be no turning back.A compassionate, powerful novel by a master storyteller.
Reviews & Accolades
2009 Parents’ Choice Gold Award winner
“In this powerful, finely crafted novel, Paterson unveils the experience of Muslim Albanians in the Kosovo war through her memorable heroine, Meli, who turns 11 just as her family flees genocide. Through Meli’s gaze, Paterson skillfully defines the culture of Kosovo, including the strictly defined gender roles, large extended families and social hierarchy that pits Serb against Albanian and looks down on families, like Meli’s, from the countryside…Spanning vast distances and several years, Paterson offers a realistic and provocative account of these refugees’ plight, balanced by the hope of new beginnings and the resilience of the human spirit.” —Publisher’s Weekly
“A realistically harsh yet hopeful account of an Albanian Kosovar family’s flight from the violence ravaging their beloved home…a solid addition to the scant offerings on this subject.” —Kirkus Review
“Paterson exposes the complexities of a war halfway around the globe and how its scars reach across an ocean. Young readers who did not know where Kosovo was before will not forget it after reading the Lleshis’s remarkable story.”—Shelf Awareness
Immigration, war, national identity, religious persecution, family relationships
Kosovo, refugee camp Kosovo-Macedonian border, Vermont
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