Fleeing war-torn Kosovo, Drita and her family move to America with the dream of living a typical American life. But with this hope comes the struggle to adapt and fit in. How can Drita find her place at school and in her new neighborhood when she doesn't speak any English?
Meanwhile, Maxie and her group of fourth-grade friends are popular in their class, and make an effort to ignore Drita. So when their teacher puts Maxie and Drita together for a class project, things get off to a rocky start. But sometimes, when you least expect it, friendship can bloom and overcome even a vast cultural divide.
A poignant story about the difficulties of leaving everything behind and the friendships that help you get through it.
"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." -- Hazel Rochman, Booklist
|Recommended Age||8 - 12|
|Publication Date||May 15, 2008|