Parents' Guide to

The Day of the Pelican

By Debra Bogart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Harrowing fictionalization of the war in Kosovo.

The Day of the Pelican Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 11+
This is an excellent read-aloud book for teachers or parents to share with 5th graders. It provides a springboard for discussing real-world conflicts and recent history. When reading it aloud to students, the reader can edit on the fly, omitting any language that is objectionable, without sacrificing content. 5th graders find Meli a sympathetic character, and are rightfully outraged by the atrocities visited upon the Lleshi's and other Kosovar Albanians by the Serbs. They independently connected this ethnic violence to what they had learned as 4th graders about the Holocaust.
age 12+

Books makes little know "war" personal

I've always heard of Serbs and Albanians not getting along but in this short story we learn of the hate they each had and reasons for it. The Serbs did terrible things in this book. Also a look at how American intervention was received.

This title has:

Too much violence
Educational value

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (2):

This historical drama is too harrowing for younger readers. This time the author's tale of loss centers on war and all the violence of war as it affects a very real-seeming family and others they know who are slaughtered and threatened. Meli makes a strong and resilient heroine who does her best to help hold her family together, but there's no "happily ever after" feeling when they reach the United States; the family loses everything and is still very poor and adjusting to American life.

One bright spot is that despite all that this family has seen and experienced, Meli's father still holds firm to the belief that hate is never right, and keeping his family together is worth all kinds of sacrifices. His resolve seems to have a positive impact on his son who was close to becoming a freedom fighter. An important book, but not an easy read.

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate