April 9, 2011
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.
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February 2, 2010
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.