Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson

I gave this book a rating of three out of five. Meli Lleshi and her Muslim family are caught in the middle of the conflict in Kosovo during the Clinton administration. Meli's brother is captured and tortured by the Serbian oppressors. The family is forced from their home and barely ends up surviving as refugees. The family tries stay together and maintain its pride while avoiding the fighting and killing. The family finally is hosted by a church group in the United States, and they are able to move out of Kosovo. However, the move to the U.S. creates cultural conflicts, especially when the World Trade Center is attacked by terrorists.

This novel is historical fiction. I enjoyed the plot, but I think most adolescent readers might want a little more conflict. It seemed like the author was directly trying to make an editorial comment about the Kosovo conflict, and that distracted from the other story elements. I liked the book, but I'm not sure it would grab the interest of middle school kids without teacher assistance.

Lexile level from lexile.com 770

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