Monday, June 19, 2017

Flowers for Sarajevo by John McCutcheon - ESSENTIAL

McCutcheon, John Flowers for Sarajevo, illustrated by Kristy Caldwell. PICTURE BOOK. Peachtree Publishers, 2017. $19.99. Content: G. 

Drasko and his father are flower sellers in the marketplace in Sarajevo.  Drasko’s father makes an effort every day to get along with everyone and make even the grouchiest seller feel special. But one day the country is at war, and even Drasko’s father must go away to fight.  Drasko sees a change in the marketplace.  People are not nice to each other any more, and gradually he gets moved to the worst place in the market - no shade, no water, but he is by where the orchestra practices, so it’s not all bad. But then, the marketplace is attacked and many people waiting in line for the bakery are killed.  One lone cellist comes to the marketplace each day and plays a solo tune - gradually people return to the marketplace and Drasko tries to be more like his father.  

A beautiful story about the war in Sarajevo, the cellist is Vedran Smailovic (his history and contribution to the resistance effort is included in the author’s notes, as well as a short description of the history of the war in that region) but the boy is fictional.  The book includes a CD narrated by the author and a recording of the original song “Streets of Sarajevo.”  This can be used in a history/geography classroom or as a music lesson on the power of the arts.  

EL (K-3), MS - ESSENTIAL  Lisa Librarian

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