Girl of Kosovo by Alice Mead
📚 Girl of Kosovo 📚
Author: Alice Mead
Publisher: Ferrar, Strauss and Giroux
Islamic Content: None
Concerns: War, Violence, cussing, smoking mentioned
Zana loves her village life especially the apple orchard. However, with rising tensions between the Serbian forces and KLA freedom fighters, life becomes unpredictable. When shells rain down on her village, she experiences an attack that changes her and her family forever.
@islamicschoollibrarian made me aware of the existence of this book, so of course I had to get my hands on it. Not only for reviewing purposes but for my kids to read about Kosovo's history that caused us to move in the west.
The story is inspired by an actual child that the author has interacted with while she was in Kosovo. It is easy to read and fast paced, lots happening very quickly. This book was published in 2000 and I appreciate its existence. It serves as a tiny window into the war in Kosovo that has caused a lot of trauma and loss for many. Anyone looking for a book that introduces this to their child, this might be a good start.
However, I do have a few notes that I would like to bring up. First and foremost, this book avoids the mention of faith completely from beginning to the end. Faith has been part of Kosovars for a long time even among those who aren't regularly practicing so I think this decision must have been intentional. Considering the year that it has been published and the fact that it is not OWN voice, it is only natural that the cultural authenticity on how the characters interact isn't showing through the words or the actions. I think the publishing industry has grown and improved with their expectations in this aspect. Aside all these notes, what stood out to me the most is the western narrative presented in the story through the main character. I feel like the author tried to maintain a neutral/foreigner approach in how she represented the relationship between the Serbians and Kosovar. Many scenarios that probably make for good plot and exciting story BUT inauthentic to the true rage caused by loss and injustice that affected the people of Kosovo for many years. All this to say how incredibly important and valuable OWN voices stories are.