In the dingy Auburn Street project where Junebug lives, ten is the age when young boys start joining gangs and helping drug dealers. Junebug has watched his friend, Darnell, drift away in a sleek, dark-windowed car. He has seen his Aunt Jolita, surrounded by a cloud of jewelry and perfume, strut off with silent gang leaders. Junebug’s mother works hard to keep him and his little sister safe. So do the librarian and the tutor who set up a reading room in the basement of the graffiti-coated apartment building.
Eleven-year-old Zana loves life in her small village in Kosovo. She also loves her best friend, Lena, even though her uncle doesn’t want the two of them playing together, since Lena is a Serb and Zana and her family are Albanians. Soon, soldiers are pulling Albanians off of buses and looting and bombing Albanian homes. Amidst a rising tide of violence, Zana must find a way to break the cycle of hate. Closely based on Alice Mead’s own experiences, Girl of Kosovo is a stark look at the evil people can do - and at the enduring power of love.
"The Public on the Private" by Margaret Talbot; "Anyone? Anyone?" by Nick Paumgarten; "Lumia" by Gregory Zinman; "Alice's Wonderland" by Rebecca Mead; "Gravel" by Alice Munro; "Show Runners" by Sasha Frere-Jones; "Anything Goes" by David Denby.
"Nice, but the "Abridged" should be in the title"
Last year, 10-year-old Junebug desperately wanted to leave the grimy Auburn Street project where he lived with his mother and sister. Now his dream has come true. They have moved to the other side of New Haven into a safe, new apartment complex. His mother takes care of the elderly residents there. Moving means changes, however. And not all of them are good. There is a bully in his new school who won’t leave him alone. Junebug has to take grumpy old Reverend Ashford for a walk every morning. And he worries about the friendship growing between his mother and the Reverend’s son.
"Bonds Unbound", by James Surowiecki; "Free Radicals", by Alice Munro; "Call Me Loyd", by David Owen; and "Eerily Composed", by Rebecca Mead.