Friday, February 26, 2010
The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson J FIC PATERSON
When Meli is 11 years old, she draws a funny picture of her teacher as a pelican, and is caught and kept after school. Her brother Mehmet, who is 13, usually walks home with her and her friend. Their father has told them to stay together, since all of their people (Albanians) have been targeted by the police. Mehmet walks home alone, since his father needs him to help at their store. The police take him and beat him and leave him for dead in the countryside outside their city. He is rescued by Albanian nationalists and after some weeks comes home.
This book tells about Kosovo, a region in the country of Serbia which has mostly people from Albania, a nearby country. Many of these people wanted their own country separate from Serbia. But Serbia resisted this and started a campaign of genocide in 1998 against the Albanians. We find out what’s happening from Meli and Mehmet, and travel with them and their family after they are driven from their homes. They go to the mountains and camp there, go to a refugee camp, and finally end up in the United States. Meli and Mehmet are very different. Meli is quiet and keeps things inside; Mehmet is full of anger for what happened to him and his people. Both the brother and sister stay in your mind after the book is finished.