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One of School Library Journal's Best Nonfiction Books of 2011
One of Horn Book's Best Nonfiction Books of 2011
As a child, Claire Nivola loved summers in Orani, the village where her father grew up and where her many aunts, uncles, and 50 cousins still lived. She ran freely through the town's cobbled streets with packs of cousins, who quizzed her about America while she took in all teh simple joys and pleasures of daily life in a village where surprises met them at every turn.
In this sensuous homage of prose and pictures, Nivola invites readers to share in her experience of Orani, a village where surprises met them at every turn and luxuries were unheard of, but life was rich, lived close to the earth.
“While this would serve as a model for personal narrative writing, it mostly deserves to be read for the rhapsodic, evocative story that it tells of a place that to kids will seem long ago and far away.” —BCCB
“This shimmering memoir opens a window on the past and invites young readers to climb through it…As families head off this summer to visit relatives or explore other parts of the world, the lyrical text and sun-drenched illustrations of this lovely book make a perfect bon voyage, a graceful reminder to a new generation to remember this time and cherish this place.” —Washington Post
“Orani and its people are lovingly evoked in Nivola's watercolor and gouache paintings, from expansive views to more intimate scenes, from children thronging narrow streets and family gatherings to pensive vignettes.” —Horn Book Magazine, Starred
“Nivola is a consummate artist. The work here is heartbreakingly beautiful, with its depictions of the village's red-tiled roofs and cobbled streets. Its people are alive, and you absolutely know who young Claire is in nearly every spread by her hair, her sandals and her dress. I think children will relish searching for her on each page.” —The New York Times Book Review