The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson

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2013 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award

Meli Lleshi is positive that her drawing of her teacher with his pelican nose started it all. The Lleshis are Albanians living in Kosovo, a country trying to fight off Serbian oppressors, and suddenly they are homeless refugees. Old and young alike, they find their courage tested by hunger, illness, the long, arduous journey, and danger on every side. Then, unexpectedly, they are brought to America by a church group and begin a new life in a small Vermont town. The events of 9/11 bring more challenges for this Muslim family--but this country is their home now and there can be no turning back.A compassionate, powerful novel by a master storyteller.

About Katherine Paterson

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Katherine Paterson was born in China, where she spent part of her childhood. After her education in China and the American South, she spent four years in Japan, the setting for her first three novels. Ms. Paterson has received numerous awards for her writing, including National Book Awards for The Master Puppeteer and The Great Gilly Hopkins, as well as Newbery Medals for Jacob Have I Loved and Bridge to Terabithia. Ms. Paterson lives with her husband in Vermont. They have four grown children.
Published October 19, 2009 by Clarion Books. 165 pages
Genres: Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Although Meli and Mehmet are interesting, dynamic characters, Paterson is so intent on covering, however briefly, all the issues that a family like Meli’s would face that she fails to work her typical spellbinding magic.

Sep 15 2009 | Read Full Review of The Day of the Pelican

Publishers Weekly

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In this powerful, finely crafted novel, Paterson unveils the experience of Muslim Albanians in the Kosovo war through her memorable heroine, Meli, who turns 11 just as her family flees genocide.

Sep 07 2009 | Read Full Review of The Day of the Pelican


Last time devout readers of Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta forensic mystery series saw Kay in Scarpetta she had hit a bit of a rough patch with both her new husband, Benton Wesley, and her long-time partner Pete Marino.

Jan 08 2010 | Read Full Review of The Day of the Pelican

Christian Science Monitor

But as far as she’s concerned, her lovely old town on the banks of the Drin River in Kosovo is the only home she could ever want.

Dec 09 2009 | Read Full Review of The Day of the Pelican

Common Sense Media

This time the author's tale of loss centers on war and all the violence of war as it affects a very real-seeming family and others they know who are slaughtered and threatened.

Oct 19 2009 | Read Full Review of The Day of the Pelican

Zola is more than colorful -- she's a life force, and she soon enlists the angel in helping a multinational group of orphans she has discovered living up the mountain in an old chicken coop.

Oct 26 2009 | Read Full Review of The Day of the Pelican

Shelf Awareness

It is the innocent who always suffer most.” Even in America, where the family decides to settle, new challenges await the Muslim family in the wake of 9/11.

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Curled Up With a Good Kid's Book

When Mehmet reappears and tells his story, the family determines that it is time to leave their beloved country and move to a safer place, but where will that be?

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