Orani: My Father’s Village

By: Claire A. Nivola

A girl visits her cousins on an Italian island full of “noise and life,” where the trees are heavy with fruit, bandits gallop, and weddings go on for days. Author’s note. Full-color illustrations, including maps.

ISBN: 9780374356576

JLG Release: Oct 2011


Sensitive Areas: No sensitive areas
Topics: Childhood and youth , Family , Travel , Orani, Italy , Community life , Americans , Social life and customs , Description and travel , Biography

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Awards & Honors

Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Books of 2011; SLJ Best Books of 2011, Nonfiction; 2012 CCBC Choices

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, The Horn Book Magazine*, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal

School Library Journal

Nivola reminisces about her time spent as child in the small village in Sardinia where her father was born. She describes running free down cobbled streets with her cousins, participating in family festivities, enjoying everyday occurrences (new babies, flatbread baked in open ovens, flour ground by a local miller), and watching horsemen gallop

Nivola reminisces about her time spent as child in the small village in Sardinia where her father was born. She describes running free down cobbled streets with her cousins, participating in family festivities, enjoying everyday occurrences (new babies, flatbread baked in open ovens, flour ground by a local miller), and watching horsemen gallop through the village streets on Corpus Christi day. The quiet, descriptive text might not immediately attract today’s tech-savvy youngsters, but it could strike a chord with well-traveled children, especially those with ancestral links to the Mediterranean—or other countries abroad. In addition, Nivola’s charming primitive-style art works well in both the up-close images as well as in the broad landscape scenes that she loving captures. A book to inspire young writers and artists to interview and write about their own parents’ (or grandparents’) lives.—Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA

Horn Book

[STARRED REVIEW]
Nivola’s father’s Sardinian birthplace wasn’t perfect in the 1950s—there were nettles, scorpions, even bandits. Still, with its modest red roofs cradled in a scenic valley and welcoming relatives (including the forty-one cousins to whom this book is dedicated), Orani was a fascinating, mind-openin
[STARRED REVIEW]
Nivola’s father’s Sardinian birthplace wasn’t perfect in the 1950s—there were nettles, scorpions, even bandits. Still, with its modest red roofs cradled in a scenic valley and welcoming relatives (including the forty-one cousins to whom this book is dedicated), Orani was a fascinating, mind-opening place for the young girl to visit. An excellent note explains that Nivola’s parents had escaped from Italy to America in 1939 “under the dual pressure of fascism and anti-Semitism” and describes the book’s postwar setting as a time when “Orani was shaking free of abject poverty, yet no one had too much; when new ways had not yet torn it away from what was rich in its past.” Recalling this amiable period, Nivola depicts a close-knit community where children can see where things come from—clothes from a tailor, water from the mountain, grain from the miller, “each food…made by the work of someone’s hands.” The free-ranging children observe marriage, a new baby, even (when they visit a family in mourning) a dead body. Returning home, the author/narrator brings back a sense of wonder: what might be the stories, the remembered places, of the crowds of strangers in New York City? 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. It’s not a nostalgic picture, but one of lively children thriving in a real community that’s nurtured by its simple way of life.

Book Details

ISBN

9780374356576

First Release

October 2011

Genre

Dewey Classification

945/.92

Trim Size

9" x 11"

Page Count

40

Accelerated Reader

Level 5.5; Points: 0.5;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 9.2; Points: 3;

Lexile

Level NC1080L

Format

Print Book

Edition

-

Publisher

Frances Foster

Potentially Sensitive Areas

No sensitive areas

Topics

Childhood and youth, Family, Travel, Orani, Italy, Community life, Americans, Social life and customs, Description and travel, Biography,

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