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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Homeless Bird

by Gloria Whelan

Homeless Bird won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature in 2000. Aimed at the audience of 9 to 12 year olds, it has charm for any age reader. I often found myself wondering about young Koly throughout the day.

Koly's parents arrange for her marriage to a young man in another village when Koly is only 13 years old. She tries to catch glimpses of her husband during the wedding and hears his voice for the first time as he says the wedding vows. He is much younger than the 16 years his parents were told, perhaps even younger than Koly, and he is very sick. Soon after the wedding, the bridegroom dies and Koly becomes a widow.

I felt a great deal of pain for Koly who tries to make the most of her situation even though she is filled with despair at times. Whelan handles the isolation of widows in India in a gentle manner for young readers, while providing glimpses of the fear and despair, the separation from family and the trials of both young and old women who are not taken care of in society.

I highly recommend this little gem.

7 comments:

Jeane said...

I never heard of this book before. It does sound good.

Nicola said...

I haven't heard of this either. Thanks for the review. I'll have to add this one to the list.

jenclair said...

I love the title and cover!

Tara said...

This book sounds interesting and reminds me of a film I recently watched called Water. It is also about a child widow, age 8 or 9 who is sent to live in an Ashram in 1938. It's a very moving film, about a situation that apparently still goes on.

Corinne said...

This sounds like something I'd like. Thanks for the review!! (I found it through the YAC linky :)

Anonymous said...

i had 2 read this for school. i have a test on it 2marrow. it is good.

maria said...

i love this book!!! great book you must read it!!!!!!!!!!!