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Orani: My Father's Villageby Claire A Nivola
Synopses & Reviews
One of School Library Journals Best Nonfiction Books of 2011
One of Horn Books 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.
"Nivola's hymn to the Sardinian village where her father was born is filled with sights and sounds all but lost to 21st-century civilization: endless feasting 'in kitchens filled with aunts, uncles, and cousins, all speaking at once'; mysterious knowledge ('Have you ever seen a dead man? No?' Nivola is asked, after which she's led to view a corpse laid out for mourning); and the rituals of a vanished economy (she watches the village tailor 'stitch jackets for the shepherds out of thick velvet'). The terra-cotta roofs of the houses, the bleached white of their walls, and the curves of baskets, plates, and women's skirts unite Nivola's paintings, which radiate the serenity of Sienese altarpieces. Nivola is truthful about the annoying features of village life ('And there were flies, always flies!') as well as its wonders. 'All I needed to learn and feel and know was down there,' she says as she recalls looking down upon the village from the surrounding mountains. Although Nivola (Planting the Trees of Kenya) suggests that perhaps everyone has an Orani of their own, few will receive as heartfelt an elegy as this. Ages 4 — 8. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Claire Nivola has written and illustrated many books for children, most recently, Planting the Trees of Kenya, an award-winning picture book about Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai. She lives with her husband in Newton Highlands, Massachusetts.
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