Saturday, January 8, 2011

Kalyna's Song

Lisa Grekul's 'Kalyna's Song' is a beautiful and funny book about growing up Ukrainian-Canadian in a country where rules about when to be Ukrainian and when to be English are never to be bungled or broken. Canadian books, however deserving, are rarely as well-known around the world as American, and it breaks my heart when this order of world affairs defies my impulse to set things right. So here I am doing my little part: recommending you to pick it up if you ever come across a copy of it.

Here is a review by a librarian who is also a children's author. I disagree with this reviewer only when she she says Colleen is a character who is not entirely likeable. I find Colleen self-absorbed, yes, but which teenager isn't? I find her entirely sympatichnaya as they say in Russian.

There is a lot in the book about Ukrainian music--narodniye pecni, classicheskiye, etc. I had no idea how many Ukrainian composers' names were unknown to me until I read this book.

And finally, I have to link to Joe Wiebe's review here. His observation of a scene in Swaziland is spot-on.

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