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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
No Roof in Bosnia
by Els de Groen
Age Range: 12+
When Aida enters the deserted village of Brodiste in Bosnia she is afraid. The war
rages all around her and danger is ever present. Finding a farmhouse she
encounters Antonia who lives alone with her dog, Napoleon. Gradually Aida learns
to trust Antonia and she decides to stay until she can make her way safely to the
coast. When Josip, Antonia’s nephew, visits to get more supplies for his mountain
hideout, he warns his aunt of the dangers of staying in the village. Aida joins the
four teenagers hiding out in the mountains and they learn to live together despite
their different ethnic backgrounds. However, disaster strikes when the Serbs
capture Josip and the other two boys. Aida and Mila find themselves alone and
decide to set off on their way to the Adriatic Coast where they hope to find
their friends again.
This novel captures the futility and heartache of ethnic intolerance together with the pain and the human consequences of not-so-distant politics. It is a powerful, compelling and realistic story of human courage and frailty in which there are no easy answers to be found.
(Outside In: Children’s Books in Translation, Milet, 2005)