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World in Between

I previously didn’t know much about the Bosnian War that happened between 1992-95, but the ethnic cleansing and genocide that happened to Muslims by the Serb-controlled Yogoslavian army is a must to learn about, to educate ourselves and our kids of, to speak out against, and to prevent such an atrocity from happening again. Books like this one are an absolute necessary read.

Genre: Upper MG

Ages: 12-15

Screening: crushes/dating mentioned tho no details given, music, a few cusswords, stealing, gun violence, bombs, murder mentioned but not described, rape alluded to, Halloween/Christmas/birthday celebrations. He is mad at God at some point.

Based on a true story, this novel details the refugee story of Kenan. How he lived happily side by side with his Catholic and Serbian neighbors, with his favorite Soccer coach Mr.Mira- and how suddenly everything changed. The hatred that was suddenly faced towards him was purely for one reason: he was Muslim. Kenan and his family struggle to survive the atrocities, and the humiliation, and one day, they flee to Austria. And from Austria, they are resettled into the US. All Kenan wants is to go back in time to happy days, and struggles to find a place in his new home and trust those around him.

Islam is mentioned a lot, as the reason the Serbs give for the genocide of Bosnians. Kenan and his family aren’t really practicing, as they don’t pray or go to the Mosque regularly, although they don’t drink or eat pork, and his religion is part of his identity. One of the main cruel events he witnesses is when the Serbian army bombs the Mosque in his home village. And even when he moves to the US and a Reverend hosts his family and they join them at Church on Christmas, he is sure to emphasize that his family are Muslim and it is not their religion or holiday, they are joining their hosts as a sign of respect.

Truly, the book is so heart wrenching and educational, and is an authentically written book that teaches the reader a lot about the genocide that happens in Bosnia.

And through it all, Kenan is wonderfully intelligent and kind and finds good in everyone- people of all cultures and religions.

A must read for sure!

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