Orani by Claire A. Nivola


One of School Library Journal’s Best Nonfiction Books of 2011One of Horn Book’s Best Nonfiction Books of 2011As 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 the simple joys and pleasures of daily life in a village where ...

Details Orani

Release DateJul 19th, 2011
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
GenreChildrens, Picture Books, Nonfiction, Family, Autobiography, Memoir, History, Cultural, Italy, Adventure, Biography

Reviews Orani

  • Betsy
    The personal family history as picture book is an interesting little subgenre. Its been in the American picture book roster for years, dating back at least as far as Robert Lawsons 1940 Caldecott winner They Were Strong and Good. Generally speaking, the American picture book memoir tends to focus on families that have immigrated to the States. Dan Yacarrinos All the Way to America is a good example of this. The nice thing about Claire A. Nivolas ...
  • Rebecca
    I'm not an immigrant myself, but I think this picture-book memoir captures perfectly a child's experience visiting the Old World where her father grew up, and its smaller-scale, family-centric life. I think I teared up a little. Just love this quote from the Author's Note:"Orani was a complete world and just the right scale for a child. Everything happened there -- all the tragedies and joys -- but they happened in a contained place, among famili...
  • Monica
    Audience: preschool and up, boys, and girlsAppeal: This book has large and interesting pictures in it depicting the differences between Orani and America. This book also reads more like a story than an informational text, so I would say it could be considered fast-paced as far as nonfiction books go. Children will be able to relate to the narrator in Orani. This book came from the School Library Journal Best Non-Fiction 2011 list.
  • Melissa
    The sense of place--warm and particular--Nivola evokes is palpable, and contrasts very effectively with the busy gray city scene on the last page. The last paragraph, where a child Nivola wonders if everyone she sees in the city has their own "Orani," their own special place somewhere else in the world, is such a marvelous way of helping a young child to stretch the boundaries of their own world. Really lovely.
  • Carrie Gelson
    Beautiful book sharing a very special village - memories, community, simplicity. A gorgeous celebration of family history.
  • Ⓟⓔⓐⓒⓗⓨ Ⓚⓔⓔⓝ Ⓡⓔⓐⓓⓢ
    "I would look far down below at the village, so small and neat and silent in the distance, and think of all the noise and life it contained." A memory of a young girl and her adventures in Orani, where her father was born. A little dark. It shows a picture of a dying man on a page. For ages 8 and up.
  • Lynn Davidson
    The author created a lovely story about the village her father grew up in before moving from the Mediterranean to the US. It's a story about family and life much more simple and down-to-earth. Lovely illustrations.
  • Rani
    Visiting her father's village during summer vacation in childhood, the author experiences a different flavor of life.#immigrant #life #childhood #summer #Childrensbook
  • Michael Fitzgerald
    Great illustrations, but the story is perhaps a bit too personal without enough broader appeal.
  • Sasha
    I would give this 5 stars, but there's a scene that trivializes death, and it really didn't sit well.
  • Courtney
    Great illustrations. It was also a great choice for multicultural literature
  • Doug Sacks
    There is something very nice about a picture book that an adult can read on his/her own level and a child can still enjoy, just like when I watched Bugs Bunny with my dad as a child. He had seen them in the movies as a boy and still enjoyed them with me as a parent.Claire Nivola had me with Planting the Trees of Kenya and I have been a fan ever since. She has a beautiful style of illustration that is both detailed and warm at the same time. Her p...
  • Barbara
    With incredibly detailed illustrations and carefully chosen words, the author of Planting the Trees of Kenya takes readers to a village in Sardinia where her father grew up. After he and his wife emigrated to the United States, he took his family back to the island as often as possible. This picture book describes with obvious fondness the connection Claire A. Nivola still feels for the village and its citizens. Readers will feel as though they a...
  • Miranda Middleton
    I liked this book because It introduced the past culture of an Italian village. The author's (native of New York) father grew up in this village and the author frequently visited. She quickly grew to realize that the culture within this village is MUCH different than her "home" culture of New York. She...:- introduces the stages of life and death and her understanding of the two-depicts the close community of the Italian people-difference in huma...
  • Cheryl
    This lovely book paints a picture of of a small village on the island of Sardinia in the author's childhood summers, a place where children play in the streets, hear the women gathering early on hot mornings to bake bread, celebrate a wedding for 3 days and see a dead body in someones home for a funeral. The author says in a note at the end that this place doesn't exist anymore, but has racing cars in the narrow streets and children inside with t...
  • Shelli
    Author Claire Nivola often spent her summers in Orani, a small village surrounded by mountains in the country of Sardina, an island in the Mediterranean Sea between Europe and Africa. For many years Orani was untouched by the expanding progressive way of life that much of the rest of the world was swept up in, and remained a close-knit community that centered on family and friends. This story focuses on that simpler period of time. The authors no...
  • Paul
    This beautiful autobiographical account tracks the deep lodging of seeds of affection of a young girl for her family's geographical roots on the island of Sardinia. The book resonates with the sense of home that her father's hometown took on for her, and the illustrations capture the sense of place and relationships with uncles, aunts, and cousins. Especially powerful is the contrast to her New York City home and then more recently the change of ...
  • Jess
    This is one of those books that pulls you into a very specific place, making it come alive through both text and illustrations. Inspired by the author's experiences of visiting her father's birthplace in Sardinia, it wraps together the sense of being a child with the particular sense of place. Reading it over several times lets you absorb all the details in the illustrations and immerse youself in the story.
  • Sam Bloom
    Not truly a biography, but close enough to qualify as such on my shelves. I'm not going to try to give a summary, because that won't really do this book justice. I suppose one could call this an episodic picture book, if such a thing exists, because the book is full of experiences that are interconnected by the place, time and people involved. If you (or a child you know) are/is a fan of maps and/or romantically old-fashioned Mediterranean towns,...
  • Westerville
    I'm not an immigrant myself, but I think this picture-book memoir captures perfectly a child's experience visiting the Old World where her father grew up, and its smaller-scale, family-centric life. I think I teared up a little. - Becky, Teen LibrarianReserve a library copy!
  • Erin
    Saw this on a Mock Caldecott list, so I wanted to check it out. 3rd graders read Nivola's Planting the Trees of Kenya and LOVED it. I liked the story and illustrations ok, but then was totally struck by the last page, a full page painting of New York City. I would hang that on my wall. (And I'm not even especially partial to NYC)
  • Olivia Berger
    This book is all about a family visiting their home town in Italy called Orani. Its a beautiful, quaint town located in the valley. The neighborhood is close knit and everyone knows each other. It also talked about how different the two cities of NYC and Orani were from one another and how the little girl wants to go back
  • Danie P.
    A picture book for older readers or for families to share together. It's about a small girl who visits her fathers hometown of Orani, Sicily every summer. Beautiful pictures detail dancing in the town square, seeing a dead man at a funeral (not as scary as it sounds,) the ladies baking bread and much more.
  • Donalyn
    A beautiful look at Claire Nivola's childhood visits to Orani, the tiny Sardinian village where her father was born. The author's note and lovingly created illustrations show her deep emotional connection to this special place.I liked the page where she returns to New York after a visit and wonders if the other strangers she sees on the street have an Orani of their own.
  • Laura
    A beautifully told and illustrated book. The narrator spends the summers with her extended family in Orani, Sardinia. The story is set in the recent past, perhaps the 1960s. A great way to teach cultural understanding and to help build an understanding of how others live. Recommended for grades 4 - 5.
  • Courtney
    This book depicts a young girl who visits her fathers village after they have moved to the United States. It shows the culture of his village and the difference between it and the US. The pictures do a great job of depicting the differences between the two also. This would be a great book for children to read who have parents or family who are from other countries.
  • Rachel Ball
    My favorite part of this book was the illustrations. I loved them! I thought the book was interesting to read. However, because of the way it is written it is definitely more appropriate for older children.
  • Karen A.
    I think kids will like this. It is very nostalgic. I love the art work and I love how the author gets across the feel, atmosphere, and place of a small Italian village. It may be that this book is not just for children.
  • Gwen the Librarian
    I really liked this episodic and beautifully illustrated look at life in a Sardinian village. While there isn't much of a story, it paints a lovely picture of life in a bygone era and strongly reminded me of the work of Tasha Tudor in A Gathering of Days, one of my childhood favorites.
  • Tom
    A colorful look at a small Sardinian village a half century ago. It captures a certain quality and pace of life there, showing joyous celebrations and mournful rituals. The art is fairly interesting as well.