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Gleam and Glow

4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  259 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Inspired by real events, master storyteller Eve Bunting recounts the harrowing yet hopeful story of a family, a war--and a dazzling discovery.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 2001)
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Feb 07, 2008 Ginger rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
It is difficult to find a children's book, that is illustrated tastefully, about a family in war time, but this book achieves this task effortlessly. There are moments where you might think the content is a bit strong for younger children, but if you think about it in terms of global consciousness and awareness of others plight, I think that this book does a fabulous job of cultivating empathy and has a simple enough story and emotions that a child can relate to it. Nothing is graphic, or violen...more
This amazing story based on the true experience of a Bosnian family forced to flee their country during the recent civil war. Eight-year-old Viktor watches as his father walks away to join the Liberation Army, and knows that soon he, his mother, and younger sister, Marina, will be forced to leave their home, just one step ahead of the approaching enemy forces. Already, strangers pass through Viktor's town on their way to the border. One man leaves his two golden fish with the family, explaining...more
Recommended for ages 5-12

From Booklist
Ages 6-9. Bunting uses a true story from Bosnia to weave an effective tale of loss and hope. Eight-year-old Viktor and his little sister, Marina, miss their father when he goes off to fight with the underground, and their mother knows they too must soon leave. Another refugee leaves the children two golden fish, and Marina, especially, is enchanted and names them Gleam and Glow. When the family depart, leaving their home and garden, Viktor puts Gleam and Glo...more
Adriana Mendoza
Marina and Viktor are a brother and a sister living during the time of the Bosnian War. Their father has joined the Liberation Army and soon Marina and Viktor will have to dodge the enemy and find safety in another country. In the face of the war Marina and Viktor are given two beautiful fish from a man who was on his way out of the country. Unfortunately they are to flee shortly after and their mother does not let them carry the fish along. Knowing how difficult it would be for Marina to leave...more
I'm in awe. Bunting based her story on the true account of the Malkoc family, who fled the Jezero village during the Bosnian war.

Two little girls are given two gold fish, Gleam and Glow, to care for from a refugee who fled the village days before them. Before they leave to seek safety, the oldest girl places Gleam and Glow in the pond. After many months of war, the family returns to their village. Everything has been destroyed my the bombs...everything except the pond thriving with goldfish.

Although the events in this book were inspired by the Bosnian War which took place in 1990, the events are of great historical significance and, at this point, almost 20 years old. This story is based on a true story of a family who had to flee their village in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the boy who had to leave his two fish, Gleam and Glow, behind their house in a pond. The events that unfold in this story are both touching and inspiring. A great book to use with older elementary children from 3rd...more
Gorgeous illustrations and beautifully crafted text relay a story of heartbreak and hope so poignant that even chatting about it was difficult, but we did our best.

Listen to our chat about this book on our Children's Book Podcast:
Aya Love
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Rachel Kenney
Grade/interest level: Primary
Reading level: 450 Lexile
Genre: Multicultural Literature
Main Characters: Victor, Marina, Mama, Papa
Setting: Bosnia during Civil War
POV: Victor's

I really love this book. This book talks much about tragedy and destruction, however, the reader is greeted with positivity at the end of the book. Victor is at home with his mom and his little sister Marina while his dad is off fighting in the libertarian army. Everyday the future looks bleaker and bleaker for the family....more
Grade/Interest Level: 2nd-4th grade
Reading Level: 450 L
Genre: Multicultural Literature, Picture book

Characters: Viktor, Mama, Marina, papa
Setting: Bosnia
POV: 1st person, from Victor

Summary: Viktor and his family live in Bosnia during a civil war. Viktor is at home with his mother, and younger sister Marina, while his father is off fighting in the Liberation Army. Eve Bunting demonstrates through the text and illustrations the disaster and desperation that strikes neighborhoods and families durin...more
Grade/Interest Level: Primary (K-2nd)
Reading level: Lexile, 450
Genre: Multicultural Literature, Historical Fiction

Main Characters: Victor, Marina, Mama, Papa
Setting: Bosnia during Civil War
POV: Victor

Summary: This book is based on a true story of a Bosnian family that have to flee their home. It talks about tragedy and destruction. The book introduces readers of war and the hope that they can come back sometime after the devastation. Victor is at home with his mom and his little sister Marina w...more
Beatriz Gonzalez
From the title I assumed the fish were the ones that were going to be named Gleam and Glow because their color seemed to glow right off the book cover. Reading the story, Marina, the sister, actually names the fish Gleam and Glow. This book had beautiful oil illustrations with the pages being full bleed and the images seemed to be in a darker color template. This added to the mood of the story because the mood was not a very cheery and happy one. It was not very happy since the people in midst o...more
Jenn Henderson
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Melissa Long
This unexpected story of hope is laid out in a horizontal format and the illustrations are in a bleed style. The illustrations also seem to be done using water color, and I found that it was interesting that the faces were often blurred throughout the story. The faces of the people in the illustrations didn't contain a whole lot of detail and I think this is so the reader can more fully connect with the characters. By not giving the faces a whole lot of detail, the author can allow for the audie...more
Eve Bunting is one of the best writers of historical fiction. She has a gift for taking complicated social issues and relaying them in a story that is child appropriate. Many of her books have been springboards for conversations with my children about treating others with respect and dignity. Gleam and Glow are two goldfish that a family leaves behind in a pond when fleeing their home during the Bosnian war. When they return to their home five years later, it is in ruins. The children run to the...more
Illustrator: Peter Sylvada
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Date: 2001
Genre: Historical Fiction/War
Strength: The visual imagery and word choice shows the tragedy of war and the hardships the individuals in the story face. The most colorful things in the story are fish which are shown in the beginning as the war is farther off, but the father is leaving to fight, through the story the family faces hardship together. Hope comes through finding their father and journeying back home and then...more
Eve Bunting did a beautiful job telling a tragic story of a people being forced to flee their home and homeland due to war. This work of historical fiction was inspired by the 1990, Bosnian War but could be applied to any war or similar upheaval of citizens. A lesson that hope can be found in the most unlikely of places.
Nov 15, 2012 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with older children
This is a difficult story to read, but a very good one. It's always hard to read about people torn from their homes and in danger from conflict in their country. I love that Eve Bunting purposefully left the location vague in order to honor all those who are forced to flee their war-torn countries.

The description of life in the tent settlement just over the border is a bit glossed over, but otherwise the story helps children understand the terrible consequences of war.

We appreciated reading the...more
Bunting, Eve., Sylvada, Peter. Gleam and Glow. San Diego: Harcourt, 2005. Historical Fiction.

Eve Bunting uses symbolism in an amazingly powerful way in this book. While a family is forced to leave their home during a time of war, they release their two fish into a little pond, wanting to give them a few extra days of life before they surely die. After being away from their home, in refugee camps, worried about their father, the boy Viktor and his family return home. They are reunited with their...more
A story about two children forced from their home because of war. Lovely magical oil paintings are the illustrations. Talks about coming back home and things have changed, although hope is still there.
Julie Suzanne
Jul 10, 2009 Julie Suzanne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Social Studies, English, AIS teachers (Grades 2-8)
I was delighted, as I so often am by Eve Bunting, to find that this was not a book about fish, but about a family who is needing to escape their homeland. The father joins an underground resistance group, and the rest of the family flees. They live in a refugee camp for some time and finally return to the find a "skeleton" of what used to be their home. The fish are a symbol of hope and survival, and this novel is an excellent introduction to symbolism, as the symbolism is more explicit than mo...more
Kyla Hyden
"Gleam and Glow" is a book about a family who is forced from their home because of a war going on around them. It is based on a true story of a man named Smajo Malkoc, who lived in a village in Jezero Bosnia-Herzegovina. During a war, he was also forced from his home. Leaving behind two golden fish. When he returned, his house was ruined, but his fish had flourished and multiplied. This book tells a similar story, but it is for any peoples who have been persecuted in this way. This is a powerful...more

A startlingly beautiful book.

The author and artist keep the time and place of the story vague. Are we in Germany? Poland? Russia? Turkey? Bosnia? Is it 1916? 1940? 1990? 2003? The story doesn't tell you, and it doesn't matter, because the point is every single war is the same - innocent civilians lose everything, and then, when the war ends and the soldiers go home, they get the luckless task of rebuilding with nothing.

And yet - and yet! - there is hope, and there is life, here seen with a pair...more
A bit long for kids and I assumed from the cover it was about fish :p It kind of is
Sarah Leesman
Gleam and Glow is a great story of hope and faith. It is a heartwarming story that children and adults will all fall in love with. This story is about two fish named Gleam and Glow who survive and multiply despite many obstacles. It is also about a family who is forced to leave their home during a time of war and also survive. The illustrations are made from oils and as a result are very unperfected. The illustrations aren’t filled with details but the lines that the illustrator created and the...more
Sarah Stumphf
A story of hope in a time of war for two young children. Put my three year old right to sleep.
Debbie Tanner
This is such a great book. It's based on true story from the Bosnian war. A family is forced to flee their home during the war and they have to leave many things behind. When they get back home, they find their home is very much changed. This story about war will make kids think about some of the ways families that aren't actually part of the shooting part of the war are impacted as well.
Victor's father leaves for war and he is left to look after his mother and sister, Marina. Eve Bunting tells a hopeful story about war as a family flees there home and travels across the border with other refugees. I liked how this story is not specific about a country or culture but can be related to people being forced out of their homes.
Candace Offutt
This is such a compelling and inspirational story based on the true experience of a Bosnian family forced to flee their country during the recent civil war. It is such a difficult topic for children to talk about and understand, but I think Eve Bunting is a wonderful story-teller and does a great job at making it understandable.
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Also known as Evelyn Bolton and A.E. Bunting.

Anne Evelyn Bunting, better known as Eve Bunting, is an author with more than 250 books. Her books are diverse in age groups, from picture books to chapter books, and topic, ranging from Thanksgiving to riots in Los Angeles. Eve Bunting has won several awards for her works.

Bunting went to school in Ireland and grew up with storytelling. In Ireland, “The...more
More about Eve Bunting...
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