Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Flowers for Sarajevo” as Want to Read:
Flowers for Sarajevo
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Flowers for Sarajevo

by
4.32  ·  Rating details ·  358 ratings  ·  97 reviews
The moving story of a young boy who discovers the power of beauty and kindness during a time of war. Drasko helps his father sell flowers in Sarajevo, but when war threatens and his father is called to the battlefront, Drasko must take over the flower stall. One morning the boys familiar routine is shattered when a mortar shell hits the bakery, killing twenty-two people. T ...more
Audio CD, 36 pages
Published April 1st 2017 by Peachtree Publishers
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Flowers for Sarajevo, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Flowers for Sarajevo

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  358 ratings  ·  97 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Flowers for Sarajevo
Kathryn
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
So well told, so well thought out, so heartbreaking yet hopeful. Loved it.
Art
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Every now and then an illustrated children’s book wil add dimension to a well-known story. Among them, Blowin' in the Wind and The Train They Call the City of New Orleans.

This book, historical fiction for children, comes from an event known as The Cellist of Sarajevo, which inspired the novel The Cellist of Sarajevo. That book, historical fiction for adults, turned me on to the incident, although the author used the story of the cellist without his permission. Nonetheless, I liked the story, while remaining mindful
...more
Jillian Heise
A fabulous picture book told with heart about the toll of war & the humanity & beauty & hope that can survive. Fascinating story of hope in despair and muted illustrations emphasize the power of this book. Extensive back matter includes historical context for the region and wars, an authors note on inspiration for the story, short biography of the cellist, and song lyrics, sheet music, and a CD with recording of the cello solo played and song inspired by the events.
Danielle
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
"All of us—Serb and Croat, Muslim and Christian—stand side by side, listening to a language we all understand."
Alex  Baugh
I can still remember watching the 1984 Winter Olympics held in Sarajevo, especially that stunning performance of Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean ice skating to Bolero, for which they earned perfect scores down the line.

Yet, less than 10 years later, that once beautiful city was under siege by Serbs and Bosnian Serbs, a blockade that lasted from April 1992 to February 1996, with daily sniper shelling and mortar attacks.

Flowers for Sarajevo is based on a true story that came out of
...more
Jana
This is a beautiful picture book that shows the horrors of war and one musician's refusal to give up playing in the face of danger and terror. Told from the point of view of young Drasko, a boy selling flowers in the market square, this is the story of Vedran Smailovic, a cellist for the Sarajevo Opera Orchestra. After a bombing that killed 22 people, he emerged from the rehearsal building to play beautiful music. He repeated this act for 22 days in a row, one for each of the victims. The illust ...more
Lin Lin
At a market in Sarajevo, a boy manages his flower stand after his dad left to fight in the war. An unexpected bombing killed 22 people and left the city in grief. A musician from a nearby orchestra started playing his cello every day for 22 days to commemorate each life killed in the accident. A real story, this book reminds us that each of us has the capacity to find the beauty and kindness within ourselves when violence and hatred seek to destroy and control the world.
Marissa Elera
Incredibly moving, will bring you to tears if you stat playing the song the cellist plays in the book. I love the clean, beautiful illustrations.
Niki (Daydream Reader)
"This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before." - Leonard Bernstein
Vera Godley
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing

ISBN13: 9781682630006
My thoughts: This is a powerful picture book whose impact can easily span a broad scope of ages for interest and direction into understanding the humanity of those whose lives are ruined by war and how kindness can lead the people through the darkness of the occasion.

John McCutcheon has taken an actual place and actual event where the Serb and Croatian war led to the Siege of Sarajevo. He has brought into the story how the war impacted the family of Drasko
...more
Barbara
Drasko loves helping his father sell flowers, and he is particularly struck by the man's ability to smell out the best roses. He wonders about his generosity, though, since the man even gives flowers to another grumpy merchant. Since there is war in the country, Drasko's father must fight and leaves the flowers under Drasko's charge. The other merchants claim the prime areas for selling, and Drasko is pushed further and further from the center of things. When an explosion kills 22 individuals wh ...more
Laura La Rosa
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Listed on the National Council of Social Studies Notable Trade Books for Young People, this book highlights an often forgotten story of the Balkan Wars of the 1990s. This fictional story follows a young boy who sells flowers in Sarajevo after his father is taken away to the war. After an attack in Sarajevo that led to the death of 22 people who were simply trying to buy bread, a cellist decides to play the same song in the square in honor of the 22 people died. This act inspires the boy and thos ...more
Stephanie
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Flowers for Sarajevo is a historical fiction picture book based on the mortar attack on Sarajevo, Bosnia in May 27th 1992. This fictional story based on research tells the story of a boy who sells flowers in the marketplace in Sarajevo for his family while his dad is at war. He has been pushed out of all the good spots in the marketplace by the other merchants and is forced to sell his flowers in a bad location in the square. The only good part about his spot is that he can listen to the orchest ...more
Andy Plemmons
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Touching story from @peachtreepublishers that reminds us that even in times of grief we can offer beauty and kindness to one another.
Angela Blount
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
Originally reviewed for YA Books Central: http://www.yabookscentral.com/kidsfic...

Haunting and hopeful.

The bombing one of the last working bakeries in the city of Sarajevo might have been remembered as just one more senseless act of violence at the height of a terrible ethnic war, if not for the venerable tribute of a lone cellist. The day following the explosion he donned a tuxedo, carried a chair to the crater, and played Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor—a moving and unfinished piece. He came at the same time and re
...more
Angela
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Much needed and well done. Highly recommended for schools.
Elisabeth
Based on true events, this picture book for older readers is set in Sarajevo during their 1992 war. It explores how music can be a moment of shared grief, a tribute to those lost, and a restorative power. I don't think the author did the best job incorporating a fictional boy into Vedran Smailovic's compelling story. It felt contrived, especially since the cellist's story was obviously the heart of the story. It was nice that a CD containing the piece Smailovic played for 22 days was included, b ...more
Michele Knott
Find the hope, beauty and kindness to fight violence.
Beautiful and moving story.
Edward Sullivan
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books, war, music
A heroic musician unites and inspires people in war-torn Sarajevo. Includes a CD of McCutcheon's song "Streets of Sarajevo" and an audio recording of the story.
Dorine White
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
In the market square of Sarajevo is the flower stall of Milo. Drasko is his son and trains with his father to sniff out the best roses. Milo teaches his son that despite all the differences between the people that live in Sarajevo, that just like flowers, they can live side by side and be beautiful.



When war comes to the country, Drasko is left alone to tend the flower stall while his father goes to fight. People become bad-tempered and poor Milo is pushed into the worst c
...more
Tasha
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Drasko sells flowers with his father in the marketplace in Sarajevo. They sell the best roses in the entire city. But when war came, Drasko’s father leaves to fight and Drasko is alone selling flowers. He is pushed out of their usual spot to one at the edge of the market. The only good thing is that he can now hear the symphony playing. Suddenly, the market is hit by a mortar and 22 people are killed. Drasko returns to the market the next day, but all is silent and empty. Then a man with a cello ...more
Linda
It took a while to get this book. Kristy Caldwell has arranged the colors in her beautiful illustrations as often illustrators do, somber browns and grays reflecting the tone, bright colors appear when kindness does. I remember how beautiful the Olympic Games were in Sarajevo, the first time a Communist country had hosted. Then not much later, the places there, among so many others, were destroyed. It was a terrible time. This book is perhaps the most poignant, focusing on a young boy, Drasko, ...more
Jade
This is a heartbreakingly beautiful story.

This story follows Drasko, a young boy who sells flowers with his father in the Sarajevo marketplace. His father is kind, and teaches him about compassion, empathy, and kindness. However, his father is soon drafted into the war, and he had to run the flower stand alone. There is a sudden tragedy: a mortar hit the local bakery, killing twenty-two civilians. Sorrow and disbelief encompass the town (this feeling is described poignantly: "The next day the s
...more
Lisa
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Drasko and his father are flower sellers in the marketplace in Sarajevo. Drasko’s father makes an effort every day to get along with everyone and make even the grouchiest seller feel special. But one day the country is at war, and even Drasko’s father must go away to fight. Drasko sees a change in the marketplace. People are not nice to each other any more, and gradually he gets moved to the worst place in the market - no shade, no water, but he is by where the orchestra practices, so it’s not a ...more
Paula
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Although in picture book format, large pages with illustrations that cover the whole page, this book is for an older audience. It discusses the war in Bosnia and focuses on the event where 22 people were killed in a bombing of the market square in Sarajevo.
It’s main character is young Drasko who has to continue selling flowers even after his father has left to fight in the war. Although with his father he had a prime spot on the market, now that he is by himself he is forced to stand by th
...more
Brett
This particular incident of the Balkan Wars occured when I was 12 years old & just starting to really hit the teenage-self-absorption stride, where anything that wasn't completely about me just didn't penetrate. I was aware that there was a great deal of fighting somewhere in a place called Sarajevo, & that people were being seriously hurt & killed, but that was about it. Reading this story, particularly the details in the afterword, had me teary-eyed - both that such horrors happene ...more
Diane
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book. A young boy tells of being a flower vendor with his father where Serbs and Croats, Christians and Muslims "manage to live side by side" despite all they have to argue about. But when his father has to go to war, the boy becomes responsible for keeping "the flowers fresh and our family fed." The boy notices that the vendors are no longer friendly, people are tired and tense.

Through his perspective, the book recounts the incident in Sarajevo in 1992 in which 22 p
...more
Katie B
In 1992, a mortar shell hit a bakery in Sarajevo, killing 22 people. This is a story of how beautiful things and kindness of strangers will always be more powerful than acts of violence.

Drasko is working at his father's flower stand when tragedy strikes. The next day a cellist sits in the middle of the town square and begins to play. He does this for 22 days, in honor of each person that was killed. This inspires Drasko to continue to do what he can to make his city beautiful again.

What a beau
...more
Kristine Hansen
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think I remember hearing about this story vaguely back when it happened.

This story took the interesting tactic of not telling the story from the point of view of the cello player, but rather from that of a small boy who worked with his father selling flowers on the streets of Sarajevo. Told poignantly, with sensitivity, the story tackles a hard thing - war within one's home town, and the aftermath. The courage of the inhabitants shines through. I felt for the cello player who dared to step ou
...more
Cheriee Weichel
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So so beautiful.
I know the story of the cellist of Sarajevo, but this story highlights a young man who sold flowers in the market where 22 people where killed while waiting in a bakery lineup. Through his eyes we see the increase in distrust and negativity that culminated in that bombing. We also see how Vedran Smailovic's cello playing, in homage to those twenty two victims, encouraged others to show kindness and care for each other again.
I didn't listen to the CD that accompanied the book, b
...more
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Renato and the Lion
  • Shooting at the Stars
  • Tucky Jo and Little Heart
  • The Legendary Miss Lena Horne
  • The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial
  • Rolling Thunder
  • Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans
  • Harlem Hellfighters
  • Thirty Minutes Over Oregon: A Japanese Pilot's World War II Story
  • The Treasure Box
  • All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom
  • Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines
  • Laundry Day
  • The Day War Came
  • The Whispering Town
  • Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten (Early Elementary Story Books, Children's Music Books, Biography Books for Kids)
  • Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México
  • The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!
See similar books…
8 followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

John McCutcheon is an American folk music singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and writer.