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Gleam and Glow

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  487 ratings  ·  83 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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4.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  487 ratings  ·  83 reviews

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Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Eve Bunting's Gleam and Glow is inspired by a true story from the Bosnian war in the 90's, but its message transcends a time and place. War is war, and white tents always seem to house refugees.

Bunting presents the fear and anxiety of a looming conflict from the perspective of children: their put-on bravado, their simplicity and hope in small things. Although removed from the fighting, young Marina and Viktor recognize the signs of change in their village and at home. They cling to anything tha
Lauren Smith
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Gleam and Glow" by Eve Bunting is an exceptional historical-fiction picture book that illustrates the difficulties of living in a war-torn country from the perspective of a young boy. The book does have some parts that may be strong for a young reader, but there is no direct violence and would still be appropriate for the upper grades. This story would be perfect for teaching a lesson on global perspectives or empathy, as well as for teaching the concept of what it means to be a refugee. I woul ...more
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I appreciated everything about this book. From the beautiful impressionist style illustrations to Eve Bunting’s recounting of the difficult, devastating yet hopeful story of fleeing civil war from an eight-year-old boy’s point of view. This picture book puts names, faces, souls to those refugees in every corner of the world. An important read.
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
Nov 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
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.

Nov 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Tracey Walsh
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Don't judge, my peeps, but I had to put this up since I am so far behind on my 2016 reading goal. This book is fabulous, though. Teaches a powerful theme, is filled with lots of sensory details, big conflicts, memorable moments, and plenty of text connections to the world, our own lives and loads of books we've read. A fabulous mentor text.
Jul 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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:
May 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war, picture-books
Story of the Bosnian War and the hope that sustains people during war and dislocation.
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it
When I first saw this book, I had an underwhelming first impression because it was so simple and basic with the layout and design in comparison to other picture books I have looked at. It lacked boldness and color that we are so used to stereotyping with any book categorized as a picture book. However, that may be the very reason I enjoyed reading this book. There was a lack of distraction from the real content and message author Even Bunting was conveying to the audience. The focus seemed to be ...more
"In spite of everything, they lived."

Viktor and younger sister, Marina, are scared when their father goes off to fight with the underground. As refugees continue to flee, the family learns about the war when the refugees stop at their house at night along the way toward the border. Viktor knows that they, too, will have to leave eventually and is afraid that his father will never find them again. One day, a man gives the family two goldfish and asks them to take care of them as long as they can.
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: War and refugee requests for the young.
Made tears come to my eyes.

A touching story of a family whose father has gone to fight with the underground. When the war comes to close the mother has to flee with the children. Two fish that have been left with them by an earlier refugee are put in the pond. The father finds them in the refugee camp, and though their house has been burnt to the ground the fish have survived and multiplied.

Deals with children's fears and the resulting bedwetting and reverting to thumb sucking, when everything g
Mrs. Ruigrok
This book is based on a true story. It tells of the realities of the struggles of families having to leave behind things they love and yet how hope and survival can overcome. It has beautiful illustrations too.
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great for Kids

My fifth graders loved this story. We used it to practice questioning before, during, and after. They loved the ending.
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Powerful! Lots of connections for 4th graders.
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
Good story about unexpected gifts and what remains after loss and transition.
Ava Anderson
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gleam and Glow by Eve Bunting is a great book about a little boy who's father has joined the underground. Viktor the boy and his younger sister are both worried because everyday people are passing there house and tell all the horrible things the side they are fighting have done. A man gave them a gold fish and Viktor's sister got too attached to it and the mother was saying they would have to leave soon. Eve Bunting made this a wonderful book based on a true story and everything that happens to ...more
Nov 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Caitlin C
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Gleam and Glow is a work of historical fiction by Eve Bunting. Her inspiration for this story, found on the very last page, is the tale of a boy who received two fish shortly before the Bosnian War in the early 1990's. Because they had to flee their home, the fish were left behind in a lake. When the family returned years later, they found that the fish had not only survived but thrived over the years. Gleam and Glow creatively retells this story and expands on it to encompass the trials and suf ...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
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
01/15: Learned about this one from, of all places, P. Miller's ELL Aide Meeting Materials. Excellent book! Read aloud with the boys. They enjoyed. Makes for interesting conversations and appreciation for what we have.

Book Description:
Sylvada's (A Symphony of Whales) eerie autumnal oil paintings provide the emotional backdrop for another Bunting tale of a family forced into exile (So Far from the Sea).

After Papa leaves to join the underground in his war-torn country, life for the eight-year-old
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Rachel Kenney
Nov 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Gleam and Glow is about a young boy named Viktor and his family. His father had to leave to be part of the Liberation Army. While his father is gone, people from the neighborhood come to take shelter in their home. One of the men leave his sister, Marina, with two fish. She loves the fish dearly but with the war headed their way, they are forced to leave the fish in a pond along with their home. When they reach the outskirts of the country they stay in a refugee camp for months. When they return ...more
Jenn Henderson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oksanna Scheidt
Eve Bunting has done it again with Gleam and Glow. She does such an amazing job portraying the hardship that comes with war and adapting to the times where all you truly have is yourself and your family. The book starts off when the father has to leave for war. The family then has to find refuge as the war proceeds on and they move around a lot. Eventually, they are able to come home but it takes awhile and there are sacrifices that need to be done.

War is the big social issue in the book. The h
Kate Ballan
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-reviews
Gleam and Glow is a book about the hardships of the Bosnian war. Written from the perspective of a little boy named Trevor, the reader gets to experience the struggles families experience during war. At the beginning of the book the father leaves his family to go to war. Eventually the family has to also leave to find refuge. They are too poor to have vehicles so they have to walk all the way to a different country. Once there they get to live in a safe camp and they actually have a good time wi ...more
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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
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