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a novel by JENNY LOMBARD


author bio & reviews



Grand Canyon Reader Award

Nutmeg Book Award

Sunshine State Young Reader's Award

Georgia Children's Book Award

Iowa Children's Choice Award

William Allen White Children's Book Award

Maine Student Book Award

Massachusetts Children's Book Award

Sequoyah Children's Book Award

South Carolina Children's Book Awards

South Dakota Prairie Pasque Award

2011-2012 Virginia Readers Choice List


Jules Feiffer
Pulitzer prize-winning author
“In this sweet and engrossing first novel, Jenny Lombard draws on her background as a public school teacher to fashion an urban multi-ethnic / racial story that presents in alternating first-person chapters the evolution of an unlikely and difficult friendship — that of an African-American girl from the neighborhood and the unwelcome new kid in class: a girl from Kosovo who speaks no English.

Told simply, honestly, and with resonance, teacher Lombard has written a page-turner that teaches more than lesson.”

Kirkus Reviews
“Two girls from different worlds and cultures come together in this deft representation of immigration and multicultural friendship. Escaping the horror of war, persecution and destruction of their Albanian life, Drita and her family emigrate from Kosovo to New York City. Thrown into the school environment of rival groups and peer discrimination, Drita’s lack of English, coupled with her refugee status, immediately places her in a vulnerable position. Simultaneously, Maxie, a typical urban African – American girl, struggles to stay out of trouble despite peer influences and is assigned the task of learning about the new girl as part of her social-studies project. Brought together in this way, the two girls overcome barriers of language and custom to resolve issues they both have in common.

Alternating chapters in the voice of each girl reveal more similarities than differences. Both are missing mothers; Maxie is still adjusting to the accidental death of hers, while Drita is coping with her mother’s debilitating depression since leaving their war-torn country. Loving and level-headed grandmothers act as surrogates. Lombard does a fine job of portraying characters displaying growth through some serious circumstances while maintaining their childlike qualities.”



published by PUTNAM
other reviews

“...a wonderful book...”
The Cincinnati Library

“...more a tale of the power of love than of refugees... Read it aloud to groups and let the conversations begin.”
School Library Journal



Jenny Lombard is a writer and a teacher. As a writer, she has had numerous plays produced off-off-Broadway, developed an original series for Nickelodeon, and published a humorous dating book (How To Stay Single Forever, Warner Books, 1997). She lives in New York City with her husband, son, and two cats. Drita, My Homegirl is her first novel.

Where did Jenny get the idea for Drita, My Homegirl? “As a public school teacher in New York City, I teach children from many different cultures. One year in my class, I took a survey: There were nine languages besides English spoken by my students! Some of my students were Albanian, and at that time the war in Kosova was in the news every day. I read about refugee families moving to communities across the USA to escape persecution. It made me wonder what life would be like for a family like that, and the kinds of challenges they would face. Once I came up with Drita’s character, the story just came naturally.”

  GP Putnam’s Sons, NYC
isbn 0-399-24380-1
© 2006 Jenny Lombard
cover design & illustration © 2006 Jane Archer