Cardboard City follows the lives of two young teens—members of a Romani family. Saida and Nikola experience harsh discrimination at school and crushing poverty in their informal settlement, spread out under a bridge in Belgrade. Their dreams of escape and of leaving deplorable conditions behind trigger a family crisis. In particular, Nikola is a gifted trumpeter and aspires to be a famous musician, but it proves challenging to surmount the enormous barriers between his present situation and the self-mastery and life of dignity he seeks.
Introducing young readers to the world of Eastern Europe’s Rom, Cardboard City is evocative of the virulent racism, injustice and inhumane conditions endured by this community to this very day.
About the authors
Katarina Jovanovic was born in Belgrade, Serbia, where she worked as a journalist in radio broadcasting. She is the recipient of The Christie Harris Children’s Literature Award (The BC and Yukon Book Prizes) for The King Has Goat Ears (Tradewind Books), and the Chocolate Lily Award for The Blue Vase (Tradewind Books). Katarina teaches education at Vancouver Community College, and lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband, Bojan.
Hedina Tahirović-Sijerčić is the author of six children’s books, several collections of poetry and many other books including the autobiographical novella Rom Like Thunder,and Romani čhib: An Overview of the Romani Language and Culture. She is also the co-editor—with Cynthia Levine-Rasky—and a contributing author of A Romani Women’s Anthology: Spectrum of the Blue Water.
⭐️ “A cleareyed and artful view into the lives and dreams of two Romani teens.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review