Serbian / Serbia
(The black bird)
Beograd: Kreativni centar, 2020. – 142 p.
Loss of parent | Grief | Withdrawal | Afterworld | Fantasy fiction
Reading age: 10+
White Ravens issue: 2021
Twelve-year old Želja is in mourning over her beloved father, who died in an accident. Because she believes her mother and her aunt cannot understand her feelings, she withdraws into herself and spends more and more time at the cemetery. There she thinks she can sense her father’s violin music and soon encounters a strange young man, Vuk. He turns out to be a ghostly creature who is able to guide Želja into the world beyond. That world has the appearance of an amusement park, but for Želja it becomes a horror trip that she can barely escape from. In her debut children’s book Aleksandra Jovanović (b. 1996) succeeds in tracing the grief of a young girl and the rejection she experiences from family and friends. By letting the realistic plot slide into a suspenseful fantastic setting, she marks out a moment of healing for the main character. In 2020 “Crna ptica“ was awarded Serbia’s Politikin Zabavnik Literary Prize for Young Readers. [KW]