Flowers for Sarajevo

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 boy’s familiar routine is shattered when a mortar shell hits the bakery, killing twenty-two people. The next day, a cellist from the Sarajevo Opera Orchestra goes to the crater and plays the most beautiful music that Drasko can imagine. Inspired, he looks for ways to ease the sorrow of those around him. Based on real events of the Bosnian War, award-winning songwriter and storyteller John McCutcheon tells the uplifting story of the power of beauty in the face of violence and suffering. The story comes to life with the included CD in which cellist Vedrun Smailovic accompanies McCutcheon and performs the melody that he played in 1992 to honor those who died in the Sarajevo mortar blast.

I HAD to read this book because I’ve spent time in Bosnia and Croatia and my father has spent some significant time there helping in the post-war rebuilding efforts.

First, I was really glad at the end there was a large history lesson given to properly put this story in context. I found it to be informative, easy to read and understand as well as very powerful once you stop to think about what the story was saying. I really want to give the little boy a hug and buy dozens of his flowers now….

 It is a kids book with adorable illustrations but for anyone not familiar with this area of the world, the story talks about a bombing which killed people. If you’re a caregiver who doesn’t believe in exposing your child to ‘violence’ then you may not like this book. For everyone else this is a fantastic book to not only teach a little bit about history but an excellent way to open the conversation to death and other hard topics including what could your child do to help others in their time of grief.

 I have 2 daughters with autism and have found books similar to these have been very helpful in talking about otherwise difficult subjects with them.

 This book perfectly captured the spirit of the people and left me in tears at the simplicity and beauty pouring forth from its pages. I immediately had to go to Amazon and pre-order a copy for my dad to read to his grandkids.  In America with its extreme divisiveness this book is a much needed lesson in how people of different backgrounds can still find common ground to be there for one another. Coming from an Irish family it’s a lesson that has taken us quite a while to learn as well so it may be more of something that is needed across the globe rather than in pockets which just goes to show the true beauty of this story in that it’s adaptable across all cultures.

 I’m not sure I’ll ever really look at roses or listen to cello music the same way again.

 Thank you to Netgalley and Peachtree Publishers for allowing me to review this book.

 Buy on Amazon:

*synopsis and pic from

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