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.