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When Stars are Scattered

Written by Victoria Jamieson, Omar Mohamed

Illustrated by Iman Geddy, Victoria Jamieson

Key Stage 2 Key Stage 3 Family / Home Stories Personal Social Health Economic (PSHE)

LoveReading View on When Stars are Scattered

A true tale of resilience and hope brought to life in this graphic novel memoir

Omar Mohammed spent his childhood at the enormous Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya after fleeing the war in Sudan with his younger brother, having seen their father killed and becoming separated from their mother. Eventually resettled to America, he was already working on his memoir for adults when he met the Newbery Honor winning author who persuaded him to turn his story into a graphic novel. This accessible format and the first-person narration create an intimate picture of a very real boy and what life in a refugee camp is really like. It importantly puts a face and a personality to the refugee crisis. We feel the hunger, the physical drudgery, the monotony and the frustrations, but also the sense of community, the love and support of friends and neighbours and the moments of joy and the passion for learning. Omar and his friends Jeri, Nima and Maryam all want to learn and aspire to escape to the West. The injustice of the lack of spaces for older children, of girls who are not allowed to study and of who gets selected for resettlement are unforgettably conveyed. The relationships between Omar and Hassan, his mute and damaged brother, and with Fatima who lost all her sons in Sudan but cares for them is beautifully and movingly portrayed. They never lose hope that they might find their mother and in the afterword we discover how that story turned out. Readers cannot help but develop empathy and compassion for people like Omar. This is an outstanding book that is truly engaging, educative and heart-breaking but ultimately a story of hope and doing the best you can. An essential purchase for schools.

Joy Court

More About This Book

If you would like to get involved and learn more about this issue we have a selection of resources and recommended reading in Refugees - Books to Raise Awareness.

When Stars are Scattered Synopsis

A heart-wrenching true story about life in a Kenyan refugee camp that will restore your faith in real-life happy endings.

Omar and his brother Hassan, two Somali boys, have spent a long time in the Dadaab refugee camp. Separated from their mother, they are looked after by a friendly stranger. Life in the camp isn't always easy. The hunger is constant . . . but there's football to look forward to, and now there's a chance Omar will get to go to school . . .

With a heart-wrenching fairytale ending, this incredible true story is brought to life by Victoria's stunning illustrations. This book perfectly depicts life in a refugee camp for 8-12 year olds.

When Stars are Scattered Press Reviews

'Does everything one can ask of a book, and then some.' Kirkus

'Fantastic graphic novel.' The New York Times Book Review

'Sensitive and poignant.' School Library Journal

'Not to be missed.' Booklist

Book Information

ISBN: 9780571363858
Publication date: 2nd July 2020
Author: Victoria Jamieson, Omar Mohamed
Illustrator: Iman Geddy, Victoria Jamieson
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 264 pages
Year Groups: Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3
Topics: Family / Home Stories, Personal Social Health Economic

About Victoria Jamieson, Omar Mohamed

Victoria Jamieson is the creator of the graphic novels All's Faire in Middle School and Newbery Honor winner Roller Girl. She received her BFA in illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design and worked as a children's book designer before becoming a freelance illustrator. She has also worked as a portrait artist aboard a cruise ship, and has lived in Australia, Italy, and Canada. Now she lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and son. Omar Mohamed spent his childhood at the Dadaab camp, after his father was killed and he ...

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