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Publishers Weekly Reviews

Based on coauthor Mohamed's childhood after fleeing Somalia on foot with his younger brother, this affecting graphic novel follows the brothers' life in a Kenyan refugee camp. Though loving foster mother Fatuma cares for the boys, Mohamed watches out for his largely nonverbal younger brother, Hassan, who experiences occasional seizures, and is fearful of leaving him even to attend school. Mohamed longs to find their biological mother, and—like nearly everyone in the vast camp—waits for a life-changing, seemingly arbitrary UN interview that will determine whether the boys will be resettled, perhaps in the U.S. or Canada. Jamieson and Mohamed together craft a cohesive, winding story that balances daily life and boredom, past traumas, and unforeseen outcomes alongside camp denizens' ingenuity and community. Expressive, memorable characters by Jamieson (Roller Girl) work and play against backdrops of round-topped UN tents, while colorist Iman Geddy's deep purple skies drive home the title. The result of this team effort is a personal and poignant entry point for young readers trying to understand an unfair world. Back matter includes photographs of the brothers and authors' notes. Ages 9–12. (Apr.)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.


A Somali refugee who spent his childhood at the Dadaab camp and the Newbery Honor-winning creator of Roller Girl present the graphic-novel story of a young refugee who struggles with leaving behind his nonverbal brother when he has an opportunity to help his family by going to school. Simultaneous and eBook. Illustrations. - (Baker & Taylor)

"Omar and his younger brother Hassan live in a refugee camp, and when an opportunity for Omar to get an education comes along, he must decide between going to school every day or caring for his nonverbal brother in this intimate and touching portrayal offamily and daily life in a refugee camp"-- - (Baker & Taylor)

A National Book Award Finalist, this remarkable graphic novel is about growing up in a refugee camp, as told by a former Somali refugee to the Newbery Honor-winning creator of Roller Girl.

Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day.

Heartbreak, hope, and gentle humor exist together in this graphic novel about a childhood spent waiting, and a young man who is able to create a sense of family and home in the most difficult of settings. It's an intimate, important, unforgettable look at the day-to-day life of a refugee, as told to New York Times Bestselling author/artist Victoria Jamieson by Omar Mohamed, the Somali man who lived the story. - (Penguin Putnam)

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