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  • Writer's pictureMuslim Kids Book Nook

When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson & Omar Mohamed

๐Ÿ“š BOOK REVIEW ๐Ÿ“š Title: When Stars Are Scattered Author: Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed Illustrator: Victoria Jamieson/Iman Geddy Publisher: Penguin Random House Age: 10-13 ๐ŸŒŸ Islamic content: 'Indeed after hardship comes ease.' ๐ŸŒŸ Concerns: khat is mentioned, bullying that turns into a physical altercation ๐ŸŒŸ Summary: After the killing of their father and their village is attacked, Omar and his non-verbal younger brother, Hassan are forced to flee their home with their neighbors while separated from their mother. They arrive at a refugee camp in Kenya along with many others. They are assigned to be under the guardianship of Fatuma, an elderly Somali auntie who cares deeply for the two young boys. Life at the camp is tough even for basic necessities, limited food, limited medical care for his brother's epilepsy, clothing, bedding etc. He is caught in a dilemma when an opportunity for school comes his way. He is the only one who has been taking care of Hassan all these years at the camp. However, he take his chances and it paves the way to a better future for him and Hassan. ๐ŸŒŸ Review: This incredibly visual book is a powerful story based on Omar Mohamed's lived experience in the refugee camp. It touches on so many tough subjects that refugees are faced with on a daily basis. 1. Patience with the hardships of their circumstance 2. The years of wait that is required from all angles 3. Holding on to hope for a better opportunities 4. The baggage of emotional turmoil that comes with living there 5. The lack of opportunities for their 6. The risks that some are willing to take for a better life 7. The sacrifices some of these families are forced to make based on the reality of circumstances 8. The unfortunate realities of the masses when the doors of opportunities seem to close This book has brought to light so many realities of life of those living in refugee camps. The book comes to an incredible close that really display that difficult moment of separation, leaving behind everything and everyone you have ever known for a better life ahead. It has even resurfaced some of my emotional experiences of those days of fleeing to safety. I was so pleased to see that Omar has held on to his faith and kept up his salah. There is also a page that he reflects on an ayah from the Qur'an, 'Indeed after hardship comes ease.' Ramadan and Eid ul-Fitr are also touched upon in this story. The ups and downs of relationships between the protagonist and other characters is so perfectly illustrated. (his brother Hassan, their guardian Fatuma, his best friend Jeri, as well as other classmates from the camp.) ๐ŸŒŸ One of Omar's classmates, Maryam, is taken out of school and married to another refugee in the camp. This might spark a discussion with your child as they take in the complex dynamics of the story. Another thing that comes up is the use of khat and it's ability to make your mind forget. Because of this I would suggest the reader to be maybe 10 and up, depending on the child. ๐ŸŒŸ After I finished the book, the thought of these two boys losing their father and being separated from their mother and growing up in the refugee camp for 10 years had lingered with me for days. I cannot fathom the heartache their mother must have carried not knowing the fate of her boys. To see that Omar's dream has turned into a reality all these years later is incredible. I am so glad that this story was written and published. ๐ŸŒŸ Available everywhere books are sold. #whenstarsscatter #omarmohamed #victoriajamieson #refugeestory #muslimkidsbooks #islamickidsbooks #muslimauthor #muslimkidslit #raisingmuslimreaders

June 28/2020

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