When Stars are Scattered
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Eleven-year-old Omar lives with his little brother Hassan in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. They’ve been there for seven years now, waiting for the civil war in Somalia to end so that they can go home to the family farm and try to find their parents.
Life in the camp is hard: Omar has to look after Hassan, queue for water, queue for food. Dadaab feels like a giant waiting room, but Omar looks for hope around every corner. He plays football with his friends, entertains Hassan, and when he starts going to school, begins to reframe his future: if he can get an education, perhaps he can become a UN social worker and help other children like him.
Told in graphic novel form, this is the true story of Omar Mohamed’s childhood in Dadaab. Searing and poignant, we see how hope is built, and lost, and built again; how the days can be never ending and then one thing can change everything; how your future can be reformulated and then reformulated again. Beautifully told, with themes of equality, disability, and the value of education, it’s moving and sad and hopeful, all at the same time.
Note: Contrary to what the characters do in this book, you should never put anything in anyone’s mouth when they are having a seizure, and always refer to first aid instructions.