Genre: Graphic novel, historical fiction, war
Key Stage: KS4/5 (the novel contains harrowing and brutal imagery and scenes of violence which some readers may find disturbing so would recommend for older readers and conducting independent research too).
When Stars Are Scattered, authors: Omar Mohamed, Victoria Jamieson, illustrators: Iman Geddy, Victoria Jamieson (2020)
I have recently been on a journey to read more graphic novels, having gone most of my life without really picking one up. Thanks to Ms Carter-Dunn’s brilliant recommendation, I have read three really great graphic novels this year, with my latest one easily being one of the best book I have read in all of 2021.
When Stars Are Scattered is a beautiful graphic novel which centres around the story of Omar and his younger brother Hassan, who fleeing from the civil war in Somalia, have spent their entire childhoods in one of Kenya’s largest refugee camp. Based on a true story, Omar takes us on a journey of what it means to be a refuge, the heartbreak of losing those closest to you, the importance of community as well as the hope for a better life. The art in the book is mesmerising and adds to the atmosphere of the story.
Being from Somalia myself, it was a very emotional read as the story of civil war and leaving your home in search for a better life is one which I can relate to. Throughout the story, you grow really attached to the characters and begin to have empathy for the struggles that they face while in the refugee camp. I cried when I finished reading the last page. I am not going to tell you why; you will just have to read and find out!
Reviewer: Ms Elmi