When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamison and Omar Mohamed
This graphic novel is heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once. The story of two brothers from Somalia who have spent the majority of their lives alone in a refugee camp in Kenya. One brother is nonverbal and has several other health problems. This is the story of how they survive life in a refugee camp and how they find hope. I loved how accessible this book was. It was a quick, easy read appropriate for those around 8 years old and up. It did discuss hard truths such as days without food, but Omar always manages to come back to hope. I appreciated the focus on the importance of education and the difficulties of obtaining it. This book is a great book to help even young children gain perspective about how difficult life can be for a refugee. The one aspect I wish was different, was that the book ended as soon as Omar and Hassan are resettled. It gives the impression that once a refugee is resettled, their problems are over, which is not usually the case. I wish it had continued to tell the story of resettlement. This is definitely a book you will want to pick up.
Just as citizens in Europe and the U.K. have heroically supported displaced Ukrainians by opening up their homes or securing other housing, assisting with school enrollments, employment needs, and language learning, Americans now have the opportunity via the Welcome.us Sponsor Circles program to directly help newly arrived Ukrainians. The United States has committed to welcoming 100,000 Ukrainians temporarily for a period of two-years and the ability to apply for employment authorization in the U.S. as long as they have a U.S.-based sponsor to petition for them.
When I was in high school, I was fascinated by geography, and it struck me that there was a highway that I could hop on in my car and drive all the way down into South America. As an imaginative young girl growing up on the Texas-Mexico border, the idea of a road that could take me from my sleepy border town, Laredo, Texas, to the edge of the world in South America, left me awe struck. In high school I learned that this highway is called the Pan-American Highway.
Egette was born and raised in a refugee camp in Tanzania, Africa. In 2021, she graduated with a B.S. in psychology from George Mason University. In 2022, she received her MA in psychology with a focus in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, also from George Mason. She was recently featured in Forbes on World Mental Health Day. She founded Safe Haven Space, to empower and educate refugee families in the US about mental health and wellbeing.