When Stars Are Scattered c.2

by Victoria Jamieson

Other authorsVictoria Jamieson (Illustrator), Omar Mohamed (Author), Iman Geddy (Illustrator)
Paperback, 2020


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GN JA c.2


Dial Books (2020), Edition: Illustrated, 264 pages


"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 of family and daily life in a refugee camp"--

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LibraryThing member jennybeast
Spectacular collaborative work between graphic novelist Victoria Jamieson and author Omar Mohamed. Tells Omar and his brother Hassan's story, from fleeing Somalia as very young children, to their long stay in a refugee camp in Kenya, to their long search for their mother and adoption. There's so
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much depth to this book -- refugee experience, recovering from violence and displacement, creating a new family after loved ones are lost, living with disability and both its joys and sorrows, voices from the African diaspora, and ways that people are helping now. It's moving and emotional, but also perfectly pitched for young readers. I particularly liked how the education of girls and women is woven throughout the book. This is a beautiful and strong piece of literature.

Advanced Readers Copy provided by Dial Books for Young Readers.

Started my re-read with the audio book version and was absolutely gutted. The readers are so perfectly on point, and somehow hearing a voice tell this story made it impossible to set my grief over Omar's story aside to focus on the plot. Finished by going back to the paper version. I think the visual context provided by the graphic novel adds a whole layer of humor, loving glances, and reassurances that the characters are surviving despite their circumstances.
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LibraryThing member Salsabrarian
An absolutely essential and important addition to the genre of immigrant and refugee stories. Omar and his brother Hassan are Somalian refugees living in a camp in Kenya. Their father was killed and their mother is missing. Fatuma has been their legal guardian and camp neighbor, caring for the two
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boys as if they were her own. Years in the refugee camp have been an endless stretch of routine and boredom but Omar realizes that going to school may offer him hope for a better life beyond the camp. Life in a refugee camp is intimately rendered in this format. Yes, there are the familiar challenges of lack of food, poverty and despair. But Omar and Hassan are also surrounded by love, community, support and friendship. There are moments of unexpected poignance, as in the soft lines of Fatuma comforting the boys on p. 184. An inspiring must-read for all young people desiring to build a better world. The portrayal of Somalian youth is also very welcome in children's literature.
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LibraryThing member Jadedog13
EVERY school library should own this book! Recommended for 4th grade & up.

This story is filled with both heartbreak & hope and based on a true story. Omar & his younger brother Hassan live in a refugee camp in Kenya after escaping from their war-ravaged home in Somalia. Omar finds strength in his
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community and perseveres despite overwhelming odds.
The story is powerful and tells a remarkable story in a way that young people can understand. It tackles some seriously tough topics like war, extreme hunger, and arranged marriages. This book would be a great choice for a class read and give teachers and students a chance to explore the difficult themes together.
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LibraryThing member Susan.Macura
This is a wonderful graphic novel that presents the realities of being a refugee in a foreign country from a child's perspective, as well as how everyone in the camp dreamed of being relocated to either the United States or Canada. Based on the experiences of one of the authors, it is a compelling
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tale. This would be a great book for middle school libraries.
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LibraryThing member jothebookgirl
Roller Girl author Victoria Jamieson has teamed up with Mohamed, a Somalian refugee, to tell a story inspired by Mohamed’s life. Cared for by kind Fatuma, an older woman who also lost her family, Omar and his little brother Hassan have lived in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya since they were
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small. Omar was only four years old when his home became a refugee camp. The boys’ father was killed and they became separated from their mother while fleeing civil war. Little brother Hassan, is mostly nonverbal and can be difficult to handle. The only word Hassan he has ever spoken is Hooyo. The afterward explains the meaning of this word. Life in the camp is boring and Omar describes it as... “it felt like all you ever did was wait.”
The residents have established a school for the children such as it is. Art class consists of making elephants our of mud. Yet, Omar and his friends realize that they can increase their families’ painfully slim chances at being chosen for resettlement in America or Canada by attending school.

I didn’t realize the book was based on real people and real circumstances until I read the afterword. The author’s notes go into greater detail about Mohamed’s life, how the two met and decided to collaborate, which elements of the story are fictitious, and how to help other refugees through an organization Omar established.

This story reminded me in a very vivid way, the plight of many children in this world of unrest.

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LibraryThing member jnwelch
I loved this GN, When Stars Are Scattered, by a Somalian refugee and the author of Roller Girl, Victoria Jamieson. It's based on Omar's own experiences in a "temporary" refugee camp and Kenya, and the hopes of all there to relocate to a better situation in Canada, the U.S. or other countries. Omar
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is persistent and kind (especially to his functionally disabled brother Hassam), and there is a sunniness to him and the story despite the difficult conditions.

It's one of those good reminders. We may have frustrating political and social issues, but most of us have food to eat, a roof over our head, and chances to better ourselves that others in the world don't.
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LibraryThing member Whisper1
Fortunately, I was able to obtain it through the local library. The librarian, a friend, said she never read a book that tore at her heart, and made her cry, and celebrate the joy!

Based on the true life story of the author, who was a refugee from war torn Samolia.
e and his brother remained in the
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encampment, until finally, through the United Nations, they were able to journey to the United States and live here.

Losing their mother when they ran for their lives, both children cried, and never lost hope they would one day find her.

This is one of the best books I've read in 2020!
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LibraryThing member lindamamak
Graphic Novel that tells the true story of how two orphan boys survive the Syrian refugee camps to get the chance to come to America
LibraryThing member streamsong
As a young child in Somalia, Omar Mohamed watched insurgents appear from nowhere and kill his father while he was working in his field. His mother told them she would soon return, but she didn’t. There was nothing for Omar and his disabled younger brother, Hasan, to do but join up with a group of
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adults and start walking away from the area.

Eventually they arrived in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Food was very scarce there, medical care non-existant, violence and theft rampant. There was no one to care for them except for their elderly adopted mother Fatuma. While she loved and supported the boys, she often could not help their physical needs – often they all went to bed with only a cup of water in their stomachs.

The refugee camps are supposed to be a temporary solution, but days turn into years. Eventually Omar was given a chance to go to school. He didn't know English, the language of the multi-national school and was afraid to leave his brother Hasan during the days. He knew Hasan wouldl never be able to understand Omar’s absence each day, although Fatuma looked after him as best she could in the dangerous camp. And yet he knew that school would provide his best hope for the future.

This fictionalized memoir is sad and funny and feels very true.
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LibraryThing member ewyatt
This is Omar's story of being displaced after conflict in Somalia. Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, ended up at a Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. Omar was just four years old. Not knowing the whereabouts of their mother they are put in the guardianship of the woman with the tent next to theirs,
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Fatuma. The book follows the boys as they grow in the camp. Hassan only speaks one word, has seizures, and trouble sleeping that are not treatable by the medical staff in the camp. Omar initially believing he can't go to school because his brother needs him, is convinced by the people in his life that he should pursue an education.
Eye opening and heartbreaking. There is a lot of text in the graphic novel.
It's richly drawn and a compelling story. There is an afterward from Omar about his life after the book ends.
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LibraryThing member DonnaMarieMerritt
I can't wrap my head around what it must be like to flee from a war-torn country and end up living in a refugee camp for years and years—especially as child who has lost his/her/their parents. And a child caring for a sweet brother with challenges of his own adds even more depth to this
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truth-inspired tale.

When Stars Are Scattered is a graphic novel that explains in heartbreaking, but not overwhelming, detail to children (and adults) what the experience is like.

Based on a true story, I am eager to share this book with my library patrons. I admire you, Omar Mohamed, for sharing your story. Victoria Jamieson, thank you for putting Omar's story into a form that children understand.

What a book!
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LibraryThing member Jeneshyia
Victoria Jamieson retells the story of her co-author, Omar Mohamed, a Somalian refugee. He flees from Somalia and spends most of his childhood in a refugee camp with his younger brother. He accepts his life but he mainly focuses on caring for his brother Hassan, who his disabled. This graphic novel
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gives readers a realistic insight into the daily lives and challenges of refugees in a camp. Despite the circumstances, Omar is kind and ambitious.
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LibraryThing member villemezbrown
Victoria Jamieson dramatizes (and fictionalizes) the story of co-author Omar Mohamed, a Somalian boy who spent most of his childhood without his parents in a refugee camp in Kenya with his brother, a person with disabilities. While it may be a bit too long for its intended juvenile audience, I
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found it an engaging and inspiring story of brotherhood, friendship, foster families, education, perseverance, and hope.
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LibraryThing member bookworm12
I read this graphic novel in audio form after I saw it recommended because of the excellent full-cast recording. The book is the true story of two Somalian boys who lived in a Kenyan refugee camp for years. Omar, the eldest, feels responsible for his young, mute brother. They live with their foster
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mother, struggle to go to school, get an interview with the UN to be placed in a new country, and to find peace when the world is completely out of their control. The audio was excellent, but I do feel like I missed out on not seeing the artwork.

"In a refugee camp life is always the same, except when it isn't."
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LibraryThing member sweetiegherkin
Brothers Omar and Hassan have lived in a Kenyan refugee camp for most of their lives, after fleeing from their war-torn village in Somalia and losing their mother in the chaos. Omar relates the day-to-day of life in the camp, which he laments includes a lot of waiting -- from waiting in line for
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water to waiting for the slim possibility of resettlement one day.

Based on a true story, this was an incredibly compelling read. Omar's story shows the very real difficulties of living in a refugee camp (e.g., crowded spaces, lack of food, etc.) but balances that with the small victories and hopes (e.g., neighbors who are like family, a chance to go to school, etc.). Life is made that much harder for Omar because his brother Hassan has an unspecified disability that is of concern, especially because he has a past history of seizures.

All of the characters felt real, which makes sense being based on true events, and I felt for all of them in different ways. This book did bring me to tears in several places. That being said, it is well worth the read and the bits that might make readers uncomfortable are exactly the reasons why they should be reading this book. The end has a call for action for young readers to get motivated to help refugees in their communities and around the world.

The illustrations are quite beautiful, especially the scenic backgrounds of the night sky. The illustrations of the characters also helps tell the story by bringing forth their emotions.
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LibraryThing member electrascaife
A graphic novel memoir based on Omar Mohamed's childhood in a refugee camp and his resettlement in the US. It's very well told and an important read. Recommended.
LibraryThing member msf59
Omar and his younger brother Hassan have lived in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya for most of their young lives. Forced to leave their mother back in Somalia, they have struggled to survive in this camp, dealing with food shortages and crushing loneliness. Omar pursues his education, with the help
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of his friend Maryam as a ticket out of this dismal life. This incredible graphic novel is based on a true story, and it is beautifully crafted and both heart-breaking and hopeful. Well deserving of the Newbery Award.

“Those who are lost
look to the stars to
lead them home.

The flag of Somalia. Our home
has one star, one background.

But we are not one star. We are millions. Not one background, but millions.

To the untrained eye, the night sky is a scattering of stars, a chaos of light and dark across the universe.

And yet, the stars are not lost.
They form patterns. Constellations. If you know how to look, there are stories woven into the very essense of stars.

Be like a star. Shine your light. Shine your story. For stories will lead us home.”
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LibraryThing member labfs39
I′m always pleased to see a graphic novel receive recognition on the award circuit, and this young adult memoir is well-deserving of being a National Book Award finalist. Omar Mohamed was about five years old when his Somali village was attacked. His father was attacked while tending his fields,
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and his mother sent him and his younger brother, Hassan, running to hide at the neighbors. As the violence spread, everyone in the village fled, and the two boys were swept along. They eventually make it to Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. There they spend the rest of their childhood, waiting year after year for their mother to find them or to be relocated abroad.

Life in the camp is tough, especially for young Omar. His brother doesn′t speak and has seizures, so Omar must watch him while also getting water every day, rations every other week, and firewood for the woman in a nearby tent who cooks for them. When a man befriends Omar and offers to help him start school (fifth grade, so Omar can be with age peers), his world suddenly has possibilities and hope.

When Stars are Scattered is the story of brothers, friendship, war, the kindness of strangers, and the transformative power of education. The artwork is spot-on, and the bold outlines and color convey a childlike simplicity that is appealing, while the story itself deals with complex emotions and difficult issues such as child marriage and the world′s response to the refugee crisis. I highly recommend this book, even if you aren′t sure about graphic novels.
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LibraryThing member RandyMorgan
Omar works incredibly hard to fallow his mother’s wishes- to protect and provide for his little brother, Hassan. This is an incredible undertaking for a four year old. The burden is increased by Hassan’s disabilities: nonverbal and seizures. To top it all off, they live in Dadaab, a refugee
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camp in Kenya.

Omar loves to learn and often relishes tutoring from children who attend school. Omar is given an opportunity to enroll in school and hesitates. How will this effect Hassan? Does it affect the chances of relocation?

This audio book is PHENOMENAL! Listing to it was like listing to a movie. The full cast and sound effects really brought this story to life. I found myself double checking for cars as I was walking or children as I was driving. The end of the book has an epilogue and authors notes that one must listen to.
When Stars Are Scattered started as a juvenile graphic novel. I was able to order it through MeL Cat and am stoked for it to come in.

This book touches on: bullying, child starvation, sports, education, homelessness, foster care, death, child marriage, migration, and war.
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LibraryThing member Lacy_007
Wow. This book was heartbreaking. I was terrified for these kids the entire time I was reading this book and all I wanted was for things to just get better for them. For their dreams to be realized.
LibraryThing member skstiles612
This is the second graphic novel I have read that has greatly touched me. Omar and his brother Hassan are victims of the civil war in their country of Somalia. Omar witnesses his father's death. He runs to tell his mother. She thrusts Hassan into his arms and tells him to run. He joins thousands of
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others running from soldiers. He and his brother end up in a refuge camp in Kenya. Fatuma is their legal guardian, since they have no adults. This story tells of his life in the refugee camp. The struggles of raising a younger brother who can't speak and has medical issues. It tells of his dream of going to school and making a better life. It tells of the dreams of everyone in the camp, dreaming of leaving the camps one day. This is not an easy book to read. One of my students told me I HAD to read it. Before I could check it in and take it home another kids said, "I want to read it." So, I did what every good teacher would do, who wants to make readers of their students, I checked it out to him. I purchased my own copy to read this weekend. I am glad I did. We who live here in the land of the free have no right to complain when we read books like this. Our lives are so easy compared to the many refugees in camps all over the world. This is a definite must read.
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LibraryThing member nifflerslibrary
It’s a memoir in graphic novel format, and I love how bright and vivid the colors are.⁠

Omar and his brother have been living in a refugee camp in Kenya for seven years when our book opens. Along with thousands of others, they’ve fled Somalia when war broke out in their country. The details
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surrounding how they ended up in the camp come later in the book, and I am not going to spoil them for you. They’re cared for by Fatuma, who is a sort of foster mom for them, and Omar does a lot of the work that needs to be done to keep the three of them alive.⁠

One of the most memorable things for me from early in the book was the fact that they didn’t have something as simple as a real soccer ball. Instead the children in the camp gathered up plastic bags and fashioned them into a ball like shape so they would have something to play with. ⁠

We get to see and experience Omar’s reservations about deciding to attend school rather than take care of his brother. Making the decision was hard for Omar and anyone who has had to make a difficult decision and weigh the potential pros and cons of a situation will be able to appreciate his struggle.⁠

Omar has to fight against so many things at such a young age and while being responsible for his brother. It’s inspiring to anyone who feels like just getting through the day is difficult. It’s such a great book for anyone who needs a reminder that they’re not alone in their struggle to find a reason to move forward, to reach for something that might be just out of reach, or to hope for a better future.⁠
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LibraryThing member sloth852
A beautifully illustrated graphic novel that explains refugee life in an age-appropriate way.


National Book Award (Finalist — Young People's Literature — 2020)
Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee — Middle Grade — 2 — 2023)
Sequoyah Book Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2022)
Georgia Children's Book Award (Finalist — 2022)
Great Stone Face Book Award (Nominee — 2022)
Utah Beehive Book Award (Nominee — 2022)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award (Nominee — Grades 6-8 — 2022)
Eisner Award (Nominee — 2021)
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award (Nominee — Grades 6-8 — 2022)
Nutmeg Book Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2023)
Mark Twain Readers Award (Nominee — 2023)
Sunshine State Young Reader's Award (Nominee — Grades 6-8 — 2022)
Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2023)
Arkansas Teen Book Award (Nominee — 2022)
Blue Hen Book Award (Nominee — 2022)
NCSLMA Battle of the Books (Middle School — 2023)
Virginia Readers' Choice (Nominee — Elementary — 2022)
Kids' Book Choice Awards (Finalist — 2021)
Josette Frank Award (Winner — 2021)
Black-Eyed Susan Book Award (Nominee — 2022)
UKLA Book Award (Shortlist — 2022)
Children's Africana Book Award (Honor Book — Older Readers — 2021)
Odyssey Award (Honor — 2021)
Volunteer State Book Award (Nominee — Middle School — 2022)
Evergreen Teen Book Award (Nominee — Middle School — 2023)
Maud Hart Lovelace Award (Nominee — 2022)
Lectio Book Award (Nominee — 2023)
YouPer Award (Honor — Honor — 2021)
Three Stars Book Award (Nominee — 2021)
CYBILS Awards (Winner — 2020)
Charlotte Huck Award (Honor — 2021)
Schneider Family Book Award (Honor — Middle Grades — 2021)
Nerdy Book Award (Graphic Novels — 2020)
Project LIT Book Selection (Middle Grade — 2021)
OYAN Graphic Rave (Middle Grade — 2021)
Chicago Public Library Best of the Best: Kids (Fiction for Older Readers — 2020)


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Original publication date


Physical description

264 p.; 8.31 inches


0525553908 / 9780525553908



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