When Stars Are Scattered

Victoria Jamieson, Omar Mohamed

nonfiction memoir middle grade
emotional sad slow-paced

264 pages | first published 2020

Heartbreak and hope exist together in this remarkable graphic novel about growing up in a refugee camp, as told by a Somali refugee to the Newbery Honor-winning creator of Roller Girl.

Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day.

Heartbreak, hope, and gentle humor exist together in this graphic novel about a childhood spent waiting, and a young man who is able to create a sense of family and home in the most difficult of settings. It's an intimate, important, unforgettable look at the day-to-day life of a refugee, as told to New York Times Bestselling author/artist Victoria Jamieson by Omar Mohamed, the Somali man who lived the story.

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emotional 85%
hopeful 68%
inspiring 63%
sad 55%
informative 50%
reflective 36%
challenging 29%
adventurous 11%
dark 10%
tense 9%
funny 4%
lighthearted 1%


medium 56%
fast 32%
slow 10%

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