Today is my turn to share with you this truly wonderful graphic novel which depicts the true story of life in a refugee camp through the eyes of a young boy.
For almost as long as he can remember, Omar and his brother Hassan have lived in the sprawling Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. Although life is tough since being separated from their mother in Somalia, they’re looked after by Fatuma, a kind neighbour.
There’s never enough to eat, the queue for water seems never-ending and life is monotonous. The people existing there dream of being called to the UN office to be interviewed for possible relocation to America.
Omar spends his time caring for his younger brother, doing chores and following his dream of getting an education. Will he ever get to leave the camp and live a normal life? If he does, what about finding his mother?
This is an absolutely stunning read which I would highly recommend. It gives readers a glimpse into life in an overcrowded refugee camp – we see it all: the queues, the poverty, the desperation. We also get to see what happens when people lapse into despair and lose all hope.
It’s so important that this is an accurate description of a life in a camp with all its hardships but presented in a way which is suitable for its intended middle grade audience. Though-provoking rather than shocking, I can envisage this sparking a lot of interest and discussion amongst a class.
This is one of the few graphic novels I’ve seen which takes on this serious issue and it more than does it justice. The illustrations are brilliant and play an integral part in the story telling. I think this format may help share Omar and Hassan’s story with readers who may otherwise not have selected a book about refugees.
I loved reading the author notes at the end where we got to follow up with Omar in the present story find out what he was doing. It brought home the fact that this graphic novel was based on someone’s real life story.
An insightful, at times heart-wrenching, but ultimately hopeful book. A must-read for anyone aged 10+
*Many thanks to Faber Children’s Books for sending me this title to review. Make sure you visit some of the other stops on the blog tour too*