When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, is a book that when you pick it up, it appears to be a graphic novel for children. It is presented in a graphic/comic format and it is a true story. So, it is not fiction. It is Omar Mohamed’s story. Omar is a Somalian refugee who ended up in Kenya at the age of four with his younger brother, Hassan. Hassan does not speak and he suffers from seizures.
The story begins when Omar is 11. The two brothers are still refugees living in a crowed Kenyan refugee camp. They believe they are likely orphans because they last saw their mother telling them to run as she tried to find her husband while facing a violent attack from armed soldiers.
This is a story that covers 15 years of Omar’s life. It is tragic, realistic, and ultimately full of hope. It opens up the topics of refugees, why people run away from their country, being without a country, limited opportunities in a “closed” refugee camp, the difference in opportunities for boys verses girls in such a camp, compassion and community within a camp, friendships, and so much more.
The text and graphics come together to tell the story well. It provides depth and humanity to the reality of children who are refugees. It would a good book for a ‘family read’ (with lots of discussion) for families with kids 10 and up. Teachers may also find it to be appropriate to assign or read to a group. It is a good book. I recommend it.