Wednesday, April 15, 2020

When the Stars are Scattered and My Name is Konisola

Jamieson, Victoria and Mohamed, Omar. When the Stars are Scattered.
April 14th 2020 by Dial Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss

Omar and his younger brother live in a refugee camp in Kenya after having to leave Somalia over seven years ago. Their father is dead, and they cannot locate their mother. They have a foster mother, Fatuma, who helps them with food and clothing, and they have a tent in which to sleep. Hassan doesn't speak, and has only ever said the word for mother. When a gentleman comes to the camp and encourage Omar to attend school, he doesn't want to leave his brother, but once he starts, he hopes that his education will help make things better for him and his brother.
Strengths: Jamieson's illustrations are excellent, and Omar's plight well portrayed. Details of living in a camp, having parents be missing, and struggling to find adequate food and clothing are all going to be new to many of my students. Omar not wanting to go to school because of his brother is admirable, and I hope that seeing what a school is like in a refugee camp might help students appreciate how goo they have it in the US. (At least at my school.)
Weaknesses: This felt like it ended abruptly, and I would have liked a bit more details all through the story. I wonder if pages were missing from the E ARC, because I didn't see notes about the real life Omar who co-wrote this.
What I really think: I will definitely purchase, as I think it is helpful for my students to understand what children go through in other parts of the world. Having this information presented in graphic novel format is a gummy vitamin approach to getting them to discover this.

Siegel, Alisa. My Name is Konisola
March 17th 2020 by Second Story Press
E ARC provided by Netgalley

One day at school, Konisola is surprised when her mother picks her up at school and takes her to the airport. Before she knows it, she is arriving in Canada. Since her mother was trying to escape the abuse dealt out by her brother-in-law after her husband's death, Konisola's mother doesn't have a well-developed plan, but there is another woman on the plane who is Nigerian who helps out. She invites the two to stay with her for a while, but when she must go back to Nigeria to tend a sick relative, other plans need to be made. When Konisola's mother becomes ill and has to be hospitalized, a nurse steps in and offers to take the girl into her household, which also includes her daughter and grandson. Konisola starts school, but her mother has advanced cancer, so she struggles with her new surroundings. There is an immigration trial, and Konisola is allowed to stay in the country.
Strengths: It's good to see stories about immigrants from this part of the world; I had a student last year who was from Nigeria and was desperate to read books involving her former country. My students also frequently like books about children experiencing family difficulties as well.
Weaknesses: I wish that Konisola's mother hadn't been ill; I know this is based on a true story, but I have a lot of students who came to the US with their families, and I'm looking for books about the ordinary struggles immigrants face.
What I really think: I may wait for #ownvoices stories of this kind. This was a perfectly fine book, but I agree with the Kirkus review on this one.

Ms. Yingling

No comments:

Post a Comment