When Stars Are Scattered is the extraordinary story of Omar Mohamed’s experience of growing up in a refugee camp, as told by Mohamed to graphic novelist Victoria Jamieson (Roller Girl).
Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, live a simple and often dull life in a refugee camp in Kenya. Forced to leave their home and their parents behind in a civil war-torn Somalia when they were very young, they have spent the majority of their lives being able to depend only on each other and on Fatuma, the kind-hearted woman who lives in the tent across the path from them. But although they are safe from the war itself, the camp’s resources are scarce. They don’t have enough to eat, let alone access to the medical care that the nonverbal Hassan needs or the education that Omar desperately longs for.
So when Omar has a chance to attend school, he is overjoyed. But the opportunity means that he will have to leave Hassan alone for several hours a day, forcing Omar to choose between improving life for his family in the future and his responsibility to his brother in the present.
Images and text work together beautifully in this graphic novel. Jamieson’s characteristically orderly panel layout makes for a cohesive story that flows effortlessly. Soft lines and simple backgrounds allow dialogue and relationships between characters to take center stage. Jamieson’s illustrations—particularly, the vivid expressions on characters’ faces—enhance and deepen the book’s emotional impact. When Stars Are Scattered is a timely and important story, told in a format that ensures it will be accessible and appealing for readers of all ages.