When Stars Are Scattered

Finalist, National Book Awards 2020 for Young People's Literature

ISBN 9780525553908
Dial Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House
Omar Mohamed

Omar Mohamed spent his childhood at the Dadaab camp, after his father was killed and he was separated from his mother in Somalia. He devoted everything to taking care of his younger brother, Hassan, and to pursuing his education. More about this author >

Victoria Jamieson

Victoria Jamieson is the creator of the graphic novels All's Faire in Middle School and Roller Girl, which received a Newbery Honor. She received her BFA in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design and worked as a children's book designer before becoming a freelance illustrator. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

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 is an intimate, important, unforgettable look at the day-to-day life of a refugee, as told to New York Times bestselling author and artist Victoria Jamieson by Omar Mohamed, the Somali man who lived the story.

Judges Citation

Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed's poignant When Stars Are Scattered follows Omar and his nonverbal younger brother, Hassan, as they grow up in the Kenyan refugee camp of Dadaab. Alongside depicting the day-to-day hardships and enduring traumas the boys face, the story powerfully portrays the deep love and compassion that sustains their community. Devastating, humorous, frustrating, and hopeful, this intimate and stunningly illustrated memoir expands our empathy for all those yearning for a new beginning.