An update from our thirty-first Book Club meeting!
On October 30th, the Stone Soup Book Club discussed When Stars Are Scattered, by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed. When Stars Are Scattered is based on Omar’s life in Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya and his journey to resettlement in the United States. The story is told in the form of a graphic novel.
When Stars Are Scattered was an immensely popular read among our twelve book club participants, as was evident in our lively and dynamic Book Club discussion. Many participants remarked on how moving they found the book and how it compelled them to dig deeper and learn more about the plight of refugees.
As a group we found it equally compelling how vividly the more mundane, everyday experience of life in a refugee camp was portrayed. We learned that Dadaab is such a big camp that it almost feels like a city-with makeshift restaurants and even internet cafes-but it is a city in limbo with no permanent structures. This sense of limbo was captured in the rhythm of Omar’s daily life-the monotony of chores and the weight of responsibility for his brother’s care, the angst over first whether to start school and later how to remain there, and the ebb and flow of friendships all helped to capture Dadaab as a place in flux.
We spent time reflecting on what questions we would want to ask about life in a refugee camp and what we found most surprising, interesting, and confronting about Omar’s life. Following this discussion, we listened to an interview of a boy named Muzamill, about his daily life in Dadaab. The questions posed about Muzammil’s life were posed by young people in the United States. The interview was informative, eye opening, and funny!
In parallel to our discussions about life as a refugee, we also spent time thinking about the graphic novel format and the various ways in which it enhanced Jamieson’s portrayal of Omar’s life story. Even those who’d never read a graphic novel before are now converts to the genre! We tried our hand at telling an aspect of our own daily routine in graphic novel format and shared these with the group.
Remember: if you attended book club and liked what you wrote for this activity, submit it through the Writing Workshop Submission Form and we will post it along with other stories on the Stone Soup website!
At the conclusion of our meeting, we had the chance to explore some of the creative works by young refugees through the Stone Soup Refugee Project.
If you have not yet done so, check it out yourself, here.
Finally, we are so excited to share that on, December 11th, our final Book Club meeting of this session, we will be joined by author and historian, Lucy Worsley, to discuss her book The Austen Girls! Please join us and come prepared with questions for Ms. Worsley!