89 pages 2 hours read

Omar Mohamed, Victoria Jamieson

When Stars Are Scattered

Nonfiction | Graphic Novel/Book | Middle Grade | Published in 2020

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Important Quotes

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“For me, the first years are lost.”

(Part 1, Introduction, Page 3)

The first line in Omar’s story is centered in a field of black sky and stars, emphasizing the feeling of being lost in a vast space. The line is heavy with meaning that becomes clear throughout the first introduction and first chapter: Omar’s mother is missing, and his father is dead; he is one of thousands upon thousands of refugees in the Dadaab camp; he cannot remember much of his youth before coming to the camp at age four. The line also establishes mood and voice.

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“My dad’s friend’s cousin just got sent to America, and he sends back money every month. Everyone there is super rich!”

(Part 1, Chapter 1, Page 23)

Omar’s friend Jeri tries to convince Omar to give up the dream of returning to Somalia for the glorious benefits of wealth and prospects in America. Omar does not mention aloud that his true intention is to find his mother if he can get back to Somalia. Jeri appears to believe what he tells Omar, but the reader will note the hyperbolic irony in the notion that “everyone” in America is wealthy. His claim to know someone recently “sent” also smacks of gossip and rumor (“My dad’s friend’s cousin…”). This interaction between Jeri and Omar sets the stage for later conflict regarding resettlement.