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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Part 1, Chapters 4-7Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 1, Chapter 4 Summary

Omar enjoys learning at school, but he soon realizes how difficult it is to fit in time for everything. With much of his day spent in school, he struggles to have time to play with Hassan in addition to chores and helping Fatuma. School causes Omar to see for the first time that girls in his class cannot play because their role in their families requires them to go home and work at break times. He notices Maryam and Nimo in the water line early in the morning with him, then sees that he is the only boy tending to a younger sibling—in other families, that responsibility also falls on the girl or girls. Omar learns that Maryam is betrothed to be married; he wonders why she bothers studying all the time.

Part 1, Chapter 5 Summary

Students are grumpier than usual because these are the “empty days.” A drawing helps explain the concept of empty days: over three rows, the repeated images of a pile of flour, a sack of meal, and a pot of oil gradually diminish until there is nothing left. Omar explains that food rations are available only every 15 days, and everyone inevitably runs out before they can replenish supplies.