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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Balancing Belief in Dreams, Faith, and Hard Work

The reader gets an early idea of the theme of “Balancing Belief in Dreams, Faith, and Hard Work” when Tall Salan attempts to convince Omar that he should be in school: “Omar, only God knows what will happen in the future. But if you get an education, you’ll be prepared. You could get a job. You could start a school, like I did. You could provide for yourself and your family” (33). In Omar’s early days in the camp, he focuses on caring for Hassan through direct supervision and time spent together. Salan’s words yield new insights for Omar; Salan’s desire to get Omar into school causes him to wonder about the bigger picture of his life for the first time. If he goes to school and works hard, his future might look very different; his diligence could pay off to benefit Hassan. Omar also sees that Salan balances the notion of hard work and goals with the knowledge that God will ultimately decide Omar’s fate.

These new thoughts bring Omar internal conflict as he faces the guilt of leaving Hassan in the day, worried that their separation could result in tragedy. When Omar chooses to take on the hard work of school, he figuratively leaves behind his Ordinary World of youthful assumptions about returning to Somalia, and his dreams for the future expand in scope and complexity.