Teenagers from Somalia describe the conditions in their war-torn and famine-stricken country and their experiences since coming to live in the United States and Canada.
Gr 4 Up--Seven teenage refugees relate their traumatic experiences fleeing Somalia during the country's civil war. A lengthy introduction provides a historical survey of the country from ancient times to the present. Each succeeding chapter presents a first-person narrative that describes some of the many hardships and dangers the teen went through before reaching the United States or Canada. The suffering is described in heartbreaking detail; e.g., deprivation of food, water, and shelter, as well as the many tragic deaths of relatives and friends. Clear black-and-white and full-color photos, including snapshots of five of the teenagers profiled, accompany the text. The narrators also describe their lives and challenges in their host countries. Although emotionally involving, this book is seriously flawed by the omission of important facts. There is no mention of the political roles played by the United States, the former Soviet Union, and their allies in the bloody conflicts. Somalis as well as other African peoples have been provided with huge arsenals by the super powers in attempts to influence the countries' ideologies. Dissidents have been encouraged to fight bloody and catastrophic civil wars. In failing to tell readers the whole truth, this book distorts history and glosses over the terrible responsibility the outside world bears for the horrors these teenagers so eloquently describe.
Gebregeorgis Yohannes, San Francisco Public Library, CA
Copyright 1997 Cahners Business Information, Inc.