Sarah's Reviews > Child of Dandelions

Child of Dandelions by Shenaaz Nanji
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Jul 24, 10

bookshelves: historical-fic, ya-lit, race-relations, south-asian

A fictional story of a young woman facing the historically factual expulsion of Asians from Uganda in 1972--25% of whom were Ugandan-born citizens (and the rest were British citizens). At first the government, led by the brutal dictator Idi Amin, tried to expel just non-natives and required the other "Indians" to carry a special document showing that they were Ugandans -- but finally all ethnic Indians, regardless of birthplace or citizenship, were forced to leave the country. (Many went to England and others were given refugee status and sent to countries like the US and Canada. You might say they "escaped," given the internal terror and mass killings that continued throughout the 1970s during Idi Amin's regime--nearly half a million people were murdered in Uganda during those years.)

Child of Dandelions is also a coming-of-age story about friendship, family, courage, and standing up for what is right. As the main character is confronted with horror after horror, she also becomes more aware of her own false assumptions and troublesome prejudices. Though helpless to stem the tide of terror in her country, she finds the power to take care of her own family and even to make amends for some of her own racist actions.

Though not great literature, this book would be a fine addition to a high school curriculum to compare with Anne Frank's experiences or even current events such as Arizona's immigration law.
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