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Child of Dandelions

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  421 ratings  ·  91 reviews
A breathtaking account of one girl's determination to triumph over a devastating historical event. In Uganda in 1972, President Idi Amin, also known as the Last King of Scotland, announces that foreign Indians must be "weeded" out of Uganda in ninety days. Fifteen-year-old Sabine's life is changed forever. The president's message, broadcast on the radio every day, becomes ...more
Hardcover, 213 pages
Published March 1st 2008 by Front Street, Incorporated
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
This was a really quick read, and it makes more sense now that I realize it was intended for a YA audience. Other than the main character being in her teens, it isn't immediately apparent. I had read several books set in Uganda but focusing on white non-Ugandan characters, and this book was an attempt to remedy that.
"We have to clear our land. The weeds must be uprooted. ... You are the child of dandelions."
Sabine is Ugandan because she was born there, and her parents and grandparents have
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I really had no idea. I don't remember learning about the political situation in Uganda when I was in high school, although I do remember mention of Idi Amin and his cruelty. I didn't know that, amongst all his other acts, he expelled the Indians from the country.

This story focuses on a Muslim Indian girl and her African friend, and the politics that ultimately come between them. The author of this novel created such a buildup of tension that I almost didn't finish the story, afraid that it
Traci Haley
Mar 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This eloquent historical novel coupled two of my major interests: Indian culture, and African history. This was a part of Africa's history that I wasn't knowledgable about -- while I knew of Idi Amin and the horrible acts he committed during his reign, I hadn't realized that so much of it was aimed at Indians. The character of Sabina in this book was perfect for narrator, and the reader of the audiobook was absolutely amazing! I also appreciate that the author ended the book on a note of hope... ...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
Aug 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, teen, foreign
I thought this book had a good perspective on conditions in Uganda in 1972 particularly for the Indians of the main character's heritage but also other ethnic groups in the area that are divided by Idi Amin's strife-filled regime. These characters are represented by servants, friends, and neighbors with the interactions between them changing as the fortunes rise or fall according to some irrational overarching design. I think that in the end the main character's family was more understanding of ...more
Dec 04, 2008 rated it liked it
A unique tale of the Indian diaspora to East Africa. I felt it was rather fast paced, but I also felt it was a bit "purposeful."

Also, not the fault of this book, but I am tired of plucky teenage girls standing up to evil dictators/soldiers/whatever and getting away with it and saving their whole family.This book was just where I realized it.

Beautiful cover!!!
Kelly Allen
Apr 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: young adult
This is a story of an Indian girl, born and live in Uganda during Idi Amin reign. One day, Sabine found out all Indian were no longer welcome in the country, her world was turn upside down.

A good quick and easy read.
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Review below comparing Child of Dandelions with the story "Dhilkusha" by Judith Clarke was written for a college course in 2008.

Dr. Patricia Bloem, Professor of English at Grand Valley State University, recommended that I read the book Child of Dandelions after I expressed my love of Judith Clarke’s story “Dhilkusha.” Both texts focus on the plight of current and soon-to-be refugees from Idi Amin’s Uganda.

In 1972, President Idi Amin of Uganda announced that all Asian people who were not Ugandan
Just glad I finished, thought this moment would never arrive!
Sad historical story, but it just did not make my boat float. I just never agreed to the story and may have been against it? (please dont take it seriously)
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. Great historical fiction about a relatively unknown event in history.
Iza Alcorn
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The story is about a 15 year old girl Indian girl named Sabine who was born in Uganda. The president of East Africa Uganda named Idi Amin, sent out a message exporting and to get rid of all foreign Indians and has 90 days to do so. However, president Idi Amin promises to protect Sabine’s family because they have their citizenship. The only thing that is on her mind is when the 90 days are up and what could happen. When the countdown begins it is made clear to Sabine that all South Asians are ...more
Kylee Wiyrick
Nov 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, conflict
This story follows the life of a young Indian girl, Sabine, and her family who were citizens of Uganda. Due to the fact that a majority of the population in Uganda was African American, Sabine and her family got treated like minorities. At one point in the book, citizens of Uganda were screaming “Indian go home,” although Sabine thought she would be safe since she was a Ugandan citizen herself. My heart broke when I read that President Idi Amin made an announcement that all Indians must be ...more
Maddelyn Skeen
Child of Dandelions is about a 15-year-old Indian girl who was born in Uganda named Sabine. The president sent a message to the entire nation of East Africa Uganda. He wanted to get rid of foreign Indians and allowed 90 days for them to all be gone. Sabine's father ensures that Sabine’s family is protected because of their citizenship. Sabine does not forget the 90 day countdown. Sabine goes through a series of disappointments, questions of friendship, loss, heartbreaks, and terror as all of ...more
Hmmm... I really wanted to like this book more than I did. But, I disliked Sabine, and the story is essentially hers which made it difficult to enjoy the story. Sabine is entitled and selfish and immature, and overall just fell flat as a character.

I found too the plot fell flat. This was a time and place with anxiety and fear and anger but I felt none of that reading the book. The writing felt 'talking at' rather than 'talking to' the reader and, as another reviewer has pointed out, more about
Lauryn G
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: culture, history
Child of Dandelions is about a 15-year-old Indian girl who was born in Uganda named Sabine. The president sent a message to the entire nation of East Africa Uganda. He wanted to get rid of foreign Indians and gave them 90 days to leave the country. Sabine's father ensures that Sabine’s family is protected because of their citizenship but Sabine is skeptical. Sabine goes through a series of disappointments, questions of friendship, loss, heartbreaks, and terror as all of this takes place. I loved ...more
Doris Raines
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really good book
Jan 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: school
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)
Sometimes it takes a drastic event to put things in perspective.

President Idi Amin has just decreed that all foreign Indians must be "weeded" out of Uganda within 90 days. Fifteen-year old Sabine suddenly finds her world upturned. While her father reassures her and her family that they are not foreign since they were all born in Uganda, Sabine secretly shares the same worries as her mother. It doesn't help that wherever she goes, she sees animosity from other Ugandans. But for now, she tries to
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Although I liked how it was a quick read, I also didn't because I wish the story could have been fleshed out more to really get into the relationships and the dynamics of the characters. Other than that, I found no issues with the book and had a hard time putting it down.

I loved the quote, "I will carry my home with me."
Sep 20, 2014 rated it liked it
I recently had all of my students read a historical fiction book that centers around some sort of hero/heroine, and this was an option that was available to them. I decided to pick it up for myself, since I was not super familiar with the subject matter or the time period.

I enjoyed the book because I actually was not familiar with this aspect of Uganda's history, and from the follow-up research I have done, Shenaaz Nanji masterfully wove an accurate portrayal of President Idi Amin's
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
August, 1972 in Kampala, Uganda, 15 year old Sabine, daughter of a local businessman of Indian descent is excited about the upcoming dance performance she and her best friend, Zena are planning for the Independence Day celebrations in October. But, Idi Amin's order to expel all people of Indian descent from Uganda changes Sabine's life forever, destroying her home, her friendships and her childhood innocence. Beautifully written with glimpses of terror and violence but with a careful tempering ...more
Canadian Children's Book Centre
With Child of Dandelions, Shenaaz Nanji opens a new world for her readers – on several different levels. The historical aspect is an important layer, as most 12-year-olds will have no sense of the political turmoil in Uganda during the 1970s. More important however, the novel offers a picture of race relations that, in multicultural Canada, will be unfathomable. That picture is brought down to a level that is all the more tangible as it becomes about friendship rather than heritage – and any ...more
Feb 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Readers are brought back in time to 1972 in the East Africa nation of Uganda. Idi Amin is the President as the book starts, and he is announcing a purging of all South Asian Indians in the country. Amin is of the belief that these foreigners are a drain on the country's resources, taking all of the good jobs and money for themselves. The South Asians have 90 days to leave the country voluntarily.

The story is told from the perspective of Sabine, a young teen who has grown up in a well-to-do
Brandi Rae Fong
Child of Dandelions follows part of the life of Sabine, a fifteen year old Indian girl living in Uganda in 1972. The book begins on the day that President Idi Amin declares that all foreign born Indians have 90 days to leave the country. Sabine is not worried though; while her family is Indian, they were all born in Uganda, making them citizens of the country. However, as racial tensions rise in the country, Sabine’s world slowly begins to unravel.

First, she loses her best friend Zena, an
Oct 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Child of Dandelions by Shenaaz Nanji is recommended for upper middle school to lower high school-aged teens. Sabine narrates what it is like living in Uganda in 1972. President Idi Amin orders all Indian Ugandans—regardless of citizenship—to leave the country within 90 days or else risk torture and death. With a disappearing Uncle, a father in jeopardy, and a disabled brother, Sabine must decide which battles to fight and who she wishes to fight them as: her father’s boy, the strong girl that ...more
I think I had heard somewhere before about the expulsion of Indians from Uganda, but beyond a vague recollection I knew nothing about it. Nanji has done teenagers a service with this novel, which tells the story of an episode in recent African history that's been all but forgotten in the West. Idi Amin came out against the wealthy Indian minority in Uganda and gave the entire population ninety days to get out of the country or die. Sabine's family believes the order doesn't apply to them because ...more
Apr 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
*** Subject matter She finds bodies in a warehouse hanging on meat hooks. These are people who have been killed by the miitary.

Grade 6–9—Fifteen-year-old Sabine lives a life of luxury with her wealthy Indian family in Kampala, Uganda. Then Idi Amin comes to power and things change quickly. All British Indians are expelled from the country. Sabine's father thinks they will be safe because they are Ugandan citizens, but they soon discover that they are in serious danger. Sabine's beloved uncle
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Child of Dandelions book by Shenaaz Nanji was a compelling story. I was expecting something gripping, and I wasn’t disappointed. The story’s plot was inviting and intriguing. You follow Sabine, a fifteen-year-old Indian girl who has lived her whole life in Uganda, and her Indian family through President Idi Amin’s 90-day expulsion of all the Indians in Uganda.

The book is rich with cultural clashes, African and Indian, friendship and betrayal, horror and history, hope and despair. Set in
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 ...more
Cheyenne Cortesi
The Child of the Dandelions is a based on a true story. It involves Sabine, a teenage girl, who is living in a time of historic chaos. Sabine and her family live in Uganda but in August 1972 the family receives a message that they need to evacuate. President Ali believes that all “foreign Indians” need to leave Uganda within 90 days. Although this statement seems to target Sabine’s family, Sabine is confident that her family, Ugandan residents, will not be kicked out of their country. Sabine’s ...more
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Shenaaz Nanji was born on the ancient island of Mombasa, one of the oldest settlements on the East African coast, and grew up amid a fusion of cultures: Bantu-Swahili, Arabic, colonial British, and East Indian. Every year she visited her grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins in Uganda until Idi Amin turned them into refugees. She moved to the United States and lived in upstate New York before ...more