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How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child
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How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  5,584 ratings  ·  830 reviews
This profoundly moving memoir is the remarkable and inspiring true story of Sandra Uwiringyimana, a girl from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who tells the tale of how she survived a massacre, immigrated to America, and overcame her trauma through art and activism.

Sandra was just ten years old when she found herself with a gun pointed at her head. She had watched as r
ebook, 304 pages
Published May 16th 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books
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John Pesta Yes, it is considered a book for young adults, but older readers will enjoy it too. I'm an older reader, and I was captivated by the exciting beginnin…moreYes, it is considered a book for young adults, but older readers will enjoy it too. I'm an older reader, and I was captivated by the exciting beginning. The book held my interest all the way to the very moving ending. (less)

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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  5,584 ratings  ·  830 reviews

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Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: important
“It was light out when we found them, the sun rising slowly in a pale blue sky, casting a warm glow over the fields of sorrow and grief. I remember thinking: How dare the sun rise, as if it were any other day, after such a gruesome night.”

First of all, how do you rate someone’s life? You can’t give one or two stars and say things like “uh, didn’t like it” or “boring”. That’s not how it works.

This is the first time that I’ve heard of Sandra Uwiringiyimana. Sandra is a young woman, born in the Con
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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This is one of the best memoirs I've ever read. Sandra is Banyamulenge, which is an ethnic minority in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, discriminated against by the Congolese. She and her family were forced to flee to a refugee camp during the Second Congo war, where they lived until 2004, when they were victims to the massacre by the National Liberation Front of Burundi. She watched them burn the camps, killing people she had known
Audio book narrated by the author, Sandra Uwiringiyimana. 6h 25 min

Wow! This November 2017 memoir about the author and her family 's journey from the DRC to refugees in Rochester, NY is definitely one of my favorite reads of this year. Sandra speaks so eloquently and with such emotion about family, faith, cultural differences and dealing with PTSD. A must have for my nonfiction section of my classroom library.
I was approved for this book for review. All thoughts are my own.

This was such a powerful book! I loved it, I mean I really loved it! To hear what Sandra has been through was heart breaking, but it also opened up my eyes to other atrocities that plague the world and how they go unnoticed or forgotten by the public. Sandra reminds us that although it may not be happening to us it definitely is happening all over the world. This is such an inspiring story that I want to read more about young adul
Jenna Cooper
Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I feel like a cruel person for rating it 3 stars (though I would clarify it is more of a 3.5), however, in the end, I have to rate this as a piece of writing, and not the author's experience. Also, I do generally read novels, so perhaps I am also judging this from a fictional standpoint, not nonfiction.

For the negative first, ultimately, this just isn't the best-written book. Some parts are incredible, especially early on as she describes growing up in Africa, becoming a refugee, and the mass
St. Gerard Expectant Mothers
Finished the ARC of this and I couldn't put it down. Refugee Sandra details her family's flight from the war torn Congo and their struggles as immigrants living in an urbanized landscape of America. Told with brutal honesty and an insightful look into the world as an outsider looking in, it is certainly one memoir every young person needs to read when it releases in the US in May. Highly recommended. ...more
Leigh Collazo
More reviews at Mrs. ReaderPants.

REVIEW: Though the subject matter was incredibly sad and violent, the conversational first-person narrative made this easy and engaging to read. I love Sandra's quiet power in how she compares her life in The Democratic Republic of the Congo and her new life as a middle-schooler in the USA. Some of the comparisons are funny, and some are just horribly sad.

I love the bottom line message about how race in the USA is a much bigger deal than it is in Africa. Sandra t
Sep 12, 2017 rated it liked it
The first half of the book was good. The descriptions of Africa and life there were enlightening. The part about the massacre in the refugee camp was sad and tragic. Heartbreaking.

The second half of the book was frustrating for me. I almost put the book down and stopped reading it. She is very focused on race in her book. She has a strong victim mentality that was hard to listen to. Everyone feels different in some way or another. Everyone deals with prejudice in some way or another. Everyone i
Carol Waters
May 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
I gave this two stars to be polite.

Here's the problem with this book: Sandra tells the reader repeatedly that in her country one doesn't talk about one's feelings. She then writes a book that is almost entirely devoid of anything that even attempts to come close to describing her feelings about the travesty of her childhood experiences. She lost a homeland several generations before she was born, she lost a sister, she lost her school uniforms and her father's status in the Republic of Congo. Sh
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Just wow. There are no words to correctly express how this book. . .no, this intimate look into someone's life, makes me feel. This stunned me. It made me so, very thankful to live in America, yet appalled at how some of the whites treated Miss Sandra because she's different. Miss Sandra is an incredibly strong and amazing woman. What she lived through. . .I admire her greatly. There are not many woman who could go through what she did and yet come out so strong and trying to do good for ev ...more
chantel nouseforaname
This is the kind of book that makes you really think deeply about all the things you take for granted in life and in your family. It also makes you think about what it means to attain and live out the American dream. Is it a dream when you've experienced so much pain to get there? Can it ever really be a dream for Black Americans born in America or from abroad?

Sandra Uwiringiyimana told a painfully harrowing story about loss and trauma. I hate the word harrowing but honestly, the book was acutel
Kara Belden
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my 10th book of 2018, and so far, it easily ranks as my second favorite of this year (behind The Wet Engine). This book should be put in every middle and high school classroom. Sandra's story needs to be heard, and Sandra's bravery in sharing her story is unbelievably inspiring. This is now at the top of my list of books that I highly recommend to students. Undoubtedly, adults will enjoy it, too!

Sandra loses her sister in a massacre, endures poverty, flees her homeland to America, and h
Maya B
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great non fiction read. The first few chapters were repetitive but it quickly picks up after that. I love how the author described everything in great detail. This is the story of a African war child and her move to America. A true testimony of a survivor. My favorite part of this book was her transition to America. The author describes everything when it came to food, culture, and race. Most of which I felt was very accurate.
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, arcs, non-fic
you know a book is good when you stay up until 1 am reading it without taking any breaks
I just happened to read this right before the country exploded with riots over the awful murder of George Floyd. This book isn't about rogue police killing innocent people, but it deals with race in a way that feels very timely.

Sandra is a young girl that grew up in Congo and Burundi running from hatred. As a member of a tribe in Rwanda, her family fled that war-torn country and settled in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Sandra has never known Rwanda as a home, but in Congo she is conside
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
The author is a member of the Banyamulenge tribe from Rwanda who had settled in the Congo generations before. Because their customs and language were different they were always considered alien and subject to attacks. As a ten year old her family was living in a refugee camp Gatumba when it was attacked and over a hundred people brutally massacred including her youngest sister while many of her family were shot and left for dead. Eventually her family was allowed to come to America where they ha ...more
Urenna Sander
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Young human rights activist, Sandra Uwiringiyimana shares her powerful heartbreaking memoir, How Dare the Sun Rise, of the sudden collapse of family life for Sandra, her parents, and her six siblings. The family, Rwandans, considered a hated Banyamulenge minority, lived in the mountains of South Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Because of the wars and rumored wars, the family were stateless, and moved from place to place. They had settled in Uvira Province, a city in South Kivu, wh ...more
Jul 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-time-favs
5 Stars

This book was amazing in every way, shape, and form and I refuse to hear differently. I am going to be honest when I say that I don’t read memoirs (for the most part.) The thing is sometimes they're a bit boring and I guess I am kind of neutral when it comes to them. I don't generally read them or search for them for that matter but this one ended u finding its way to me through a friend (thank u Temi). I have to say Sandra's story was definitely heartbreaking and I understand why some pe
Shirley Cagle
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This memoir is a believable and moving account of the life experiences of a young Banyamulenge woman. She escaped a bloody massacre in a refuge camp in Africa in which her younger sister and other family members were murdered. This first-hand account details her family's struggle in the aftermath of the attack and their trials and tribulations after a refugee resettlement to Rochester, NY. Her activism on behalf of her people has been recognized in national and international circles. ...more
B.A. Wilson
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Thoughtful and unsettling. I’m picky when it comes to memoirs, but I found this one to be interesting and worth my time. Just don’t expect it to be an easy read, since it's about a girl who survived a massacre. There is obviously violence and hardship, but there is also plenty to think about.

It’s an inside look at the life of a refugee, and it definitely reminded me how fortunate I am, when many others aren’t.

Pages: 304
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very powerful! I loved listening to Sandra narrate her story. This should be required reading for all ages. She is such an inspiration and shows how much the human spirit can overcome.

Popsugar Challenge 2019 - A book with a question in the title
How dare the sun rise, as if it were any other day, after such a gruesome night? (p. 82).

Sandra Uwiringiyimana is a member of the Banyamulenge tribe, a survivor or the Gatumba massacre, where 166 people, including her 6-year-old sister, were killed during violence against ethnic Rwandan Congolese. She was named after a Rwandan prime minister, an influential woman in Rwanda's history: It makes me feel like I have big shoes to fill, and that someday I can do something worth being remembered for (
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was such a powerful read. There were a range of emotions that I experienced reading this book, fear, angry, sadness and joy. Sandra told an amazing story of herself and her families escape. Her life in constant war was normal or so it seemed, always fleeing her home and coming back, until one time she left and never had the chance to return home. She explains the struggles that she faced living in the refugee camp, the scarcity of water and food. Sandra takes us through the extensive interv ...more
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: african-studies

There are a lot of books about refugees that are popular right now, but what I particularly enjoyed about this one was that it was like three books in one. Most refugee stories understandably focus on the trauma and the journey to freedom, but this gave equal attention to life in the Democratic Republic of the Congo before the attack, and the transition to living in the United States after the attack. There were some deep observations the author makes about the United States culture, racism
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Short review: 4.5 stars. Very powerful memoir written by a young woman born and raised into conflict in Congo. Sad, gripping, and haunting telling of survival, sadness, and triumph. Much of this memoir was very graphic and hard to read. It was a novel that ended on a "great" note and the author chose to show the vestiges of war and the struggle to cope years later. Sandra wrote this memoir to remember things lost and as a call to action. Worth a read. ...more
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult
Sandra shares the story of her unimaginable life growing up in Africa belonging to her friends and family but belonging to no country.

As white American being born and raised in a middle class family, I can hardly begin to understand the difficulties, differences and terror she has managed to survive.

Keep telling your story Sandra.
Damn. HOW DARE THE SUN RISE does not pull punches. It's a real, horrifying look at living in a war zone, being a refugee, and trying to resettle in a new country where suddenly race is an issue. An absolutely stunning, must read book. ...more
Sandra's story of terror, heartbreak, and hope is an eye opening look at the warring happening in the Congo and the troubling race relations in the US.

Very informative and the storytelling style almost felt like she was in the room with you sharing her life.

From advanced reader copy.
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This heartbreaking story about the struggles of a girl trying to survive her war torn country and later on trying hard to adapt to life in the US as a refugee is certainly an eye opener.
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Sandra Uwiringiyimana, a member of the Banyamulenge tribe (also referred to as Tutsi Congolese), and was born in South Kivu, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but spent the majority of her childhood in the Congolese city of Uvira. She is a survivor of the Second Congo War, and the 2004 massacre at the refugee camp in Gatumba Burundi by the National Liberation Front of Burundi. She spent ...more

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One of the great pleasures of historical fiction is the time-travel element. In the hands of a skilled author, works of historical fiction can...
189 likes · 19 comments
“So many girls around the world—refugee girls in particular—suffer in silence after being sexually assaulted by someone they know. Most rapes happen at the hands of a relative or friend, not a stranger. I want girls to know that they have the power to speak out. They don’t have to stay quiet. No matter what culture or country you are from, there will always be pressure to remain silent, to never tell. But you don’t have to protect sexual predators. By speaking up, you are standing up for yourself. And you might be preventing it from happening again. Tell people what happened. The predators expect you to stay silent. You can prove them wrong.” 10 likes
“Anyone who thinks it’s easy to get to the States as a refugee has no idea.” 8 likes
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