Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “When Stars Are Scattered” as Want to Read:
When Stars Are Scattered
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

When Stars Are Scattered

4.69  ·  Rating details ·  8,253 ratings  ·  1,649 reviews
Heartbreak and hope exist together in this remarkable graphic novel about growing up in a refugee camp, as told by a Somali refugee to the Newbery Honor-winning creator of Roller Girl.

Omar and his little brother, Hassan, arrived in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya, seven years ago. Their father was killed the day they left home, and they haven't seen their mother since they
...more
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published April 14th 2020 by Dial Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about When Stars Are Scattered, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Mary Havens It's great! My only complaint: Omar should have received top billing. I know they put Jamieson first to get it published with her previous successes b…moreIt's great! My only complaint: Omar should have received top billing. I know they put Jamieson first to get it published with her previous successes but it's really his story. The author's notes explain that in the end.(less)
Jackie My 4th grader read this book so I think it would be a 4th grade level.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,253 ratings  ·  1,649 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of When Stars Are Scattered
Dave Schaafsma
"We're all waiting in this camp. Waiting. Waiting for something better."

Oh, what a difference to read a crucially important, necessary story when a talented storyteller tells it! Victoria Jamieson is perhaps best known for her book Roller Girl, though she has written and drawn many books for middle grades, especially. This book, Goodreads-award nominee of 2020 for graphic novels/comics, is the story adult Omar, now living in Arizona, tells of the FIFTEEN years he and his disabled brother Hassan
...more
Kim Bongiorno
I was in my daughter's middle school library when the librarian--who knows me all too well--pointed out that she just had a box of books delivered. Of course I dove in, and this was the first one I knew I had to borrow.

This is the true story of Somalian refugee Omar, who had to flee to a Kenyan refugee camp at four years old with his nonverbal little brother. His father had been killed, and he could only hope his mother was alive...somewhere.

It's about how he kept going, surrounded by the people
...more
Jessaka
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
It’s the full package
that I loved,
but in the end,
it is the story
of two boys living in a refugee camp
somewhere in Kenya,
having fled the war in Somalia.

It is not just a book that talks
but one that plays beautiful
Middle Eastern music.
One with many voices
even that of goats and birds
and water and children,
running.

I heard the sounds of laugher,
of tears, and of anger.
It was all a new experience for me,
a book like that of old-time radio
but so much better.

Two boys had lost their mother, not to death
...more
Abby Johnson
Oh my heart. This book. This is a must-read.

Omar Muhammed's graphic novel memoir (written with powerhouse graphic novel author Victoria Jamieson) presents his story of fleeing war-torn Somalia and arriving at a Kenyan refugee camp at age 4 with his little brother. They had no idea if their mother was alive or dead. And they lived in that refugee camp until Omar was 18 years old and was finally resettled to the United States.

This is an eye-opening real life story of life in a refugee camp and o
...more
Krista Regester
Feb 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
wfp.org
borderangels.org
freerice.com
freedomforimmigrants.org
actionnetwork.org
supportkind.org
firrp.org

Donate, educate yourself, and please stop wasting food.
Shaye Miller
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I would easily name this book one of the most important books I’ve read in 2020 to encourage understanding and empathy. This story is autobiographical, friends. Co-author Omar Mohamed is the Somali man who lived the story and dedicated himself to sharing it with the world. He flawlessly addresses poverty, illness, parental loss, disabilities, immigration, education, sexism, and SO much more in this book. It’s full of sadness and devastation, but there’s a continual thread of optimism throughout ...more
Tatiana
3.5 stars

As an adult reader of a clearly children's book, I understandably wanted much more from this story of an orphaned Somali boy living for over a decade at a refugee camp. However, I do hope this book reaches a lot of young readers so that they learn empathy early and don't grow up into adults gleefully posting disgusting memes about border walls, cages and Ilhan Omar on facebook.
...more
Krista
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade, 2021
What a beautiful graphic memoir. Omar tells his story of growing up in a refugee camp in Kenya. This book deals beautifully with quite a few difficult situations - loss of parents, a brother with a huge heart but some disabilities, poverty, and more. I loved how Omar persevered through it all, learning to trust others to care for his brother, Hassan, when he went to school. I thought this book was a great picture into life as a refugee and inspires compassion and understanding in the reading of ...more
Scottsdale Public Library
This is one of those books that will stick with you for a long time and make you truly think about what is important in life.
What these people have been and are going through is unbelievable, yet it is still happening. Definitely, a must read for all ages and every classroom should use it as a teaching tool. A heart wrenching, yet uplifting story...fantastic! -Jen K.


"I thought back to what Jeri told me, years ago. None of us ask to be born WHERE we are, or HOW we are. The challenge of life is t
...more
Skip
Aug 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the true story of Somalian refugee Omar Mohamed, who fled to Dadaab, a massive Kenyan refugee camp at age 4, with his little brother when his father was killed, and they are separated from their mother. A kind older woman "adopts" the two boys, but life is a struggle for everyone in the camp. Omar's little brother doesn't speak and Omar won't leave him. Eventually, he is convinced to go to school, where he excels and interviews for a chance to emigrate. Years go by, Omar's hopes fade, an ...more
Toni Rose Deanon
THIS IS BEAUTIFUL. EVERYTHING ABOUT IT. READ IT. MUST READ IT. OHEMGEE. I LOVE IT SO MUCH.
Jasmine
Dec 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4/5

I've been wanting to read a graphic novel all year, but I just haven't been able to afford them (though I understand completely why they're priced so highly!) and my library doesn't offer graphic novels. So when a friend told me she had this and would lend it to me, I was so excited! I can confirm that this book is everything that people gush about it and more. I will say that I didn't cry until the afterword, (view spoiler)
...more
Rod Brown
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Victoria Jamieson dramatizes (and fictionalizes) the story of co-author Omar Mohamed, a Somalian boy who spent most of his childhood without his parents in a refugee camp in Kenya with his brother, a person with disabilities. While it may be a bit too long for its intended juvenile audience, I found it an engaging and inspiring story of brotherhood, friendship, foster families, education, perseverance, and hope.
M.  [storme reads a lot]
This was so good. I could not put it down, and it was interesting to see the perspective of a Somali refugee. Highly recommend to anyone who enjoys graphic novels and want to expand their world view!
Bridgette
This should be required reading for pretty much every human on the planet. There is so much hope in this, along with unimaginable heartbreak. I nearly sobbed at the end of the story and at his author's note. It's perfect for middle grade readers, and everyone beyond that age. A heart-breaking, yet hopeful, look into the story of one refugee and his journey out of the refugee camp. ...more
Elizabeth☮
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Elizabeth☮ by: https://apps.npr.org/best-books/?utm_...
Omar and Hassan are brothers that had to flee Somalia because of war. They have been in a refugee camp in Kenya for years. Separated from their mother, the two boys are watched over by an older woman that lives in the next tent. As the narrative moves forward, we get more of the brothers' story.

I think this is a great book for middle grade readers. It's a good introduction to war torn countries and what it means to lose your home, your parents and your humanity. I like that we get to see the re
...more
Ms. B
I was in no hurry to finish this graphic novel about Somali brothers Omar and Hassan who grow up in a Kenyan refugee camp. If the 2021 Newbery committee is looking for a second graphic novel to reward with a gold medal, this is a worthy contender.
Could a graphic novel win 2 years in a row? It's possible. This co-authored story was originally meant to be a memoir for adults.
...more
Zac
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Stars Are Scattered is one of the most inspiring graphic novels I’ve ever read. It opens your eyes to what life is like for refugees and the conditions that they live in while at the same time filling you with hope.

It is the story of Omar Mohamed and his younger brother Hassan. They have spent most of their life in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya, after escaping from their home in Somalia. Through Omar and Victoria’s words and pictures we learn about daily life in the refugee camp (referre
...more
Sakina (aforestofbooks)
I have no words. This graphic novel is a real-life account of Omar Mohamed's story as a Somalian refugee. It was eye-opening, heartbreaking, yet filled with so much hope. The pictures we see of Omar and Hassan at the end, and their life after the events of this book, made me almost cry. It's definitely a difficult story to process at times, but I think it's important and necessary for people to become aware of the refugee crisis and what refugees have gone through and are still going through in ...more
Amanda Van Parys
A beautiful yet heartbreaking story, yet also filled with hope. A roller coaster to read but a delight as well. The illustrations were full of emotion in every cell.


Read for the 2020 Read Harder Challenge: Read a middle grade book that doesn’t take place in the U.S. or the UK
Emily Bowser
Jan 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was so moving, especially since I read it to Laelyn who is currently the same age Omar was when he fled Somalia. By the end my throat hurt from trying to hold back (most of) the tears. Laelyn was enthralled.
Christine
Mar 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
So, so good! 😭 ❤😭
Jessica Haider
I am reading this one with my soon to be 5th grader as part of his summer reading.

4.5 stars

True story of a boy growing up as a refugee in Africa.

More later...
vanessa
3.5. I am always grateful to read accounts from refugees. And in graphic novel form, no less. (The last I read which I loved was Escape from Syria.) I read and listened to this at the same time. The audio is fantastic and really creates a sense of place - thanks Libro FM for the ALC. For kids, this is longer and more text-heavy graphic novel... I found parts could’ve been tighter. Overall though, this is a great representation of the author’s life as a child and refugee. I’ve also never read a b ...more
Ms. Yingling
Jan 17, 2020 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by Edelweiss

Omar and his younger brother live in a refugee camp in Kenya after having to leave Somalia over seven years ago. Their father is dead, and they cannot locate their mother. They have a foster mother, Fatuma, who helps them with food and clothing, and they have a tent in which to sleep. Hassan doesn't speak, and has only ever said the word for mother. When a gentleman comes to the camp and encourage Omar to attend school, he doesn't want to leave his brother, but once he
...more
Mehsi
A quite nice graphic novel about the life in a refugee camp. It is about Omar and his brother Hassan. About going to school (learning English and studying hard to get in school), deciding on a future, trying to find food, trying to take care of his brother Hassan who cannot speak and has other difficulties, trying to be a kid and later grown-up in a refugee camp. It just broke my heart. I knew about refugee camps, I know how things go there, but every time I read a book or see a documentary abou ...more
Shannon
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mg-lit
This graphic novel turned full cast audiobook was amazing. Omar and his younger brother Hassan have been at the refugee camp in Kenya ever since they escaped violence in Somalia. Their mother could not come with them so they have a foster guardian who lives in the tent next door. Omar takes care of Hassan who is nonverbal and has inexplicable seizures. One day he is encouraged to go to school. He is nervous about leaving Hassan during the day but school opens up a realm of opportunities for Omar ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
ARTBA 2021: When Stars Are Scattered 6 15 Apr 04, 2021 05:55PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Class Act (New Kid, #2)
  • Bloom
  • A Rule Against Murder (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #4)
  • The Secret Place (Dublin Murder Squad, #5)
  • Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln
  • Because of Winn-Dixie
  • On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga, #1)
  • How It Feels to Float
  • More to the Story
  • Shadow of the Batgirl
  • The Brutal Telling (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #5)
  • How We Fight For Our Lives
  • For Black Girls Like Me
  • Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass
  • Dasher
  • The Fate of Fausto
  • They Went Left
  • When You Trap a Tiger
See similar books…

Related Articles

  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
44 likes · 65 comments
“But we are not one star. We are millions. Not one background, but millions.

To the untrained eye, the night sky is a scattering of stars, a chaos of light and dark across the universe.

And yet, the stars are not lost.
They form patterns. Constellations. If you know how to look, there are stories woven into the very essense of stars.

Be like a star. Shine your light. Shine your story. For stories will lead us home.

-Maryam”
1 likes
More quotes…