Blueberry Hill School
2021 One Book, One School Summer Read
Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a tenet of the Longmeadow Public Schools. CASEL Five, Second Step and Minding Your Mind are the framework and curriculum we rely upon to support our SEL goal of helping students be available to learn and grow. The five core competencies of SEL are: Self Awareness, Self Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision Making.
In our search for the 2021 One Book, One School Summer Read, Mrs. Stec and I were struck by how beautifully Victoria Jamieson’s When Stars Are Scattered, echoed our school and district SEL core competencies through a story of hope, courage, patience, and perseverance. It is for this reason that this emotionally packed memoir shared with Victoria Jamieson by Omar Mohamed, written in the intimate reading experience of a graphic novel, is our 2021 One Book, One School Summer Read.
Heartbreak, hope, and gentle humor exist together in this graphic novel about a childhood spent waiting, and a young man who is able to create a sense of family and home in the most difficult of settings. It’s an intimate, important, unforgettable look at the day-to-day life of a refugee, as told to New York Times Bestselling author/artist Victoria Jamieson by Omar Mohamed, the Somali man who lived the story. (Penguin Random House)
Omar and his brother Hassan fled to Dadaab Refugee Camp when Omar was 4 years old. They spent 15 years at the camp. This book might stir up some difficult conversations with your child(ren) about what life is like in a refugee camp and the excitement and nervousness of resettlement to a country like the United States. I hope it will also leave you cheering for Omar and Hassan and their bravery and willingness to share their story. If you’d like some background information about Dadaab, please consider reading/viewing these resources before you begin to share this book with your child(ren) as a family.
In the Author’s Note, Victoria Jamieson shares that she wanted to write this book for young people because they have the most compassionate, open hearts, and the energy to truly make a difference. I have witnessed this sentiment of our Blueberry Hill students, particularly in their response to literature. It is my hope that When Stars Are Scattered will resonate with the compassionate hearts of our BHS community. Thank you for your continued partnership and for possibly stepping out of a comfort zone to read about a life experience that may be different from your own.
Moira Joyce, Librarian