A child describes her life in an Ethiopian refugee camp.
As Abia moves through Shimelba Camp, she is full of pride and hides neither her skills nor her vibrant imagination. She plays pretend with her friends on the fields, sings while pumping water from the well, and soothes her baby cousin to sleep. Abia shares her story as a self-described queen in the camp, bearing a crown fashioned from acacia twigs by her father. Beautiful, realistic paintings portray the challenging everyday lives of refugees in the northern Ethiopian camp and, notably, show refugee children and adults working, playing, sharing, and making the best out of what they have. Their life is difficult but not pitiable, and although Abia’s father longs to move on, Abia is dubious about leaving the only life she’s known. Queen Abia listens to her mother narrating how they ran away from their village when she was a baby, escaping fighters and then lions and hyenas. She is proud of her story and takes it with her as her family gets resettled in a developed country and adjusts to life there after over seven years of living as a refugee. She is Queen Abia wherever she goes. The book is enriched with an informative note by the author about refugees and lists of additional children’s books about the topic.
A fine addition to children’s literature about refugees, resettlement, and resilience. (Picture book. 6-9)