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FROM SOMALIA, WITH LOVE by Na’ima B. Robert

FROM SOMALIA, WITH LOVE

By Na’ima B. Robert

Age Range: 11 - 14

Pub Date: April 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-84507-831-7
Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Somalia is still in the news after years of civil war, and its war refugees go to many countries. Safia lives in London in a close-knit Somali neighborhood, where all her actions are seen. This is both safe and too confining for an adolescent in contemporary Britain. She practices Islam in a traditional way and has a good friend, Hamida, who shares her religion. Her extended family members are close, but she embraces the one young woman who has broken out of the family mold. Safia’s poetic personality and her sense of isolation are found often in books for this age group, but her back story is thin. It opens with news about the father’s impending arrival, but he always seems like a shadow, as does her older brother. Near the end of the novel, the family’s situation—the father has remained for many years in Somalia while the mother and three children emigrated to London—is finally explained, but it is almost too late to have enough meaning for readers unfamiliar with such situations. But for readers willing to work, Safia is worth knowing. (glossary) (Fiction. 11-14)