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Revelatory and inspiring young voices.

Young émigrés reflect candidly on family, faith, education, and their difficult journeys to becoming Americans.

United ReSisters, a group of young Somali American women living in Green Bay, Wisconsin, has become an active and important part of the social and cultural life of the predominantly white community. In a moving collection of reflections, poems, conversations, and letters, 12 forthright members of the group share their experiences escaping from Somalia’s civil war, living in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, struggling as newcomers to the United States (including first encountering cold and snow), and working to achieve their dreams for the future. Prominent among the group are the Kasim sisters—Nada, Nadifo, Nimo, Nasteho, and Najma—who arrived in the U.S. in 2014 after seven years in a refugee camp where, Najma recalled, “the food wasn’t enough for one meal a day,” and water was scarce. Still, they felt a sense of community that sustained them as they waited to emigrate. All the contributors speak to their desire for acceptance while still honoring their customs and religion; all wish Americans could be more open about understanding them rather than imposing assumptions about Africans or Muslims. Sometimes, they felt like “leftovers.” “I wanted so badly to be accepted into this new society,” confesses Hafsa Husseyn, although acceptance was sometimes a challenge. Her sister Maryam echoes other contributors by showing uncommon patience in confronting prejudice: “I am human, and you are, too,” she writes in an open letter titled “Hello Stranger.” Some Americans could not understand—or accept—their custom of wearing the head covering called hijab: “Some think I’m forced to wear hijab,” Nada Kasim writes, or believe that it reflects religious fundamentalism, neither of which is true. Other Americans do not understand fasting for Ramadan. “Fasting,” explains Nasteho Kasim, “is a way to learn patience, break bad habits, and even ease anger.” Afterwords by ReSisters’ co-facilitators underscore the young women’s commitment and courage.

Revelatory and inspiring young voices.

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-7338890-0-1

Page Count: 148

Publisher: Two Shrews

Review Posted Online: April 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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