Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Review of 'From Somalia, With Love' by Na'ima B. Robert

"My name is Safia Dirie.  My family has always been my mum, Hoyo, and my two older brothers, Ahmed and Abdullahi.  I don't really remember Somalia-- I'm an East London girl, through and through.  But now Abo, my father, is coming from Somalia to live with us, after 12 long years.   How am I going to cope?  Safia knows that there will be changes ahead but nothing has prepared her for the reality of dealing with Abo's cultural expectations, her favorite brother Ahmed's wild ways, and the temptation of her cousin Firdous's party-girl lifestyle.  Safia must come to terms with who she is-- as a Muslim, as a teenager, as a poet, as a friend, but most of all as a daughter to a father she has never known.  Safia must find her own place in the world, so both father and daughter can start to build the relationship they both long for.  From Somalia, With Love is one girl's quest to discover who she is-- a story that, while rooted in Somali and Muslim life, strikes a chord with young people everywhere."

When I was in the middle of student teaching, this book was one that sat on the book shelf.  I made eye contact with it a few times, but I never picked up this book at the time.  When I learned that my mentor teacher was leaving that school to pursue her Ph.D. and she was going through her things and giving things away, I went back to get this book, but it was already gone.  So I found this book a different way and read it on my Kindle.

I think I started reading this book after I was offered a job at the school where I currently work and I was looking for books I could use for a unit on identity.  I think I will use this book for literature circles rather than teaching this book on its own.

Growing up in the schools that I went to and where I student taught, I knew a lot of Somalian people, but I really didn't know a thing about their culture.  This book was helpful in that it started me on that path to learning more about Somalia and Somalian people (although of course everyone is different, no matter what country you come from).  And besides that, it helped me understand a bit more about what it's like when you arrive from your home country in a new one... what adjustments need to be made and more importantly, the changes that one typically goes through when you move somewhere entirely different.  You can't be one person in one place and be that same person when you move permanently to another place.  That's what I've experienced in the short time I lived abroad and what I have been learning the more I read about experiences like this.  While I didn't know it at the time, this has really started my reading journey about immigration.

This book is, I would say, good for younger readers-- between 6th and 8th grade, I would say.  But it would also work for high school students.  I would like to use this book in my classroom, so I'll have to let you know how this book goes over with them.

Overall, I give 'From Somalia, With Love':
Thanks for Reading!


No comments:

Post a Comment

I love your comments! Comment away!