Amina

Amina lives on the edges of Mogadishu. Her family’s house has been damaged in Somalia’s long civil war, but they continue to live there, reluctant to leave their home. Amina’s world is shattered when government forces come to arrest her father because his art has been officially censored, deemed too political. Then rebel forces kidnap Amina’s brother, forcing him to become a soldier in Somalia’s brutal ongoing war. Although her mother and grandmother are still with her, Amina feels vulnerable and abandoned. Secretly, she begins to create her own artwork in the streets and the derelict buildings to give herself a sense of hope and to let out the burden of her heart.

The Ogress And The Snake And Other Stories From Somalia

For millennia, Somalia has been crossed and recrossed by camel caravans of merchants bringing stories with them. Elizabeth Laird heard most of these oral retellings in Jigjiga, the capital of Ethiopia’s Somali region, in gardens, bars, small huts and beautiful old Harari houses. Some of them are written down here for the very first time.

When I Get Older: The Story behind “Wavin’ Flag”

Winner of three Juno awards and recently named the Globe and Mail’s Artist of the Year, singer/songwriter/rapper/hip hop artist/social activist and, now, children’s book author, K’NAAN has a moving and inspiring personal story. K’NAAN (whose name means “traveler” in Somali) spent his childhood in Mogadishu surrounded by a loving family which included his aunt, one of Somalia’s most famous singers, and his poet grandfather. When K’NAAN was thirteen, he and his family fled war-torn Somalia and immigrated to Toronto. His story is inspiring, and his struggles as a new immigrant will speak to many young North Americans.

Now in his thirties, K’NAAN has had huge success as a singer. He has won many awards, and there are now twenty-two versions of his song, “Wavin’ Flag.” He lives in LA where he is at work on his third album. His children’s book is a tribute to growing up, and believing in the future, as he says: “When I get older, I will be stronger…”

Dan Eldon: Safari as a Way of Life

Photojournalist Dan Eldon left behind much more than the astonishing illustrated journals that would form The Journey is the Destination when he lost his life at age twenty-two while on assignment in Somalia. He also bequeathed a life story that has inspired students, teachers, artists, and creative activists—as well as a forthcoming film, an apparel line, and the Spring 2011 collection from Tom’s Shoes. Raised in Kenya, Dan grew up with a unique outlook on life. Through adventurous safaris and benevolent crusades around the world, he crafted a philosophy of curiosity, creativity, and charity. This unique visual biography showcases previously unpublished artwork from Dan’s acclaimed journals, letters, and snapshots that takes readers on a journey through Dan’s life and beyond, exploring the impact made by this remarkable artist on everyone who has encountered his story.

Muktar and the Camels

Muktar lives in an orphanage on the border of Kenya and Somalia. He daydreams about his old life with his family and especially tending to camels. One day, visitors arrive bearing books, and Muktar’s friend Ismail is excited; so is Muktar, but for a different reason—the visitors are riding on camels. Muktar quickly discovers that one of the animals is injured and realizes this is his chance to prove himself. If there is anythingMuktar knows, it is camels. Through the eyes of an endearing protagonist whose love and respect for animals shines, this beautifully told story introduces young readers to another part of the world and way of life.

From Somalia with Love

Safia Dirie is a teenage girl living in East London with her mother, Hoyo, and two older brothers, Ahmed and Abdullahi. Though she was born in Somalia, she doesn’t remember much of  it — Safia’s a London girl, through and through. But now, after 12 long years, her father, Abo, has returned to the family from war-torn Mogadishu. Safia knew things would change, but nothing could have prepared her for the reality of dealing with Abo’s cultural expectations. Or that Ahmed, her favorite brother, would start to run wild. And she herself certainly didn’t expect to find her cousin’s party-girl lifestyle so tempting. 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’s never known. Rooted in Somali and Muslim life, this poignant and beautifully written novel about one girl’s quest to find her own place in the world strikes a chord with young readers everywhere.

Read more about From Somalia with Love in WOW Review.