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.
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.