Her devoted but demanding father, a devout Christian, wants her to study accounting after she wins a scholarship to a Historically Black College; she finds herself drawn to dance instead.
College brings new trauma, including predatory males seeking out freshman girls, a first visit to the gynecologist, dull accounting classes, acute loneliness. (“When people talk about college/they never really talk about/how you’re going to/change before/your whole family’s eyes/and they’re not/going to be happy about it/instead/they’ll ask you/what’s that thing in your nose?/where’d you get those words from?/have you forgotten how to call home?/when’s the last time/you prayed, huh?”)
Iloh, herself a dancer, depicts a stirring transformation, through liberating movement on the dance floor, as Ada breaks free to make her own choices.
When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, color by Iman Geddy; Dial Books for Young Readers, 257 pages ($20.99) Ages 10 and up.
This inspiring memoir, in a marvelous and accessible graphic novel format, offers a heart-rending look at the refugee experience, as told by Somali refugee Omar Mohamed to award-winning artist-author Victoria Jamieson.