Ten-year old Sandra wasn't so lucky. After a great start to life in a beautiful country and born to a supportive, loving family, Sandra has everything ripped from her when war forces her family into a Congolese refugee camp. At age ten, Sandra was a survivor of the Gatumba Massacre, and she and what was left of her family were flown to the USA to start a new life in Rochester, NY.
REVIEW: Though the subject matter was incredibly sad and violent, the conversational first-person narrative made this easy and engaging to read. I love Sandra's quiet power in how she compares her life in The Democratic Republic of the Congo and her new life as a middle-schooler in the USA. Some of the comparisons are funny, and some are just horribly sad.
I love the bottom line message about how race in the USA is a much bigger deal than it is in Africa. Sandra talks about how she never really thought about her skin color in Africa, even though there were many different skin tones and even white people in Africa, it wasn't a big deal until she got to the USA.
She also tackles large issues like poverty, everyday racism, PTSD, and depression.
I loved this book for it's strong narrative voice and its ability to tell a very needed story in a simple and engaging way. This book is easy to get into right from the start and stays poignant all the way through to the very end. Though she hobnobs with celebrities by the end of it all, Sandra remains a humble person and simply wants to get her voice out there and make a difference for the millions of displaced individuals in Africa and around the world.
THEMES: war, race, poverty, family, death, PTSD, depression, refugees, rape
THE BOTTOM LINE: A must-have for any middle or high school library. How Dare the Sun Rise tackles important issues like war and race with quiet dignity and hope. Beautifully-written and moving.
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: On-order.
- Overall: 5/5
- Creativity: 5/5
- Characters: 5/5
- Engrossing: 5/5
- Writing: 5/5
- Appeal to teens: 5/5
- Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5
- Language: none
- Sexuality: mild; talk of menstruation and tampons taking your virginity
- Violence: high; attempted child rape, bloody massacre, arson, bullying, everyday racism
- Drugs/Alcohol: none
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