89 pages 2 hours read

Omar Mohamed, Victoria Jamieson

When Stars Are Scattered

Nonfiction | Graphic Novel/Book | Middle Grade | Published in 2020

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Symbols & Motifs


As Omar grows and comes of age, gradually “Balancing Belief in Dreams, Faith, and Hard Work,” one of his greatest challenges is waiting. Waiting, one of the novel’s motifs, is a continuous conflict for Omar. He begins to feel as he matures that his life is slipping away due to all the waiting—waiting for food rations, for water, for school to start after a break, for the war in Somalia to end, for his mother to come find them. Fatuma, in a bid to keep Omar’s spirits up, even suggests that the camp is “God’s waiting room” (130), but Omar can only reflect that so many thousands of refugees waiting in one place feels like a prison.

Later, he must wait to hear back from the UN regarding his interview. Months of waiting produce no result; Omar waits so long that he must refocus his attention on school and family, and four years pass. Finally, in a moment that shows a vital step in Omar’s arc, he rejects waiting for morning to find Hassan and takes a leap of faith by traveling the bush at night to search for him. Omar’s patience from years of waiting helps him process his emotions as he works through the resettlement process.