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With the help of his mother, the encouragement of his new teacher, and a bit of time to adjust to his new surroundings, Hassan learns to appreciate his new home in America while still remembering and acknowledging his native land of Somalia.
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MARY HOFFMAN is a highly acclaimed journalist and writer who has campaigned against sexism and racism in children's literature since 1971.From Booklist:
PreS-Gr. 3. The author of the popular picture book Amazing Grace (1991) tells another moving story here of an immigrant kid in the classroom. Hassan's Muslim family was driven from their home in Somalia by the violent civil war. On his first day of school in America, everything looks gray and strange and he can't speak English. Then in art class he paints a picture of the happy home he remembers before the soldiers came to his village. When he paints a second picture of the nightmares that haunt him--the flames and bullets that killed his uncle and drove his family out--his teacher brings a Somali interpreter to translate for him, and he tells her his refugee story. Littlewood's beautiful impressionistic watercolor paintings reveal the child's memories of his African village: the warmth and light and then the terror. After that there's the flight, and the pictures do a great job of expressing Hassan's sense of dislocation in a gray, unfamiliar place, until, finally, he sees the bright colors of his school and his new home. Hazel Rochman
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