Review Blog

Oct 30 2013

Amina by J. L. Powers

cover image

Through My Eyes series. Allen & Unwin, 2013. ISBN 9781743312490.
Highly Recommended. Amina's young life has only known civil war but in the Mogadishu of 2011 things have taken a turn for the worse. Amina is a Muslim school girl growing up in Somalia and as required by law, she is accompanied at all times by her older brother Roble. Amina's father (Aabbe) is an artist but the ruling fundamentalists have just banned such forms of social commentary. Amina has inherited her father's talent but the teenager prefers to practice public art which she knows is far more dangerous. Often Roble and Amina's love interest, Keinan, keep watch while she draws her street art. Unfortunately, her father is arrested by Al-Shabaab so Amina leaves school to support her pregnant mother, Hooyo and grandmother, Ayeeyo, to survive a new famine in addition to ongoing physical danger.
This little work of faction would inspire fertile discussion of many themes - there's even a reference to the issue of female circumcision. Allen & Unwin have published a 40 page Teaching and Learning Guide online. Readers will admire the heroine of Book Two in the Through my Eyes series for her ongoing passion for art and poetry despite overwhelming grief and adversity.
Deborah Robins

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