Book of the Week: Kakuma Girls

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Kakuma Girls
Clare Morneau
9781988025148 | $19.95 CAN
PB | 180 Pages | Shipping Oct 3, 2016
Barlow Books
Distributed in Canada by Georgetown Publications

Clare Morneau, daughter of Canada’s finance minister, Bill Morneau, is only 17, but she has created an inspiring  and beautiful book for teenage girls that vividly portrays both
the hardships and the delightful spirit of similarly aged girls living in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. These courageous girls describe how, as young children, they escaped from violence in neighbouring countries, often without their parents to protect them. They ended up at a gritty camp in northwestern Kenya, where an elementary school set up by Angelina Jolie was the only school for girls available. Then the Morneau family insurance company established a high school to give the most ambitious girls a chance at further education.

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This inspiring book includes pictures by a prominent Ugandan photographer and interviews with the Kakuma girls. In spite of their dreary camp life, the girls are brave and hopeful for their futures. They also exchange letters with some of the girls at Clare’s high school in Toronto, who live in dramatically different circumstances. These handwritten letters draw a sharp contrast between the lives of each set of teenagers, but also reveal that girls will be girls, wherever they live. This book will appeal to Canadian teens who want to know what it’s like to live in a place where peace and freedom are a dream, not an assumption. At a time when so many people in the U.S. and the U.K. are turning their backs on immigrants in trouble, this book will inspire and educate young people in Canada to think about the world in a big and generous way. Proceeds from the book will go to the education of the girls at the Kakuma Refugee Camp.

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