Because graphic novels by their nature engage readers on multiple sensory levels. When a story is told through pictures, there is more on the page for readers to explore, and having “background music” can add to the reading experience exponentially.


by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed

illustrated by Victoria Jamieson and Iman Geddy

Dial Books

Finalist – Elementary/Middle-Grade Graphic Novel
2019 CYBILS Awards

The Book

Middle Grade
Africa, Family, Graphic Novel, Memoir, Nonfiction, Social Issues

This powerful tale of two brothers in a refugee camp raises awareness of what it means to be a refugee. Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, arrived at a Kenyan refugee camp when their village was attacked. The two boys, barely toddlers, were given into the care of a woman who’d lost her own family to violence. Seven years later, Omar dreams of finding their mother and getting out of the camp, but when the chance to attend school arises, he’s caught between the desire to learn and become either a teacher or work with refugees, or stay home and look after his special needs brother. When Stars Are Scattered is beautifully devastating in its look at life in a refugee camp. Newbery Medalist Victoria Jamieson collaborates with advocate and refugee Omar Mohamed to bring his story to young readers.

Blurb by Rosemary Kiladitis, MomReadIt


The Music

When Stars are Scattered is a true story about two Kenyan refugee boys, and the playlist reflects their struggles with music from artists who grew up in similar conditions. These artists advocate for their communities through music, drawing upon their challenges throughout their lives for inspiration.

The Girl


Riya is thrilled to be able to combine two of her favorite things: books and music. She is an avid reader who can often be found with her nose in a murder mystery while listening to contemporary piano music, her favorite genre of piano music to listen to and play. She was introduced to CYBILS Awards through her mother, Category Chair and CYBILS Awards Board Member, who helped Riya cultivate her love for books. She hopes that others will love these playlists as much as she does!