By: J.L. Powers
Published: September 2013
ISBN: 9781743312490


Amina lives on the edges of Mogadishu. Her family's house has been damaged in Somalia's long civil war, but they continue to live there, reluctant to leave their home.

Amina's world is shattered when government forces come to arrest her father because his art has been officially censored, deemed too political. Then rebel forces kidnap Amina's brother, forcing him to become a soldier in Somalia's brutal ongoing war. Although her mother and grandmother are still with her, Amina feels vulnerable and abandoned.

Secretly, she begins to create her own artwork in the streets and the derelict buildings to give herself a sense of hope and to let out the burden of her heart. Her artwork explodes into Mogadishu's underground world, providing a voice for people all over the city who hope for a better, more secure future. This touching story brings home vividly the dangers of creating art that seeks to be true - and all the more so during a vicious civil war, interwoven with religious extremism.

Thankfully, Amina's teenage curiosity and courage also signal hope.


This is a very powerful book that shows us the brutality that civil war brings to innocent families, and how their lives are up turned upside down.

Amina is a young girl with great courage, wit and tenacity. She is forced to grow up quicker than she should when she is confronted with the horrors that are now part of every day life in Mogadishu. But she is determined to follow in her father’s footsteps and share her art, which is her way of expressing what life is like for her people, to the rest of the world.

She does this at great risk to herself and to her family, who have already been through so much heartache.

It is the second story in the Through My Eyes series and gives your students a wonderful insight into a way of life that, thankfully, is very foreign to most of us, but is very real to those living and enduring it on a daily basis.

Suited to all junior to middle secondary students.

This book was included in our September 2013 Secondary Standing Order selection.

Reviewed by Sam