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The Girl Who Smiled Beads
The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After | Elizabeth Weil, Clemantine Wamariya
A riveting story of dislocation, survival and the power of the imagination to save us. Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were "thunder." It was 1994, and in 100 days, more than 800,000 people would be murdered in Rwanda and millions more displaced. Clemantine and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, ran and spent the next six years wandering through seven African countries searching for safety--hiding under beds, foraging for food, surviving and fleeing refugee camps, finding unexpected kindness, witnessing unimaginable cruelty. They did not know whether their parents were alive. At age twelve, Clemantine, along with Claire, was granted asylum in the United States--a chance to build a new life. Chicago was disorienting, filled with neon lights, antiseptic smells, endless concrete. Clemantine spoke five languages but almost no English, and had barely gone to school. Many people wanted to help--a family in the North Shore suburbs invited Clemantine to live with them as their daughter. Others saw her only as broken. They thought she needed, and wanted, to be saved. Meanwhile Claire, who had for so long protected and provided for Clemantine, found herself on a very different path, cleaning hotel rooms to support her three children. Raw, urgent, yet disarmingly beautiful, The Girl Who Smiled Beads captures the true costs and aftershocks of war: what is forever lost, what can be repaired, the fragility and importance of memory, the faith that one can learn, again, to love oneself, even with deep scars.
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Bookwormjillk
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Pickpick

When she was six Clemantine fled her parent‘s house with her sister and just a few belongings. Until she was twelve they lived as refugees. Then they were awarded a visa to live in the US. This book shows that what looks like the happily ever after ending that you might see on the outside isn‘t always reality. #ReadingAfrica2022 #Rwanda

Librarybelle I need to read this 5mo
BarbaraBB Very thoughtful review 5mo
Bookwormjillk @BarbaraBB @Librarybelle it‘s early but this might be my favorite from the challenge 5mo
BarbaraBB That is so good, to discover new favorites. Mine so far is my #Liberia book: 5mo
61 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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BekaReid
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Pickpick

I'm not sure I have the words to give this book even an adequate review. Raw, spare, and true this memoir demands demands your attention and shares one of the most authentic voices I've read.

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jenniferw88
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Pickpick
Megabooks This book was so sad. 9mo
Librarybelle Thanks for reminding me about this one! 8mo
Cinfhen Great pick!!!!! 8mo
81 likes3 stack adds3 comments
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AmyK1
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Pickpick

This is a powerful and heartbreaking book about surviving the Rwanda genocide and what happens to displaced people as a result. Clemantine was 6 years old when she and her sister, 15, escaped and spent the next 6 years walking from country to country and one refugee camp to another. She tells it with raw honesty and emotion.

42 likes3 stack adds
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Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
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So I‘m cheating on my on photo challenge 🤪 I couldn‘t find any books set in #NorthernAfrica but this one is set in East Africa...

#LitsySpringBreak
#TBR

TheKidUpstairs I've heard really good things! 2y
77 likes1 comment
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Booklover2
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Pickpick

I dont have the space to write all that i feel about this book. I encourage everyone to keep reading about others experiences. Clementine Wamariya‘s story of survival as a child in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide is heartbreaking and enlightening. Keep learning and growing to hold onto our empathy and humanity.

marleed I thought the whole Oprah show surprise was very interesting. Some things just don‘t need to happen in front of the world. 2y
Booklover2 Oh I couldn‘t agree more. Some things are just private moments. Putting them on display for the world, is not always the best idea even if the intentions are coming from a place of good. 2y
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Booklover2
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Pickpick

I honestly do not have enough space to share my feelings about Clementine Wamariya‘s riveting memoir. I just encourage everyone to keep reading about others experiences to keep our empathy and humanity alive. This young survivor of the Rwandan genocide is heartbreaking and enlightening. Keep learning, keep growing.

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WorldsOkayestStepMom
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Pickpick

Beautiful memoir, of a scared young girl that grew into a dynamic, open-hearted woman. I wish the world had treated her, and literally millions of other humans, better.

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Melkyl
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Pickpick

This book is a fascinating story of survival and redemption. Books like these serve as a reminder of how quickly things can turn. They also let us know that strength comes in many different forms. I like books like this to give me perspective.

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violabrain
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Pickpick

This is probably the most powerful, most honest memoir I have ever read.

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Laughterhp
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Pickpick

I‘m glad I finally read this book. I heard about when it first came out. At the end of the audiobook you hear about 15 minutes from the author herself and thoughts.

Reading about the Rwanda Genocide was eye opening. It was heartbreaking hearing everything Clementine and everyone else went through. I like how she made links to Night and Eli Wiesel because I remember reading that book in high school.

#Booked2020 -About Genocide
#ReadBlackAuthors

Cinfhen I was also moved by this book and appreciated the parallels that were made to Elie Wiesel‘s Night. 2y
JoScho You are tearing through them 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 2y
BarbaraTheBibliophage This book was so intense. ♥️📚👊🏻 2y
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sheffner
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Pickpick

This was beautiful and heart wrenching. I am in awe of Clemantine‘s story, her journey, and her strength. I enjoyed the narrator and loved being able to hear Clemantine speak in the last chapter of the audiobook. Thank you again, @Cinfhen for the recommendation.

#booked2020

#aboutgenocide

Cinfhen I read this one but I‘m sure the audio made the story even more meaningful. Glad you found it inspiring too💜 2y
9 likes1 comment
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sheffner
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#weeklyforecast:

I‘m hoping to finish both my current reads before the end of the month-I‘ve got about two and ½ hours left on each of them.

Then it‘s time for #bookspin picks!

@Cinfhen

Cinfhen Good luck ☘️I enjoyed both and you have until Friday to post your #SpringQuarterReads #Booked2020 😁 2y
Cinfhen I really liked them both - good luck 🍀 you have until the end of the week to post your #SpringQuarterReads 2y
sheffner @Cinfhen Good, I have a couple extra days! 😄I am really enjoying both so far. 2y
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sheffner
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#bookreport

Another busy week!

I finished “Brightly Burning," my June #doublespin-” ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Making good progress on “The Girl Who Smiled Beads.” I also started the audiobook of “Chemistry-” the narrator is very engaging.

@Cinfhen

Cinfhen I know they are both for #Booked2020 😊Hope you like them 🤞🏽🤞🏽 2y
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sheffner
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#bookreport

Glad it‘s the weekend-lots of meetings and curbside service has been busy this week.

Slowly listening to “The Girl Who Smiled Beads,”-trying to savor it as well as finish it before the end of the month.

I started “Brightly Burning,” my #doublespin-it‘s better than I thought it would be and very entertaining.

@Cinfhen

Cinfhen Being busy is good 😃❣️ 2y
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Jbakesmcgee3
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Pickpick

Very powerful #coronareads #32 🦠🦠🦠🦠

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marleed
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Pickpick

Ohh, I‘m glad I read this. I remember that episode way-back-when as Clementine and her sister were reunited with their parents in front of a live audience on the Oprah show. To my chagrin I didn‘t consider how difficult the reality of this reunion might be when the cameras left. Her story is a testament to migrants from around the world seeking a home.

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TheNerdyProfessor
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This book has been on my TBR shelf for nearly 2 YEARS. I'm disappointed I waited so long to read it because it is an incredibly powerful book. It also feels very timely as I compare the ways in which the US treats/welcomes refugees today versus how they did so in the past.

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jenniferw88
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@Mitch thank you so much for everything in my #bhmswap #blackhistorymonthswap box! I love all the books and am looking forward to reading/using them! Looking forward to eating the chocolate too. @Chelleo

Mitch Glad it‘s hit the spot 👍🏼 3y
Chelleo Love it! What‘s the little African print item? 3y
jenniferw88 @Chelleo a pencil case. @Mitch I'm using it to store some of my #bujo supplies! 3y
Chelleo @jenniferw88 Perfect! It‘s so cute! 3y
Chrissyreadit 😍😍😍 3y
91 likes5 comments
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Come-read-with-me
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Pickpick

A powerful story about families & children displaced by war. A struggle for land and racial superiority that negates humanity. Wamariya paints an angry, haunting portrait of what it was like to live as a refugee as a child and grow up displaced from her family and culture. It opened my eyes to what it is like to lose your identity of self and become that object of pity by well intended others. Read it because she will change your life. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Megabooks Absolutely fantastic book! 3y
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Eggs
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Megabooks Great book, but hard to smile when reading it. So sad. 😢😢 I didn‘t know I could get through a book about genocide, but it‘s fantastically written. 3y
Eggs Have not even read a sample of this but yes, sounds sad but important @Megabooks 3y
8little_paws Oh I LOVED this memoir. So well done. 3y
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Eggs @8little_paws 👏🏻🤗 3y
Come-read-with-me I just picked this one up and can hardly wait to start. It sounds like a challenging read but I think it will be worth it. 3y
Eggs @Come-read-with-me Let us know what you think ❣️ (edited) 3y
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Megabooks
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Pickpick

How does one process a genocide? Clementine walked out of Rwanda and seven other countries on her way to America, and she is still coming to terms with what happened to her. Her sister, Claire, was her tenacious protector, yet Claire was abused by her own aid-worker husband.

Not so surprisingly, she found comfort in writer/survivors like Ellie Wiesel and Audre Lorde. She is amazing but wants you to know she is not unique. 😢 5⭐️ 👍🏻👍🏻narration

alisiakae Great review! I especially agree with your last sentence. She is amazing, but we have to remember that those who choose to tell their stories don‘t necessarily hold a unique story, there are millions more stories similar to hers. 😞 3y
Megabooks @4thhouseontheleft Thank you! I hate that there are millions like her in this world, but I‘m glad that she came forward with her story, so that those of us living in comfort can begin to understand. The Rwandan genocide is the first one I remember paying attention to on the news, and I was about he sister Claire‘s age when it happened. It‘s just so hard to believe how difficult their lives were. (edited) 3y
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Cinfhen This book was so touching 😢horrible that it occurred so recently in history. 3y
Cinfhen See, you LIKE memoirs 💖📚🙏🏻 3y
Megabooks @Cinfhen I know! Less than 30 years ago. So terrible. 💔💔💔 Yes, I guess I am a #memoirgirl! 👍🏻 3y
Verity I‘ve heard such great thing about this book, but I just can‘t bring myself to read it. Rwanda was just so awful - even the war reporters who covered it still have PTSD from it, I can‘t imagine what the survivors feel. 3y
Megabooks @Verity I didn‘t think I could read it either, but I‘m glad the booked2020 prompt made me face a book about genocide. 3y
114 likes3 stack adds8 comments
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Lauren890
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This is the first book I can recall reading about the Rwandan genocide. Clementine‘s relationship with her sister is real and raw. So much feels unresolved and messy, but that‘s real life. It‘s a heartbreaking and important book that I‘m so grateful to have read.

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Becca.in.a.book
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I‘m probably not going to reach my goal of 300 books, but I came close! 😍🥰🤣

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alisiakae
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Pickpick

I‘ve read quite a few books over the years on the Rwandan genocide. The subtitle - especially the last 3 words - really says a lot about this one. It is “A story of war and what comes after”. And this memoir, unlike many others I have read, really highlights the “After”. The hidden scars of war, the healing that takes years, decades, a lifetime.

#NFNov
#pop19 #twofemaleauthors
#nonfiction2019 : from another country
#MountTBR

Riveted_Reader_Melissa Sounds very moving. 3y
DGRachel I have this one, but haven‘t been able to bring myself to read it yet. 3y
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alisiakae
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👆👆👆 THIS.

Charitable giving often operates under the guise that those being helped are unable to help themselves.
Many efforts of giving actually destabilize local economies. The initial TOMS model is a great example.

People living in oppressive situations want and need more than being patronized with small tokens of charity. They need more than being someone‘s “feel good moment” during the holidays.

#TIL #NFNov

Tamra Truth 3y
Scochrane26 My church & I started giving to Kiva about 6 years ago. It‘s a great way to donate & help the local economy. It‘s not affiliated w/ churches. You give an initial amount & pick who you want to contribute to. Micro-loans, so you get the initial amount back & can loan again. We have my youth group distribute the $ now when we get re-paid. They enjoy it. 3y
MayJasper What is a TOMS model? Very interesting subject, wanting to help but not knowing how or assuming you know what's best for other people. 3y
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alisiakae @Scochrane26 Kiva is fantastic! I have been giving to Kiva for years too. One of the fellow alumni on my study abroad program is actually one of the founders. 😊 3y
alisiakae @MayJasper TOMS is a brand of shoes that popularized the buy one, give one model. For every pair of shoes purchased, they give a pair to a family in need. They have since made some changes to their approach, including setting up a shoe-manufacturing factory in Haiti, staffed by local employees. 3y
Scochrane26 @4thhouseontheleft That‘s really cool that you know a founder. I thought you prob knew about kiva but explained more in case anyone else wants to know. 3y
TrishB Yep. 3y
alisiakae @Scochrane26 Yes, thank you! I thought about mentioning Kiva, but ran out of space. 😁 3y
MayJasper Thank you 👍😊 @4thhouseontheleft 3y
LaraS YES. This. Louder, for the people in the back.
For anyone working in NGOs or Development work I recommend this (free) course to help understand, identify, and prevent unintended consequences:
https://www.plusacumen.org/courses/introduction-human-centered-design
3y
rsteve388 4 pts 3y
63 likes11 comments
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alisiakae
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I‘ve read about 30 pages in 3 days, I guess I‘m officially in a bit of a reading slump.

I blame Disney+. 🤷🏻‍♀️ While I don‘t celebrate the religious aspects of 🎄, I still like the 🎥 and festivities in *moderation*, and Maya and I had a blast watching this silly, light-hearted 🎅 flick.

It made me want to give Anna Kendrick‘s memoir another go. I put it down a few months ago because I didn‘t feel in the right mood. I am now!

DGRachel I blame you for the sobbing I did at the end of this film! I saw your post and had to go watch it and was a blubbering holiday feels mess. 😭🤣🤣 I hope you‘re feeling better! 3y
alisiakae Doing better today, and will definitely be in touch soon about rescheduling our lunch meet up! Isn‘t Snowcone the cutest? 3y
65 likes2 comments
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alisiakae
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“You cannot bear witness with a single word.”

#TIL Clemantine‘s commentary on the usage of the term genocide had me thinking about it for quite a while after reading this chapter.

#NFNov

rsteve388 4 pts 3y
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alisiakae
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#TIL This quote reminds me so much of a song by one of my refugee clients. The refugee help centre I worked at in Brisbane had a musical group known as the Scattered People Choir, composed of refugees, asylum seekers and friends. One of our songs was called My Hometown, and evokes the love and longing so many refugees have for their home.

#NFNov

marleed That‘s a heartbreaking quote. And way too true. I admire your passion! 3y
alisiakae @marleed Thank you. I don‘t work in the field anymore, but still volunteer when I can. 3y
64 likes2 comments
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alisiakae
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I think this is what I will read next. It‘s been on my #botm backlist, plus it fills the #twofemaleauthors prompt for #pop19, #anothercountry for #nonfiction2019 and works for #NFNov.

What say you, Littens?

I‘m in a race to finish #popsugar2019 before the #pop20 list comes out. 😂

SheReadsAndWrites I love this photo ❤️ 3y
Lauram I really liked this book. (edited) 3y
Riveted_Reader_Melissa Looks like all great reasons to me! It‘s that time of the year where things have to count for multiple categories 😂 3y
rsteve388 1 pt 3y
82 likes4 comments
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Rosewinter
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Pickpick

This is a story, that if open to it, could change people.

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Wife
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Pickpick

The author says that you could cry for a hundred lifetimes and not be able to cry for all the 500,000+ victims of the Rwandan Genocide. So many people died in the span of about 3 1/2 months. I‘ve listened to her story, but will never be able to imagine what it was like for them. 4/5😢

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peacegypsy
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Pickpick

A painfully illuminating memoir that is a testament to the horrors of the refugee experience. I found it particularly helpful in understanding present border concerns.

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CandiReadsBooks
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Pickpick

Clemantine‘s story of survival through the Rwandan genocide is an emotionally heavy one that must be told. The story tells of the courage, resilience and strength she and her sister had to move from one camp to another (and eventually migrate to America). It also shows the different trajectory of the sisters lives, with Clemantine being fostered by a white suburban family. I‘m also glad to know there‘s no animosity between the sisters.

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Lauram
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Pickpick

I picked this library book to meet #LetterG requirement of my #LitsyAtoZ. It‘s one of the best books I‘ve read this year. Clementine‘s story is heartbreaking and tragic.

“When you don‘t belong to a country, the world decides that you don‘t deserve a thing.”

😢

DebinHawaii I really loved this one. It was great in audiobook too. 📚❤️ 3y
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cariashley
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Morning #audiorun view today is of the Williamsburg Bridge! Already pretty warm out but not too bad yet. I‘m getting my miles down to ~9 min each and am really happy with that. This book isn‘t an easy one but it‘s really good - horrifying, though.

sudi What a great view! 😍 3y
Crazeedi Great time! And great view!❤ 3y
cariashley @Crazeedi thanks! 💪 3y
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DebinHawaii
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#WanderingJune
Escaping genocide in 1994 Rwanda at age six, with her older sister, Clemantine Wamariya traveled through refugee camps & throughout southern Africa before being granted asylum in the U.S. in 2000. I found the audio book of her memoir fascinating & think she has grown into a strong, beautiful & amazing African woman. She is my pick for today's #AfricanLady prompt.

*photos borrowed from Vogue. Link to interview below in comments.

Itchyfeetreader I adored this book. Absolutely one of my picks of last year 3y
Cinfhen Wonderful choice 💕 3y
BarbaraBB This sounds so good. Thanks for the interview and the rec! 3y
65 likes6 stack adds4 comments
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MrBook
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#TBRtemptation post 4! Clemantine Wamariya began to see her parents whisper, neighbors disappear, and hear thunderous sounds, when she was 6. In 1994, her and her older 15-year-old sister fled Rwanda, wandering through many African countries parentless. Imprisoned, abused, escaping refugee camps, and experiencing kindness, they would eventually be granted asylum in the US. Then the journey into her past would begin. #blameLitsy #blameMrBook 😎

APLitlife On my TBR! Trying to get through as much as I can this summer. 3y
MrBook @APLitlife 😁👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 3y
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MsLeah8417
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Pickpick

🌟🌟🌟

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MsLeah8417
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CURRENTLY READING

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BookNAround
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Pickpick

A memoir by a woman who, as a child, fled the Rwandan genocide with her older sister, they went through seven countries, never knowing if the rest of their family was still alive, before coming to the US as refugees. Full review at https://booknaround.blogspot.com/2019/04/review-girl-who-smiled-beads-by.html

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ReneeBijou
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I completed this beauty a month ago and yet I am still drawn to it. I want to paint the world with these beautiful words especially the last line. #thegirlwhosmiledbeads

LitsyWelcomeWagon Welcome to Litsy! Hope these #Litsytips by @RaimeyGallant http://bit.ly/litsytips and #LitsyHowTo videos: goo.gl/UrCpoU are helpful. There‘s so many fun things to do: book exchanges, buddy reads, photo challenges and more! #LitsyWelcomeWagon
3y
RaimeyGallant Welcome! 3y
ReneeBijou Thank you! 3y
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StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Welcome to Litsy 💖📖💖 3y
Eggs Welcome to Litsy 🤗🌺 3y
ReneeBijou @Eggs thank you! 3y
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ElectricKatyLand
Pickpick

I listened to this on audiobook and was captivated. Wamariya weaves together her childhood as a Rwandan refugee moving across other unstable African countries, and her adolescence in the US at private schools and Yale. She explores how each transition affecter her personally, her relationships, and her attitudes. This is not a happy-ending-with-a-bow book, but it is all the more powerful as a result.

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nelehelen
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My haul from the #BooksandBrews event at Anchor Brewery! 😍😍😍

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The_Reading_Hedgehog
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Mehso-so

I enjoyed this book. It wasn‘t amazing but the story was captivating and made me think about my life in a way I haven‘t before. Also, I thought the cover is really cool - the beads you can see on the front are overlaid on a picture of the author so you can see bits of her in this fairytale she has adapted as a metaphor for her life.

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Currey
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Pickpick

#Rwanda This book was authored by Clementine Wamariya and co-written by Elizabeth Weil. It is the story of Clemantine‘s and her sister Claire‘s journey from the outbreak of war in Rwanda through multiple refugee camps and finally to the US. More importantly it is the journey through survival, emotional scars, loss, furious soul eating anger mixed with perseverance and hope. I can‘t review someone‘s life but the telling is powerfully personal.

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KellyHunsakerReads
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Ms. Wamariya shares her experience with openness and heart. It is a candid look at the Rwandan civil war. #ReadingTheWorld.

LitLogophile Loved this! 4y
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