UWIRINGIYIMANA, Sandra with Abigail Pesta. How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child. 304p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. May 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780062470140.
Gr 7 Up –The greatest storytellers connect with readers through universal truths, and Uwiringiyimana tells her own profound story with clarity and honesty. After a heart-pounding cliff-hanger opening, Uwiringiyimana goes back in time to revisit her childhood in Uvira, a city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Although occasionally interrupted by bouts of war and subsequent migration, her childhood was rich and fulfilling. However, everything changed during a stay at a refugee camp. The camp at Gatumba was attacked by the Forces for National Liberation, a militant rebel group—a deadly event that would forever alter Uwiringiyimana and her family. The resulting narrative is a powerful look at the family’s move to the United States, the challenges of adjusting to a different culture, Uwiringiyimana’s painful recognition of her trauma from the massacre, and, finally, the healing she experienced as she took ownership of her emotional needs. Throughout, readers will be able to relate to Uwiringiyimana’s adolescent struggles of fitting in and her relationship with her parents as a new adult. The title is a critical piece of literature, contributing to the larger refugee narrative in a way that is complex and nuanced but still accessible for a YA audience. VERDICT This poignant memoir is a must-have for teen collections.
This review was published in the School Library Journal April 2017 issue.