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Child of Dandelions: 10 Reasons to Read it!

February 3, 2009

Calgary, AB (Canada) – This book explores the forced exodus of Indians from Uganda, many of whom were welcomed to Canada. This period has been in the public eye with the Oscar-winnng film “The Last King of Scotland”, but the history is still unknown to many. Sheenaz Nanji opens a door into the untold stories of these people. Here are 10 reasons why you should pick this book up;

nanji_childofdandelions

1. The story is the ‘Lost Piece of History’ in North American History & Literature. Canada and United States kindly welcomed the Ugandan refugees expelled in 1972. Today about 150,000 Ugandan exodees live in North America, yet hardly anything is known about why they are here.
2. The story is the ‘Keeper of World History’ in the era of global conflict today that must be told because history repeats itself. An entire community was uprooted because of their ethnicity, the earliest form of ‘ethnic cleansing’ (though we didn’t know the words then.). After the holocaust we said “Never Again,” but ethnic cleansing in Rwanda took the world by surprise, followed by the massacre in Bosnia. 
3. It is the first book on Ugandan exodus in Children’s Literature told from a young teen’s eyes. I wrote it for my children, not realizing that they’d grow up faster than my book. In raising my children in North America, I searched bookstores and libraries, but could not find a single book on this historical disaster.
4. I believe in the Power of Stories. The young girl’s story occurs in a distant and foreign land, but hopefully her emotional experience will transfer into the readers as their own, and leave them thinking differently than before.  

5. World Calamities interest me. Not natural disasters by Mother Nature, but the crisis inflicted on man by man. The unlawful expulsion of Ugandan citizens from their homeland turned the maternal side of my family who lived like ‘Kings of Kampala’ into refugees. I remember the feelings of being powerless, victimized and outraged. One of my uncle’s was killed during this period. In the course of writing this story, I learned that we do bad things to others because we are afraid of them; we show them off our powers because we are actually powerless; we want to hurt them because we are hurt. All this could have been avoided – if we understood each other. The story may empower today’s children to negotiate and talk to each other.
6. The story is important for children coming-of-age; they will experience an understanding of bony issues: identity, gender roles, inter-racial friendship, what is home, class distinction, impact of political and social realities of Colonization.

7. It gives rise to an interesting debate on Colonial Legacy. To what extent did the British Colonials Rule of East Africa influence the historical disaster in Uganda?

8. The story offers hope and courage and demonstrates the spirit of human resilience. The young girl in the story will simply not let the soldiers win. She will ‘carry her home’ with her and keep her dead uncle’s memory alive.

9. It may offer epiphanies, moments of profound realization. The young girl in the story realizes that dandelions are tough and persistent; her revenge will be to live well in the new world.

10. The story highlights the concept of good and evil. Can they co-exist in us? Evil people do not like to be harmed by others so why does evil exist? How much of it is influenced by self and how much of it by society? (Excerpt from www.snanji.com)

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