the girl who smiled beadsTHE GIRL WHO SMILED BEADS
A Story of War and What Comes After
by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil

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It was 1994 and Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when she and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, fled the Rwandan massacre. They would spend the next six years migrating through seven African countries, searching for safety—enduring and escaping refugee camps, finding unexpected kindness, witnessing inhuman cruelty. It was not until she was twelve that she and her sister were granted refugee status in the United States. In this devastating, bracing original book, Clemantine provokes us to look beyond the label of “victim” and recognize the power of the imagination to transcend even the most profound injuries and aftershocks.

“Wamariya’s testimony and her search to establish her own identity in America—post trauma and post war—resonate themes that provide a troubling but necessary historical lens into the Rwandan genocide while causing the reader to think more deeply about refugees and connect to today’s world refugee crisis. An urgent, timely and relevant read for all high school students!” —Colleen Tambuscio, Special Education Department Liaison, New Milford High School

“Clemantine Wamariya’s memoir is not solely an account of survival, but it is also one of self-discovery. She demonstrates that a story does not simply end when the action ends; it continues as life’s circumstances shape how we reflect, grow, and change. Despite her harrowing experience, Wamariya expresses her appreciation for the childhood she once loved and the community she left behind. The Girl Who Smiled Beads is a sharp reminder that history does, in fact, repeat itself and that introspection and advocacy are the best ways to change the world in which we live both personally and globally.” —Suzanne Hamilton, 7th & 8th Grade Language Arts Teacher, Carl H. Kumpf Middle School

Click here to watch the author’s TED Talk