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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
144 posts | 90 read | 2 reading | 245 to read
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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4thhouseontheleft
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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. 3w
DGRachel I have this one, but haven‘t been able to bring myself to read it yet. 3w
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4thhouseontheleft
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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 3w
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. 3w
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. 3w
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4thhouseontheleft @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. 😊 3w
4thhouseontheleft @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. 3w
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. 3w
TrishB Yep. 3w
4thhouseontheleft @Scochrane26 Yes, thank you! I thought about mentioning Kiva, but ran out of space. 😁 3w
MayJasper Thank you 👍😊 @4thhouseontheleft 3w
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
3w
rsteve388 4 pts 3w
62 likes11 comments
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4thhouseontheleft
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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! 3w
4thhouseontheleft Doing better today, and will definitely be in touch soon about rescheduling our lunch meet up! Isn‘t Snowcone the cutest? 3w
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4thhouseontheleft
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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 3w
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4thhouseontheleft
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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! 3w
4thhouseontheleft @marleed Thank you. I don‘t work in the field anymore, but still volunteer when I can. 3w
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4thhouseontheleft
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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 ❤️ 3w
Lauram I really liked this book. (edited) 3w
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 😂 3w
rsteve388 1 pt 3w
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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. 📚❤️ 5mo
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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! 😍 5mo
Crazeedi Great time! And great view!❤ 5mo
cariashley @Crazeedi thanks! 💪 5mo
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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 6mo
Cinfhen Wonderful choice 💕 6mo
BarbaraBB This sounds so good. Thanks for the interview and the rec! 6mo
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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. 6mo
MrBook @APLitlife 😁👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 6mo
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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
6mo
RaimeyGallant Welcome! 6mo
ReneeBijou Thank you! 6mo
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StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Welcome to Litsy 💖📖💖 6mo
Eggs Welcome to Litsy 🤗🌺 6mo
ReneeBijou @Eggs thank you! 6mo
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hermyknee

This book is good, there is no doubt. But, I think I will have to come back to it. I‘m having a really hard time concentrating recently. I have it in hardback, so maybe actually reading it is the way I should go instead of listening to it on audio. Hopefully when this school year ends I‘ll be able to focus on something. #tbr #audio #botm

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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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Pickpick

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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hermyknee
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Just the prologue has my heart wrenched out and smashed open... and I‘m angry. Humbled. Riveted. #audible

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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! 9mo
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Jacquelyne
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Pickpick

Wamariya's literature background shines in her exceptional writing and rich vocabulary that colors the pages of this remarkable memoir.

The fragmentation of her history and her struggle to find wholeness deeply resonated with me. This is a book that will sit on my soul for quite awhile.

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Billypar
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Pickpick

Wamariya faced an unexpected problem in arriving in the U.S. as a child after she and her sister spent years as refugees from the Rwandan genocide. How do you share your experiences to well-intentioned people who don't have a clue just how ordinary your experience was, however traumatic? This memoir explores how to be empathic and sympathetic without putting others in a box: how to hear others' stories instead of just their situation.

Billypar I would also highly recommend the audio version. Not only is the narration good, but the author voices her own Afterword, and it is delivered in such a powerful way: more like she's speaking to you directly in a conversation instead of reading. 10mo
Leftcoastzen This has been on my radar, your wonderful review makes me want to move it up the stack and go for the audio . 10mo
Cathythoughts Great ! I‘m always looking for good audios 👍🏻♥️ 10mo
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Billypar @Leftcoastzen @Cathythoughts Will be interested to hear your thoughts if you pick it up (or push 'play')! 10mo
Suet624 Great review. 9mo
Billypar @Suet264 Thanks! ☺️ 9mo
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Redjewel_7734
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Pickpick

This is a wonderfully told heartbreaking & uplifting story. But its real power was in the way it interrogates the narratives we like to tell ourselves about outreach, the ways we help refugees, how we think we know/understand others‘ trauma, and what we expect in return/believe we‘re owed for all those things. It‘s a hard look at a lot of hard things.

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BookNAround
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It‘s a lazy, grey day here so I thought I‘d finally start my first #newyearwhodis from @Itchyfeetreader . If I don‘t get cracking, I‘ll run out of January and since I already own another one on the list, I don‘t want to do that!

@monalyisha

monalyisha I just love that cover design. 11mo
BookNAround @monalyisha It‘s textured too. (edited) 11mo
Itchyfeetreader Oh I hope you enjoy 11mo
Pricel101 Stacking this #newyearwhodis is a great way to exchange book reco‘s 😀📖 @monalyisha 11mo
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alisonrose
Pickpick

A harrowing read, but crucial particularly for those of us privileged enough to have never experienced anything like this to understand—as much as possible, which surely will never be 100%—what it means to say someone is a refugee. The US seems now dead set against treating refugees w/the care & empathy they deserve, & this account shows just how much ignorance & cruelty that entails. Complex & honest, if a bit disjointed in structure. 4/5 ⭐️

8little_paws I thought this book was incredible 11mo
BlameJennyJane Nice review! 11mo
alisonrose @8little_paws It was! I appreciate that she didn‘t sugarcoat her complicated feelings about her life in the US and how people acted toward her. Made it feel so honest and raw. 11mo
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Weaponxgirl You‘ve just made me want to read this even more than I did before 11mo
alisonrose @Weaponxgirl that‘s always great to hear! 11mo
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alisonrose
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BarbaraTheBibliophage I loved this book! 11mo
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alisonrose
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Weaponxgirl That‘s really powerful 11mo
alisonrose @Weaponxgirl Yeah, I read it over three times because it really struck me 11mo
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alisonrose

I lost track of who I was. I‘d become a negative, a receptacle of need.

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alisonrose
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I didn‘t read much nonfiction last year and want to try to get to more in 2019. This sounds like it will be devastating but also truly powerful. #nowreading

suzisteffen I hadn‘t heard of this book, but wow, definitely one I want to read. Thanks! 11mo
shutterbug_mama I loved it! Enjoy! I read this and A Small Country back to back! Try that one if you also got it from BOTM! 11mo
alisonrose @suzisteffen It‘s painful to read but worth it! 11mo
alisonrose @shutterbug_mama I didn‘t but it is on my list! 11mo
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kaitthegreat
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Pickpick

Although difficult at times to read due to the unsettling content, this book was a raw account of what happens during times of war and after. Clemantine‘s words painted a picture of a story that was troubling but also illuminating. Such a brave, well-spoken woman lifting the curtain on life as a refugee.

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Rachel.Rencher
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Pickpick

This book left me completely speechless. I'm in awe of Clemantine's story about the Rwandan massacre. Clemantine and her sister, Claire, left everything they knew behind in order to escape. They made it to the US 6 years later, but they weren't sure if they still had any family left.

This is why we need to be compassionate to refugees. We can't even begin to understand the trauma they've experienced, and it pains me to see how they're treated.

hermyknee Ooh this one is on my TBR for 2019. I got it last year in a BOTM box, but haven‘t read it yet! (Why?!) 11mo
Blaire Yes! Thank you for your kind message regarding refugees. They have all suffered trauma we can‘t begin to imagine and have taken great risks to try and find a safe home. 11mo
Lucas.Rencher I can't wait to read this! 😀 11mo
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Rachel.Rencher
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I have a new respect for preschool teachers. I subbed it for the first time today, and I can't describe the (literal) amount of crap that I put up with. 😅

Not even joking, there was only one kid whose clothes didn't need changed. One kid got naked on the playground and peed on his own clothes. One threw up exorcist-style all over himself and a box of legos.

Oh yeah, and a kid set wet paint on my book... it's a good thing they're cute.

britt_brooke OMG. 11mo
Bookgoil Yes PreK and EC be crazy. 11mo
mdm139 Lol I used to teach preK. Every day was an adventure. I always kept a change of clothes at work. Paint, snot, and blood was always on me. One memorable day I had to change clothes 3 times and borrowed my boss's back up shirt. 11mo
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Rachel.Rencher @mdm139 Oh dear! Lol I was literally wondering if I should bring extra clothes if I sub for them again. 🤣 11mo
Jee_HookedOnBookz Hahahaha yup! Good thing they're cute! 😁I used to teach preschool too and what learned about it is to expect the unexpected and yes extra clothes always!! 11mo
JSW Everything you described is why I work with college students. 11mo
Rachel.Rencher @JSW Also why I'm going into secondary ed... thankfully all of this is temporary! 11mo
CouronneDhiver Yikes. 😳 11mo
Lucas.Rencher Ya preschool is rough 😀 11mo
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inmegslibrary
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“Nobody is better than anybody else. Nobody is who you think they are at first glance. We need to see beyond the projections we cast onto each other. Each of us is so much grander, more nuanced, and more extraordinary than anybody thinks, including ourselves.”

8little_paws LOVED this book! 11mo
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Rachel.Rencher
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Curling up with a new book while I wait for my hubbs to come home from the gym! I got this one in my last Feed A Reader box, and I've been dying to start it. 🤓

8little_paws Loved this. Top 10 of 2018 11mo
Billypar Reading this one pretty soon! 11mo
Lucas.Rencher It looks so good! 😀 11mo
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Becker
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Worth considering in the current state and culture of our world.

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Expandingbookshelf
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“Survival, true survival of the body and soul, requires creativity, freedom of thought, collaboration. You might have time and I might have land. You might have ideas and I might have strength. You might have a tomato and I might have a knife. We need each other. We need to say: I honor the things that you respect and I value the things you cherish. I am not better than you. To are not better than me.”

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shadowspeak17
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This is a truly heart-wrenching and eye-opening book. Not an easy read, but a necessary one. I would recommend it.

#booked2018 #RefugeeMC #catsoflitsy #Phoenix

CoffeeNBooks Gorgeous cat! 😺 13mo
Cinfhen I read this one too. What a brave young woman! 13mo
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Purplerosiepage
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Pickpick

Compelling story about surviving and the effects of trauma on a person. I‘m glad I gave this one a chance.

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Ashley_Nicoletto
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Up next.

New books and coffee snuggles.

hermyknee Oh I have this book on my #botm shelf - I‘m interested to hear what you think! 1y
Ashley_Nicoletto @hermyknee I finished late last night and it was pretty good. You can tell she experienced a genocide as a child as her writing of it is different then I imagine it would be if she were an adult at the time. Overall, a great story. It really handed me all of my privilege back to me and made me think about how lucky I am to have lived in the US with parents and plenty of food, a consistent home, etc. 1y
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AmyG
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Finally beginning this book that I recieved from @BookNAround last spring! Using it for my #Booked2018 challenge April-June Refugee MC

@Cinfhen @BarbaraTheBibliophage @4thhouseontheleft

Lovesbooks87 Such a powerful read! 1y
AmyG @Lovesbooks87 Good to know! Thanks. 1y
Itchyfeetreader This is one of my favourites of the year so far. Moving and eloquent 1y
See All 7 Comments
BarbaraTheBibliophage This was my pick for that prompt also. It‘s intense. 1y
TheNerdyProfessor I got this from Book of the Month but I still haven't read it yet! I hope you like it! 1y
Cinfhen I thought it started really strong ~ brave young lady 🙌🏻 1y
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UnabridgedPod
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Pickpick

Who else has read #thegirlwhosmiledbeads? This was one of my #botm picks...I am SO glad that I grabbed this memoir. Clemantine Wamiraya‘s blunt honesty in sharing her experience results in a powerful, moving, horrifying, and inspiring reading experience. I highly recommend this book—it would be great for book clubs or classrooms or just as an eye-opening book for individuals.

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Well-ReadNeck
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Nitpickyabouttrains
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Pickpick

A deeply involving true story that read like a novel. One girl‘s journey through a terrible event and the horrible years that followed.