Books on Tap - The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After

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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. In 1994, she and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years migrating through seven African countries, searching for safety—perpetually hungry, imprisoned and abused, enduring and escaping refugee camps, finding unexpected kindness, witnessing inhuman cruelty. They did not know whether their parents were dead or alive.

When Clemantine was twelve, she and her sister were granted refugee status in the United States; there, in Chicago, their lives diverged. Though their bond remained unbreakable, Claire, who had for so long protected and provided for Clemantine, was a single mother struggling to make ends meet, while Clemantine was taken in by a family who raised her as their own. She seemed to live the American dream: attending private school, taking up cheerleading, and, ultimately, graduating from Yale. Yet the years of being treated as less than human, of going hungry and seeing death, could not be erased. She felt at the same time six years old and one hundred years old.

RSVP for our Books on Tap discussion of Clemantine Wamariya 's “The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After.” Don't forget to stop by the library to borrow a copy of the book. We'll get settled, order food/drinks, and catch up with everyone at 7pm on Tuesday, February 26 at The Sitting Duck Tavern. Our book discussion starts at 7:30pm. Cheers!