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Memoir

The Girl Who Smiled Beads

Debut
We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil, on your first novel!

by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil

Quick take

The eye-opening, true story of two sisters who escape the Rwandan genocide and start life anew in Chicago.

Good to know

  • Heavy Read

  • Social Issues

  • Inspirational

  • International

Why I love it

As a full-time writer and woman of color, I choose my books carefully. I am naturally drawn to vivid narratives from underrepresented voices, and, for me, Clemantine Wamariya’s memoir of life after the Rwandan genocide is a revelatory example of just that. In her story, as in her life, she is extraordinarily well-spoken and fiercely courageous. She grabbed me and refused to let go.

Clemantine was ...

Synopsis

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, impriso...

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