WestportREADS 2019: Author Susan Ross Introduces "Kiki And Jacques"

Saturday, Jan 26, 2019 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Author and Westport Library Trustee Susan Ross will lead a family discussion of her book, Kiki and Jacques, A Refugee Story, which is a WestportREADS companion book. This middle grade novel is about a Somali refugee girl and a local boy facing cultural differences on their way to finding friendship. The story reflects on the arrival of large numbers of Somali refugees to Susan's childhood home in Maine. Kiki and Jacques was chosen for the Bank Street Best Children's Book list. Susan's website is AuthorSusanRoss.com. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

WestportREADS is funded by the estate of Jerry A. Tishman.

Author Susan Ross comments, "Our WestportREADS adult book, Exit West, is a beautiful example of a novel that is able to fully capture the immigrant journey in its complexity of experience and emotion. This is the magic and wonder of fiction! In Kiki and Jacques, I hope kids can similarly feel what it's like to be inside the lives of the characters and begin to share the experience of a refugee child—as well as the challenges facing kids welcoming new and different friends to their school. When I first went to the local library in Maine to meet Somali teenagers in researching this book, the children's librarian told me something I've never forgotten: that in her experience, kids are a whole lot more alike than they are different. I looked around the library in a town that had once been largely one-dimensional and saw Somali kids doing exactly what my kids were doing at home—playing video games, chatting with friends, talking about siblings, parents, and life.

At the beginning of Kiki and Jacques, each group of kids is wary of the other -- but by the end, Jacques comes to realize through school and soccer that he and his new Somali classmates have a lot in common -- though a lot remains different, too, and that's fine."

Susan's upcoming middle grade novel, Searching for Lottie, is a contemporary Holocaust mystery based in part on her own family's immigrant and refugee story.

Riverwalk Level
All ages

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