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Crossroads is an anthology of writing by youth and young adult Somali Minnesotans. Edited by author and educator Marian A. Hassan, this first-of-its-kind collection serves as a necessary pillar of self-representation in this politically challenging time in history. The poets and writers within these pages are at continuous stages of transition and intersection: between childhood and adulthood, Somali and American culture, their own expectations versus the world’s.
Expanding on Somalia’s rich oral heritage, the poems and stories in this book document the modern struggles and resilience of this community in transition. As these writers explore their own histories, their dreams, determination, and journeys of self-discovery are sure to inspire pride and understanding in all who read them.
Marian A. Hassan (Ubah) spent her childhood loving language, listening to stories, and memorizing poetry and songs from the rich oral language of her native Somalia. These days, she still loves language, still listens to stories in all mediums, and finds joy in sharing the gift of books and stories with children and parents. She is the author of the bilingual children’s books Bright Star, Blue Sky and Dhegdheer: A Scary Somali Folktale, as well as The ABCs of Peace, to be published by Red Leaf Press.
“These writers helped me know their unique experiences of trauma and loss—loss of homeland, safety, identity, language, and more. This book will help future generations of new Americans, as well as the rest of us, remember our roots while also embracing the new.” —Pauline Boss, author of Ambiguous Loss; Professor Emeritus, Department of Family Social Science, University of Minnesota
“These stories of resilience and hope are acts of self-representation and empowerment not only for Somali youth in our community, but for immigrant communities across our nation. Crossroads reflects Minnesota’s increasingly rich, vibrant, and diverse story, which we continue writing together.” —Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter
“Crossroads is an invaluable resource for educators and students seeking to bridge the gaps in culturally responsive literary material pertaining to East Africa. I cannot wait to see Crossroads in the hands of audiences all over the world brought together by their appreciation of literature.” —Abdisalam Adam, Assistant Principal, Highland Park Senior High School, Saint Paul, MN
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Crossroads is a must read for every educator and anyone else wanting a window into the lives of Somali youth. This incredible book gives voice to those whose voices are seldom heard. Not only do we get the heart and soul touching stories of our Somali youth, we can a beautiful and powerful window into Somali wisdom and teachings.
This anthology will simultaneously warm and break your heart, but it does so while planting seeds of hope for not only the lives of the Somali youth who tell their stories in its pages but also our collective society to find bridges of affinity, empathy and understanding.
This book opens windows and hearts.