Child of Dandelions
by Shenaaz Nanji
Second Story Press, 2008
$9.95, 216 pp, Historical Note, ages 12+
Child of Dandelions takes place in Uganda in 1972 when Idi Amin declared that all Indians must leave the country within ninety days. At that time, many Indians were part of the middle class in Uganda, having established themselves after two waves of immigration from India in the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. In this story, fifteen-year-old Sabine is caught up in political and personal drama as her uncle goes missing, her parents flee, and her friendship with her best friend is affected by the girls’ ancestries. Through the eyes of Sabine, we learn how African Ugandans resented the English and Indian people who largely controlled the country, and how they expelled the Indians, even those born in Uganda. Sabine ultimately escapes with her brother to Canada where she hopes to be reunited with her parents and to begin a new life. Shenaaz Nanji, herself born in East Africa, has captured this period of Ugandan history in an emotional story in which a young person begins to understand the realities of the real world outside the security of her family.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s January 2009 issue.