Principal Publishing Book Featuring Somali Girl as Protagonist
WAITE PARK - Discovery Elementary principal Tammy Wilson was shocked last year while searching through the school media center.
She couldn't find any book with a main character her Somali students could fully relate to.
"As a principal of a school with a high Somali population, I saw a need for our students to see themselves represented in literature in our building. When I couldn't find any, I went online and still couldn't find one book."
This realization sparked Wilson to write "Through My Eyes". The main character in the story is Zamzam, a Somali girl who leaves her country as a refugee to come to America. When she arrives, she faces culture shock, bias and stereotyping. Wilson says the book has themes of compassion, understanding and empathy.
"As the story goes along she's not quite sure where she fits in, but by the end she's really proud to be a Somali girl and what she represents."
Wilson says several of her Somali students served as inspiration for the story.
"I had a group of Somali students last year, I had lunch with them once in a while and would ask them to tell me their story. Their stories were absolutely incredible, the experiences they had and their love of life. I want others to understand their culture."
A book launch for "Through My Eyes" will be held on February 27th at the Great River Regional Library in St. Cloud from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Wilson says books will be for sale and they're planning to put it in libraries across the district.
"For students and the community we're in a time right now where so many people base decisions off of fear. Some in our community are afraid of the Somali population and some Somalis are afraid of others. I just really hope this helps bring people together," Wilson says.