Wednesday April 12, 2023
BY SUSAN-ELIZABETH LITTLEFIELD
A father couldn't find a book about growing up in Somalia to read to his daughter. So he wrote his own
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A Minnesota dad is taking matters into his own hands after he couldn't find a children's book to read to his daughter that represented his childhood growing up in Somalia.
Abdullahi Janno came to the United States in high school, after he was born in Somalia and raised in a refugee camp. Now, he's a proud father and translater for St. Paul Public Schools.
When he was asked to read to his daughter's 4th grade class, he wanted to choose a book that represented his culture. When he couldn't find one, he decided to write his own.
"Writing takes a lot of energy," Janno said. "You have to give up something to accomplish this dream."
He published "When River Stopped Singing to Cloud," which is now a hit in his daughter's classroom.
"Representation matters," Janno explained. "To kids, see they are represented in stories, it means a lot to them, and to me as an author. It's good those kids can see their history, their culture represented in those books."
"I thought it was awesome because my family is Somali and I understand a lot of words, so it was very awesome," said Yaqub Yusuf, a student in the class.
Abdullahi collaborated with a local illustrator and now has two more books in the works. To learn more about "When River Stopped Singing to Cloud," click here.