Happiness Comes to America

A story by my 11-year-old friend

Happiness (on right) with a friend

A few years ago my mom and dad, my two older brothers, and I moved from a refugee camp in Tanzania to Chicago.

Now I’m eleven years old. My name is Happiness.

One Sunday night I sat down on my usual pillow on the couch between Mama’s legs so she could fix my hair. She divided it into skinny braids and then pulled them into an elastic band on top of my head.

“OK, I’m done,” she said. (Sometimes she does talk to me in English instead of Kirundi.)

I ran to the bathroom and checked in the mirror. I felt sad . . .

by Happiness Neema

In winter 2020, a couple of months before the pandemic restrictions began, I got together a couple of times with my young friend Happiness to work through & write down a story she wanted to tell. The wonderful Stone Soup magazine, with writing & art for & by children & youth, was pulling together submissions from kids who were living in refugee camps or had done so in the past. We sent her story off & hoped for the best!

Now the magazine’s Refugee Project page has gone live with a few initial posts–including Happiness’s story! Click here to read the personal narrative in its entirety.

If you know creative kids/teens who have life experience as refugees, the project’s main page has links for submissions. Their voices are important!

Author: ruthgoringbooks

Poet, writer-illustrator of children's books, artist, editor, lover of Colombia. Poeta, escritora e ilustradora de libros para niñxs, artista, editora, amante de Colombia.

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