Child of Dandelions

Child of Dandelions


By Shenaaz Nanji


Sabine has a happy life in Uganda, until the "countdown monster" changes everything - ordering her and everyone like her to leave their home and their country.

It is 1972, and fifteen-year-old Sabine enjoys a comfortable life as the daughter of Indian parents living in Uganda. But her world is turned upside down when the country’s military president, General Idi Amin, declares Indians must be “weeded out” of the country in ninety days. At first, Sabine does not believe that as Indians born in Uganda they will be forced to leave their beloved home. It all seems so unfair. But as the countdown continues, Sabine’s eyes are opened to the poverty and hostility around her. She begins to realize that she has lived a life of privilege compared to most Ugandans. Even her best friend, Zena, turns away from her and tells her she does not belong. When Sabine’s beloved uncle goes missing and soldiers raid the family home, her father and mother are forced to flee. Sabine is left to take charge of her and her brother’s fate, using all her strength and resilience to find a way to escape the Uganda that used to be her home.

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About the Author

Shenaaz Nanji was born in Kenya and now lives with her family in Calgary, Alberta. She is the author of Treasure for Lunch, Teeny Weeny Penny, Grandma’s Heart and The Old Fisherman of Lamu.

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Product Information

  • Release: September 1, 2008

  • $9.95 Paperback

  • 216 Pages

  • 5.5 x 8.25

  • Young Adult Fiction

  • Ages 13-17 / Grades 9-12

  • Guided Reading: Y

  • ISBN: 9781897187500


  • Character Education
    > Prejudice & Tolerance

  • Language Arts
    > Historical Fiction

  • History & Social Studies
    > Global Cultures
    > Government & Citizenship
    > War & Conflict
    > Social Justice

  • Reflecting Diversity
    > Ethnic & Cultural Diversity

Awards for Child of Dandelions

  • 2008 Governor General’s Awards – Children’s Literature Text Finalist

  • 2009 Geoffrey Bilson Award for Canadian Children's Historical Fiction Nominee

  • 2009 International Reading Association’s Notable Books for a Global Society List

  • 2010 Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Awards (MYRCA) Finalist

  • 2009 Exporting Alberta Award Finalist

Praise for Child of Dandelions

“A beautiful, touching story of a child caught between two worlds, in a country caught in the grip of a brutal army dictator. Shenaaz Nanji evokes wonderfully the purity and bewilderment of a child awakening to terror and discovering a wretched reality.” — M. G. Vassanji, author of The Assassin’s Song

"Readers will feel her inner conflict sharply, admire her resilience and quick thinking—and come away shocked themselves by the brutality she encounters during this little-known historical episode." - Kirkus Reviews

"...a gripping story of a remarkable teen who helps her family face impossible loss." - Booklist

"A stirring coming-of-age novel... Nanji creates a nuanced story that addresses issues of class and race." - Quill & Quire

"A gripping narrative that immerses readers in Sabine's thoughts such that they intimately experience her loss of naivety and jaded maturation..." - CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"[Child of Dandelions] takes a close-up view of what it feels like to be a child awakening to the terror of a brutal dictatorship and being forced into a maturity well beyond her years. The refugee experience is particularly poignant as seen through the eyes of an adolescent and remains resonant today..." - Professionally Speaking (The Magazine of the Ontario College of Teachers)