refugee

Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar and book cover "The Map of Salt and Stars"
Neha Gautam

“The Map of Salt and Stars” is the debut novel by Syrian American writer Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar. It is the story of two girls living eight hundred years apart: a modern-day Syrian refugee seeking safety and a medieval adventurer apprenticed to a legendary mapmaker, showing the pain of exile and the triumph of courage. 

Lidia Matticchio Bastianich is a successful restaurateur, the author of many best-selling cookbooks, and the Emmy award-winning host of public television's "Lidia's Kitchen," which also airs internationally. She is also a judge on MasterChef Junior Italy and Italy's highly rated daily program "La Prova del Cuoco." 

Lidia's story begins with her upbringing in Pula, a formerly Italian city turned Yugoslavian under Tito's communist regime. She enjoys a childhood surrounded by love and security, despite the family's poverty, learning everything about Italian cooking from her beloved grandmother, Nonna Rosa. When the communist regime begins investigating the family, they flee to Trieste, Italy, where they spend two years in a refugee camp waiting for visas to enter the United States -- an experience that will shape Lidia for the rest of her life.

Her new memoir is "My American Dream: A Life of Love, Family, and Food."

Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were thunder. In 1994, she and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years migrating through seven African countries, searching for safety—perpetually hungry, imprisoned and abused, enduring and escaping refugee camps, finding unexpected kindness, witnessing inhuman cruelty. They did not know whether their parents were dead or alive. 

In "The Girl Who Smiled Beads," Clemantine provokes us to look beyond the label of “victim” and recognize the power of the imagination to transcend even the most profound injuries and aftershocks. Devastating yet beautiful, and bracingly original, it is a powerful testament to her commitment to constructing a life on her own terms.