In Like Joyful Tears, readers see first-hand the trauma and havoc wreaked by civil war. Victoria Deng of southern Sudan is sixteen when her school is attacked by northern soldiers and everyone but herself and her sister Mary are massacred. The girls are soon rescued by southern rebel soldiers, who are escorting hundreds of children on the harrowing and dangerous cross-desert journey to a refugee camp. Twenty years later in Vancouver, Canada, restless UBC student Abena Walker, looking to do something meaningful and rediscover her parents’ original home of Africa, travels to Ukiwa Refugee Camp in Kenya as a teacher. While she struggles to comprehend the bleak situation of the thousands of refugees in the camp and whether or not she is making a difference, Abena meets and befriends Victoria and her two children who are now living in the camp. Unwilling to let the camp rules stop her from doing what is right, Abena and her friend Frank McClune, jaded from two decades of work in Africa but huge of heart, decide to break all the rules to try and free Victoria and her children and help them immigrate to North America. Although a work of fiction, Like Joyful Tears is based on the author’s decade of work in the refugee community.
About the author
David Starr is a prize-winning author of five previous books. In The Nor’Wester, he told Duncan’s story of fleeing Scotland to Canada, where he joins Simon Fraser on his epic 1808 voyage by canoe down the Fraser. Bombs to Books chronicles the stories of refugee children and their families coming to B.C. Golden Goal and Golden Game are young adult soccer-themed books for reluctant readers. The Insider’s Guide to K–12 Education in B.C. is a resource guide for parents about the B.C. school system. David grew up in Fort St. James in northern British Columbia, and he now lives in Greater Vancouver with his wife, four children and a dog named Buster. He is one of the UBC Faculty of Education’s Top 100 Graduates and a school administrator in Metro Vancouver. For further information and readings availability, visit www.davidstarr.org.