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Young Adult Nonfiction Cultural Heritage

Maison Rouge

Memories of a Childhood in War

by (author) Liliane Leila Juma

Tradewind Books
Initial publish date
Mar 2020
Cultural Heritage, Women, Africa
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2020
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 18
  • Grade: 8 to 12
  • Reading age: 12 to 18


Liliane Leila Juma was sixteen years old when her family home in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was destroyed by rebel soldiers. She gives an account of her life before and after her family was torn apart. Maison Rouge is a story of war and unspeakable loss. It is also the story of survival. Eventually, through the United Nations refugee program, Leila and her family were finally able to relocate to Canada.

About the author

Leila Liliane Juma
grew up in Uvira, a city in the western Congo on the shore of Lake Tanganyika near the border with Burundi. Her life as a young girl was brutally disrupted by the wars in Burundi (1993), Rwanda (1994), and the Congo (1994-1997), finally forcing her family to flee to Tanzania. After some time in a refugee protection camp, Leila, her Maman, and her sisters and brothers immigrated to Canada. Leila now lives in Vancouver, where she works as a Women's Support Worker. She is fluent in three languages; Swahili, French, and English.

Liliane Leila Juma's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“A thoughtful, moving story of loss and triumph.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Leolina's voice is that of a young person, (making) her experiences, unimaginable to some, feel very vivid and lived . . . (She) uses her voice to navigate conflict and convey hope to others still struggling, while also educating those lucky enough to not have to face the same kind of turmoil.”

Quill & Quire

“This memoir draws readers in, causing us to love the people she loved and rage at the ones who hurt her. There cannot be too many stories of the lives of displaced people in today’s world, and this one both blends in with and stands apart from this growing body of work.”


“Juma’s heart-wrenching story of betrayal, war, and displacement is tantalizing and will no doubt captivate her target audience. Unraveling for her readers the often-convoluted ethnic unrest and vortex of war that have wreaked havoc in the Great Lakes Region, she succeeds in conveying the ways in which war tears apart the social fabric of vulnerable communities, displaces civilians, and indiscriminately destroys ordinary people’s lives.”

Africa Access Reviews