From Somalia with Love

By Na’ima B. Robert                            Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

The opening sentence of Na’ima B. Robert’s novel is captivating.

“Last weekend Hoyo, my mum, gave me the best news ever and the most shocking news ever”. This very first sentence invites the reader into the world of the character Safia and to find out whatever the “news” might be.

The novel is a story of a juvenile fourteen year old teenage girl who is just finding her identity as a young Muslimah and a place to belong. After just been told about her father’s journey home, Safia doesn’t know how to act and undoubtedly fall into the clutches of the unsuitable life of her cousin Firdous, a party girl.

Na’ima B. Robert has been fascinated by Somali Culture ever since her first encounter with immigrant Somali students in East London. The idea for “From Somalia with Love” came to her while on a weekend retreat for Somali youth. It is her first novel for teenagers.

I personally enjoyed reading “From Somalia with Love” as I would have been in Safia’s shoes of having to live with both your parents for the first time and as a young teenager. I would recommend this novel to young teenage Muslimahs between the age of thirteen and sixteen.

“Warm, engaging and intensely thought-provoking….” Carousel.

“Has relevance for anybody affected by frictions between age and group loyalties. That must include all of us” Books for Keeps.

“Vivid and sympathetic” I BBY Link.

“A lovely story about being a teenager with two different cultures and trying to find out who you are”. Wellington City Libraries, New Zealand.

School Librarian said: “the strong story of Safia’s quest to discover who she is will strike a resonance with many of today’s teenagers”.

Other fantastic teen novels by Na’ima B. Robert are “Boy vs. Girl” and “Far From Home”.


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