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A novel for the International Day of Reflection

By Allison Kooser

Nearly 30 years ago, almost one million people were killed over the course of 100 days in one of the most violent genocides in history. In Rwanda, neighbors turned against neighbors and families were ripped apart. The scale and severity of the violence remain almost unimaginable—and the ripple effect of the genocide have shaped the policy and culture of the region for the last three decades.

Every April 7, the United Nations remembers the Rwandan Genocide through the International Day of Reflection. This year, we invite you to honor and remember the lives lost during the genocide through an evocative novel detailing one boy’s coming of age and its interruption by civil war and violence.

Join us in reading Small Country by Gaël Faye, a poignant story informed by his childhood in Burundi—a childhood that watched happy days give way to increasing conflict in Rwanda.

Dive into questions of war, exile, identity, family, and country through this powerful novel that offers a depiction of shattered peace, seen through the eyes of a young boy, that will stay with you long after you finish the final page. Together, we remember and reflect—then work toward a more peaceful and tolerant future. 

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