North to Paradise by Ousman Umar, translated by Kevin Gerry Dunn
This memoir is the harrowing story of a boy’s trek from Ghana to Spain in search of an education and a better life.
At the age of 12, Ousman sets out on a five-year journey to Paradise. Along the way, he travels with smugglers, crosses much of the Sahara on foot, and struggles against racism, abuse, and loneliness. Yet, he finds compassion and help—in the most unlikely of places.The book does an excellent job of balancing the horrors Umar endured with the hope that allowed him to persevere. The one caveat is the memoir could have been longer, giving Umar’s experiences more depth and texture. That said, it is an engrossing and timely book, perfect for anyone who wants a better understanding of the harsh realities experienced by migrants traveling through Africa. Truly eye-opening.