A note from Headbuzzer: This week, author Maria Padian will be visiting on our blog! Maria is the author of Out of Nowhere, and we'll be choosing 15 lucky Buzzers from Maria's blog post comments to win an ARC (so update your mailing address)!
Where Did Out of Nowhere Come From?
By Maria Padian
About ten years ago, Somali refugees began moving to Lewiston, Maine, which is not far from where I live. These families were desperately poor. Most spoke no English and were illiterate even in their own language. Almost all were Muslim. Shortly after 9-1-1 they began arriving by the hundreds to this city, a former mill town which is home to the largest French-Catholic population in the U.S., in one of the whitest, coldest states in the nation. Needless to say, this was not an easy “fit.”
My own children were in school at that time, and played various sports. I’d attend their games and see these Somali boys running cross country, playing soccer, playing basketball, and I’d wonder how they were fitting in. I began talking to people in Lewiston and eventually I was introduced to two boys... one white, one Somali... who had become good friends through soccer.
What struck me most forcefully about them was this: kids are kids. They all want the same things. Making friends. Making the team. Scoring the goal. Getting invited to parties. Fitting in. At one point, the boys I met were talking about food, and about how the Muslim kids didn’t eat pork. The white boy shrugged, and said, “Yeah, they don’t eat bacon. But they eat goat. Goat’s like, their bacon.”
That simple comment revealed to me what is possible when people come together without judgment and share a meal together. Play and laugh together. The kids in Lewiston, Maine inspired me and made it possible for me to write Out of Nowhere.