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Book Club Series: Your Take on ‘The Girl Who Smiled Beads’

Last month, we asked you to vote on Women for Women International Book Club's next read. You spoke, we listened, and this month we all read The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil. 

Together, we read author Clemantine’s account of surviving the massacre in Rwanda, spending her girlhood as a refugee, and then life in the United States. From reflections on trauma and power to reminders about humanity, readers shared reactions to the book on the @womenforwomen Instagram or using the hashtag #WFWIBookClub. Here's what they had to say: 

Book Club Story pic

Reader @mon_mcnamara said:  

This book is so amazing! As a mental health professional to read her story and see the trauma-SO powerful! 

Reader @thanu.pc said:  

I finished reading this book in a day. It was indeed a page turner. What touched me most was the courage and resilience in both Clementine and her sister Claire. What they had to go through at such a young age was tragic. Yet, I admire how they both become inspirational women in their own way. Their story strongly appeals the world not to repeat the worst acts of humanity instead to take action to make a better world. 

Reader @mightpenjourney said:  

I’m reading this month’s #WfWIBookClub pick The Girl Who Smiled Beads, the true story of Clemantine Wamariya who fled the Rwandan genocide and her life as a refugee after. I was especially struck by her account of transitioning to life in the US. My husband and I spent a few months as transitional foster parents to refugees from Honduras 🇭🇳 and I see so much of what Clementine described in the kids we’ve cared for: Their desire to be perceived as tough, not sweet. Being suspicious of kindness. Wanting to feel useful and productive. Feeling homesick but hesitant to reminisce because it hurts to remember but it also hurts to think you might forget. I highly recommend this beautifully written and powerful book! I loved learning about her life and world view! ❤️🇷🇼📖 #thegirlwhosmiledbeads 

book Club story reactions

Reader @jen_schwartz said:  

Halfway though the book and it is emotional. 

Reader @vioceofwomen_sl said: 

A story that needed to be told. So much power and heart displayed by people who were not even sure of their daily survival. It

got me thinking about how much we under utilize our power as free citizens, how much more we can do to stand up for those who can’t, and how our voice is a powerful tool in service of upholding freedoms globally. I will read it again for the book club! 

Thanks to everyone who participated in this month's book club! Check out our Instagram story on @womenforwomen on Friday, May 29 to vote on June's #WFWIBookClub read!