I met students at Oxford Hills High School in Maine in a program sponsored by the Norway Memorial Library. This student came to talk to me after my presentation about the young girl from Sudan who is the hero of my novel. I had talked to the students about the girls I’d met in Portland who spent seven!!! hours to braid extensions in their hair. The student told me a whole lot more about braids. She said it takes her three days! That’s because she doesn’t let anybody do her hair. She braids all the extensions in herself. I’m going back to this school in January to do a reading with
creative writing students here. I know she only does her extensions once a year – it’s a spring ritual, she explained. I’m tempted to plan my next visit for spring.
In the presentation, I explained to students that many people who are refugees from war are resettled by Catholic Charities in Portland. Since I was presenting a story about a recent immigrant to Maine, I asked students to tell me the country that their families had come from. The Census says this small
town is 97% white (which tells little about a town). It was