Of Beetles and Angels

A Boy's Remarkable Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard


By Mawi Asgedom

Read by Mawi Asgedom

Formats and Prices


Read the remarkable true story of a young boy’s journey from civil war in east Africa to a refugee camp in Sudan, to a childhood on welfare in an affluent American suburb, and eventually to a full-tuition scholarship at Harvard University.

Following his father’s advice to “treat all people-even the most unsightly beetles-as though they were angels sent from heaven,” Mawi overcomes the challenges of language barriers, cultural differences, racial prejudice, and financial disadvantage to build a fulfilling, successful life for himself in his new home.

Of Beetles and Angels is at once a harrowing survival story and a compelling examination of the refugee experience. With hundreds of thousands of copies sold since its initial publication, and as a frequent selection as one book/one school/one community reads, this unforgettable memoir continues to touch and inspire readers. This special expanded fifteenth anniversary edition includes a new introduction and afterword from the author, a discussion guide, and more.


  • "A moving memoir." * Chicago Tribune

    "An amazing story." * Oprah Winfrey

    "His simple lyrical narrative, both wry and tender, stays true to the child's viewpoint as he grows up...What stays with you is the quiet, honest drama of a family's heartrending journey."

    "This earnest account of his life up to his graduation from Harvard is peppered with powerful moments."
    *Publishers Weekly

    A BookSense '76 pick

On Sale
Jun 7, 2016
Hachette Audio

Mawi Asgedom

About the Author

Mawi Asgedom graduated from Harvard University and delivered the commencement address at his graduation in 1999. Now 25 years old, he is a successful inspirational speaker for students, community groups, and businesses.

Learn more about this author