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Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War Hardcover – Sep 1 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Kids Can Press (Sept. 1 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1771381264
  • ISBN-13: 978-1771381260
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 1 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #112,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Michel Chikwanine has experienced civil war, political upheaval and poverty, emerging as an individual wise beyond his years. Forced by these circumstances to leave his home country at the age of 11 as a refugee, Michel has since traveled to 35 African countries, witnessing firsthand the problems faced by the developing world, but also the beauty of the communities and people who live there.@michelchikwan

Jessica Dee Humphreys writes books about things that matter to young people (and grown-ups). Jessie lives with her husband and their little boy in a big city most of the time. But sometimes they live on a tiny island near the woods, where Jessie rereads To Kill a Mockingbird every summer, lying in a hammock.

Graphic designer and children's illustrator Claudia Dávila was born in Chile and now makes her home in Toronto. She was formerly the art director of Chirp and Chickadee magazines.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The author's memoir of his early life in Congo and the time he was kidnapped by rebels to be trained as a child soldier. He speaks of the harsh realities of his young life, his escape, his stolen childhood that cannot ever be returned even after he's back home, and his eventual immigration to Canada. An honest, eye-opening book for today's Western children to see what life is like for so many children in this world. Michel was five when he was taken as a soldier and while this book doesn't hide any realities it does keep information appropriate for younger readers. Sharon McKay's "War Brothers" set in Uganda is a much more brutally raw story for older readers and the better of the two, imo. However, "Child Soldier" is certainly a touching and inspiring story to start with on the subject.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This story is well written and presents the information about child soldiers well.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.9 out of 5 stars 19 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense, powerful call to action for kids Nov. 17 2015
By Janet Hamilton - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Summary: Michel Chikwanine had a pretty idyllic childhood with his parents and three sisters in the Democratic Republic of Congo until he was kidnapped one day at the age of five. He and his friends were taken in broad daylight while playing soccer and forced to become soldiers for a rebel army. For two weeks, they were given drugs and taught to shoot, including one nightmarish day when Michel was blindfolded and forced to shoot and kill his best friend, Kevin. Michel managed to escape and make his way back to his family, but it was impossible for him to resume his old life. Eventually, the political situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo worsened; Michel’s father was imprisoned and killed; and Michel, his mother, and two of his three sisters made their way to Canada. After a difficult transition, Michel has been able to tell his story and now travels the world inspiring others to make a difference. Grades 6-9.

Pros: An incredibly powerful story told in graphic novel form. The page near the end in which Michel sits on the bus listening to his classmates complain about cold pizza, boring classes, and crummy cell phones should give anyone with “First World problems” pause. The last few pages, with more information about Michel, child soldiers, and what kids can do to help will inspire readers to take action.

Cons: Read this book before giving it to a child. It’s part of Kids Can Press’s Citizen Kid series of inspiring picture book stories of Third World children, but this one is much darker and more intense than any of the others. There are a couple of pretty disturbing scenes that may not be appropriate for all young readers.
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing story. Oct. 20 2015
By Heidi Grange - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Michel's story packs quite a punch. With the assistance of another writer and a talented illustrator, Michel shares his heart-wrenching story with young readers. He tells of being kidnapped at the age of five and being forced to help a rebel militia fight against both the national government and local villagers. He speaks of being forced to shoot a friend and being brainwashed into thinking that his family would never take him back. Thankfully, he never questions his families love for him and he finds the courage to flee when the opportunity comes. But he still has to live with the horrific memories and confusing emotions that he carries home with him and as his father's humanitarian work further endangers the family, he once again finds himself on the run. Eventually, Michel made it to the United States but not with his family intact. What is so admirable is that in learning to cope with the pain he's faced in his life, Michel has learned to speak out and in doing so help others. The story is told beautifully in the illustrations and text giving the reader a glimpse into a topic that should not be ignored. However, while not overly graphic, there is violence and some horrible acts briefly mentioned and because of this the book may not be appropriate for all young readers. I highly recommend this book for more mature middle grade readers on up. A book I will never forget.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A heartbreaking story told for children without fear-mongering or graphic imagery. Well done! Sept. 17 2015
By Wayne A McCoy - Published on
Format: Hardcover
'Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War' is the true story of Michel Chikwanine. The book is also written by Jessica Dee Humphreys and illustrated beautifully by Claudia Davila.

Michel grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo. When he was only 5 years old, he was captured by rebels and forced to become a child soldier. He is forced to do some very bad things before he escapes. The rest of the book talks about his family and their attempts to find a new home because the one they lived in was too dangerous. Since the book is part of the Citizen Kid series, the book concludes with ways to find more information and ways that kids can become active against this sort of issue.

I appreciated the way this rather brutal story was told in a way that kids could understand without being graphic. I also appreciate that Michel tells children that the events they are about to read won't suddenly happen to them. The book doesn't attempt to use scare tactics or graphic violence to get it's point across. It's a brutal story, and a horrific and tragic one. That Michel came through this experience and wants to change things is incredible. A wonderfully told and illustrated story. Kudos to everyone.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Kids Can Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwrenching Sept. 1 2015
By Grateful Grandma - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
This book is part of the CitizenKid Series. This series is a collection of books to inform children about the world and inspire them to be better global citizens.

This is the true story of Michel Chikwanine who lived in Democratic Republic of Congo in the 90s. When he was five years old, he was kidnapped and forced to become a child soldier. It is a heartbreaking tale that fortunately had a happy ending. While Michel did have to do some horrible things as a child soldier, including shooting his best friend, he was fortunate enough to escape before anything else terrible happened. He was reunited with his family unlike a lot of child soldiers. His father, nother, himself and a cousin were able to get to Uganda and live in a refugee camp. His father was a political activist who was imprisoned and tortued at one point and later poisoned by his enemies before he was able to emigrate to North America. Michael and his mother were able to leave Congo and emigrate to Canada. Michael worked three jobs after school until he earned enough money to bring one of his siters to Canada, but unfortunately, one sister disappeared. A teacher of Michael's saw that he was very depressed and suggested that talking to other students about his ordeal might help him. This started him on a path to educate young people about Child Soldiers. The end of the book gives more information about the plight of child soldiers as well as what children in Canada can do to help. A great but sad story.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley to read in exchange for an honest review.
5.0 out of 5 stars An educational book that doesn't shove the information down your throat! April 11 2016
By Sabby - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Title: Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War
Author(s): +Jessica Dee Humphreys & +Michel Chikwanine
Illustrator: Claudia Davila
Age Range: 10-14
Grade Level: 5-9
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 48
Buy the book: Amazon

Trigger Warning: Deals with hard subject matters like children in war, per the title. Drug mentions. Loss. 1q
Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions herein are of my own.

"It's 1993, and the Democratic Republic of Congo is going through major political changes. Five-year-old Michel is playing with friends one day when, without warning, a group of rebel soldiers pulls up to the school grounds. Forced onto trucks, the frightened boys are taken to a camp in the hills. There they are thrust into a terrifying and violent world.
A compelling story of resilience and courage. Child Solider is Michel Chikwanine's account of his time in rebel militia, his escape, and his efforts to make a new life for himself and his family in Canada."

"Moving and insightful, Child Soldier will enlighten young readers about the desperate plight of 250,000 of their peers and inspire them to action." - Lieutenant-Generat (ret) Romeo Dallaire

"Child Solider reminds us of our ability to endure much and still work to make the world better. It will surely inspire kids to work to protect all children from harm." - Susan Bissell, Chief of Child Protection, UNICEF

First off, I'm going to tell you how much I love the cover of this book. It automatically caught my eye when I opened the packaging, so I know it would catch a child's eye. I also love the fact that it's not a normal subject matter like princesses and knights and magical woodland creatures. CitizenKid creates books with the mission of enlightening children on the world and all of it's issues. It's a hardcover book, so it's very durable. I also got it signed! I love receiving signed books so much.

At the beginning of the book, Michel assures the reader that what has happened to him will not happen to them. He explains that a lot of things happened in his country before it resorted to the use of child soldiers. I love the fact that he decided to reassure the child, because a lot of readers get anxiety from what they read. Some of my most irrational fears have stemmed from reading. On the following page, there is a small map of Michel's country, which is amazing! This really is an educational book for children to read. It has so much information, yet you don't feel like it's being forced down your throat which is an incredible feat for an author of educational children books.

One part of the book I liked a lot was when he was explaining how they made their own soccer balls with plastic bags and paper scraps. After they had those done, they wrapped them in dried banana leaves. This goes to show children that even if they think they have nothing, they can always make do with natural resources close to them.

Things I learned:
-The Belgian King, generations ago, used the Congolese people as slaves, and half of the population was killed during his reign.
-I had no idea the Democratic Republic of Congo had so many rich, natural resources like diamond and gold.
-There's a fabric called bikwembe.
-And so much more!