Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War Hardcover – Sep 1 2015
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
Author(s): +Jessica Dee Humphreys & +Michel Chikwanine
Illustrator: Claudia Davila
Age Range: 10-14
Grade Level: 5-9
Publisher: Kids Can Press
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!
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