Before I go into the review of this book, you have to understand, this is a true account. It is not made up and is currently happening all over the continent of South Africa. It is a graphic children's story but there are things explained that children under the age of ten may not understand. If you wish to share this book with your child, make sue they are of an understanding age. Even then, it will be difficult and they will need you for explanations.
Child Soldier, by Michel Chikwanine and Jessica Dee Humphreys, tells the story of Michel and his life in the Congo. It shows in animation (which is much appreciated) and tells of safe times for children and adults, then of the terrifying times. It tells of conflict, governmental breakdown and the loss of childhood.
One day, Michel and childhood friends and family were playing after school when strange men rode up in military vehicles and guns. They harassed the children then took them far from home. They were drugged, abused and forced to do things that no child should ever do or see. It's a sad story, but it's also one of strength.
One of the things I loved most about Child Soldier is that his father did his best to restore Michel's childhood, while keeping him apprised of current issues and dangers. Eventually Michel and his family escaped the Congo and its horrors, but not in one piece. Michel shares this story in words a child will understand and how he felt helpless. Which goes into another wonderful feature of this book.
At the end of the story, Michel gives definitions of some of the words he mentioned in the story, even though he explained them there too. He tells how afraid he was and how he felt he was too small to do something. It wasn't until immigrating to Canada and North America that found that even the youth have a voice. He shares his experiences on learning to speak to people who didn't know of the atrocities in his homeland and how people here can do something for the people there.
It's a powerful children's story. One that each child should read. Life isn't always about video games, what you hate and how parents are cruel. There are real monsters in the world and we should all know about them.📚
Rating: 👓👓👓👓👓out of 5 specs
*The Red Queen series is next.
**Book was provided by Kids Can Press and Shelf Awareness, for an honest review.
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