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
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!