Sweeney book on impact of Sudanese civil war on children reviewed
Forewordmagazine, March/April 2011 issue:
While many young adults and even younger children know that of course, war is “sad,” it is often difficult to convey the gravity of situation. In National Geographic’s
Lost Boy, Lost Girl(978-1-4263-0708-9), two stories behind the Sudanese civil war are shared in an effective way that not just relays the tragedy of the events, but also the intense hope and triumph of those who worked to overcome them. Rather than reading about some war, they read about John Bul Dau and Martha Arual Akech, who were just children when civil war in their country tore their families apart. The children, along with thousands of others, were “lost”. In fairly direct language, John and Martha recount their painful journeys as they tried to survive and find a new place in their constantly changing, often dangerous world. Their pain, fear, and hope are palpable as they rely on themselves and the values they were taught as children to help them overcome their circumstances, and later, move on from the war and tragedy that dictated their lives. Ultimately, it is their resoluteness of spirit that drives them to create new lives for themselves, ones where they work to better conditions in their home country. Children and young adults 12 and up will not just become better informed, but be moved by this memoir.
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