by Jessica Dee Humphreys and Michel Chikwanine, illustrated by Claudia Dávilla - £7.99 Hachette Children (2016)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781445145655 | ISBN 10: 1445145650
If there was ever a book to make you sit up and pay attention, then Child Soldier is it.
Michel Chikwanine was only five-years-old when he was abducted from outside his school by rebel soldiers in The Democratic Republic of Congo. Child Soldier tells the story of his happy life before the abduction, his time with the rebel militia, his escape from their clutches and finally the worsening situation and growing unrest for Michel and his family and his eventual immigration to Canada with his mother.
Despite his young age, Michel never gives up. It is his resilience and courage that helped him to stay alive during his time with the rebels. This is a legacy from his father, whose sense of compassion and integrity drove Michel to reject the rebels attempts to instil violence and hate, and have shaped Michel into the person he is today.
As a young man, Michel now travels the world to inspire others to believe that their actions can make a difference. He is an accomplished public speaker and someone who's voice and story resonates with people all over the globe.
Thankfully most children will never experience the brutal reality of being forced to take part in armed conflicts, in whatever role is imposed on them. But Michel's story serves as a reminder of how close to home this ongoing issue is. Africa may feel far away to a child living in the UK, but the reality is that young people in gangs across the world, who are made to commit crimes for adult leaders have more in common with Michel than they may realise. This book also examines in general how and why adults use children as expendable pawns in conflicts and provides the reader with advice on further information and what they can do to get involved.
*** PLEASE NOTE ***
This book is aimed at children aged 10+, however it does contain some images that some readers may find difficult or distressing. The cartoon / graphic novel style of the book does contain images of violence, including guns, knives, dead bodies and other explicit scenes.
(Price & availability last checked: November 2016)
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