“The life of a child soldier is full of unthinkable violence … But the human capacity to connect with others and for survival is remarkable.”Jacob is a 14-year-old Ugandan who is sent away to a boys’ school. Once there, he assures his friend Tony that they need not be afraid — they will be safe. But not long after, in the shadow of the night, the boys are abducted. Marched into the jungle, they are brought to an encampment of the feared rebel soldiers. They are told they must kill or be killed, and their world turns into a terrifying struggle to endure and survive.In time, the boys escape. Hunted by the rebels, stalked by a lion, and even pursued by river crocs, they miraculously succeed in reaching safety. However, it is no longer enough. Jacob wrestles with the question of whether we are all really beasts inside. He decides the way through the pain is to record his story.Daniel Lafrance’s powerful, striking, and poignant artwork and the crisp, evocative text vividly capture the haunting experiences of a young boy caught in a brutal war.This graphic novel is based on an award-winning YA novel by Sharon McKay. Sharon has spent time with child soldiers and based this story on real-life accounts.- Goodreads
Release Date: 2013
Source: Given by Annick Press as additional product
As an adult this was a quick read, but the message was effective. Following the story of a group of fictitious boys snatched up by rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), child soldiers fighting for Kony under the right of God.
You may have heard of Kony. In 2012 there was a large amount of known activism to stop Kony from the worst form of child abuse known. Using children as cannon fodder in a battle that many may not be able to comprehend.
In this story, although quite apparent, is about a group of boys who escape from a camp that is located in a national park in Uganda, a location where, as lead to believe in this story, government officials won’t shoot at rebels and vice verso as not to scare off rich tourists.
The illustrator, Daniel Lafrance, although has never done another graphic novel before War Brothers, did an amazing job of portraying several emotions through precise detail. Making regular people seem vividly scary by the art of shading. Fear in a boys’ eyes when they are doing something in the act of self-preservation. The sounds. The colors. Well put together as you read you see the pain in the eyes of victims and their victim.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. I’m not sure whether a young adult of 14 years would understand what exactly this book is trying to demonstrate, but I do hope that if they did, they don’t ignore the message.
This is a book of fiction based on interviews in Gulu, Uganda. Everything that happened in this book has happened, and is happening still. The Lord’s Resistance Army continues to torment, abduct, and murder children. There are as many 250,000 child soldiers in over 35 countries. We can realize a world without child soldiers.