Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
Author: Jessica Dee Humphreys and Michel Chikwanine
Illustrator: Claudia Dávila
Publisher: CitizenKid – Kids Can Press
Published: September 1st, 2015
This book relates the experiences of Michel Chikwanine who grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It gives a brief outline history of the country before going on to tell what happened in 1993 when he was just five years old. His dad was a human rights lawyer but that didn’t stop him being taken from school by rebel militia to a rebel camp in the hillsides. The book goes on to tell about his selection and initiation into the rebel army and the tragic results when, blindfolded, he first fired a gun. It goes on to tell of how he escaped, what happened to him and his family and his life now.
It also contains further information about boys and girls who are forced to be soldiers and what is being done to help them. Michel’s father used to tell him, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.” This book is one way Michel is trying to make a difference, sharing his experiences to help make others aware of what is happening so together we can help stop children being used and abused in this manner. It also gives information about other sources of information about this horrendous issue.
This is a powerful story told in a comic book story manner using simple language that children will find easy to relate to. The pictures used to illustrate it help enhance the understanding of the events and their impact on the people involved. At times the story is heartbreaking but overall it is inspirational and hopefully will help develop awareness and help protect children from being used as soldiers in future. This book may be a small mosquito but I really hope it can make a difference.
Thanks to the author, publishers and NetGalley, too,
for letting me read an ARC in exchange for an honest review