Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lost Boy, Lost Girl: Escaping Civil War in Sudan

One of thousands of children who fled strife in southern Sudan, John Bul Dau survived hunger, exhaustion, and violence. His wife, Martha, endured similar hardships. In this memorable book, the two convey the best of African values while relating searing accounts of famine and war. There’s warmth as well, in their humorous tales of adapting to American life. For its importance as a primary source, for its inclusion of the rarely told female perspective of Sudan’s lost children, for its celebration of human resilience, this is the perfect story to inform and inspire young readers.

I had no idea the extint of the war in Sudan. I remember hearing about the wars while I was in high school. The book is told from the viewpoint of John and Martha, who ended up in America where they married. Told in their words, John and Martha weave a tale of human resilience.
Thousands of children were orphaned during the war. My heart broke for all the hunger and pain and sorrow they went through. And the adults who tried to help them.
John and Martha have a happy ending, which is nice!

Rating: PG (for war theme, death and hardship)
V: yes but not in detail
L: None
S: None

25% test (p. 39):
"...would last for years. It was probably good that I didn't know what lay ahead for Tabitha and me.
As soon as dawn lightened the sky, we moved on. The adults were afraid the government-backed militia that had attacked us could still be nearby, and they wanted to keep us moving as fast as we could away from our village. Nyanriak had her own five kids to take car of, but she knew that Tabitha was too little to keep up with the rest of the group. She asked a man named Deng to take care of Tabitha. He often carried her on his shoulders. I followed close behind, watching Tabitha's feet dangling above my head as Deng marched along. I was always looking up to make sure that my little sister was safe.
The next day we came to a village, and the people there ave out group a gourd for water, dried kernels of corn to boil for food, and a pot to cook in. Such simple things, the gourd and the pot, but without them it was hard to eat or drink. We were thankful to the villagers and warned them that the militia was moving through the area, leaving death and destruction in their wake. I the weeks ahead, as we moved from village to village, we sounded the alarm, spreading warnings as we went.
As the fighting in the south grew worse and more villages were attacked, more and more people joined us, including elders who tried to keep everybody in line. For us Dinka, elders are the respected adults who guide us and care for us. When elders in our group saw a small child too tired to walk, they would carry the child. I wasn't carried very often, and I didn't want to be because I needed to follow whoever was..."

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