Thursday, February 25, 2010

First POC challenge book: One Day the Soldiers Came

Finished just in time to link as a February read.

One Day the Soldiers Came: Voices of Children in War (P.S.) One Day the Soldiers Came: Voices of Children in War by Charles London

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The first book I'm reading for the 2010 "Person of Color Reading Challenge." The author is white, so I somewhat feel like I'm cheating, but most of the book is based on interviews with children and teens from Rwanda, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma/Myanmar, and the Balkans, so it gives voice to people from around the world.

I read it in ARC format, so I should allow some leniency in any critiques. I felt that it was very, very good, but a little jumpy--some children's stories were followed in some depth and returned to several times, while others were only mentioned once and briefly. This may be due to the reality of how interviewing and being able to keep up with subjects works. I also found it hard to remember who was who when stories were revisited.

Still, it does a powerful job of telling the stories of older children and adolescents who have been through war, and an especially good job of respecting these children--I think the author mentions several times that children are "the protagonists in their own stories," a fact that adults forget. So while these children have been caught in situations that render them powerless, they were still active agents in making their own decisions, figuring out how to survive etc.

Well done.

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