As rumors of civil war circulate in Ngala, Chanda travels to her extended family's village, hoping to reconcile with them. Chanda's family welcomes her and her younger brother and sister, but soon they demand she marry a surly (if somewhat charming) tracker named Nelson. Chanda refuses and prepares to leave town. Before she can flee, the brutal guerrilla General Mandikiattacks and kidnaps all the children, including Chanda's siblings. Now Chanda and Nelson must join together to try to save what remains of their families. Author's note.
JLG Release: Apr 2008
Praise & Reviews
Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist, The Horn Book Guide^, Kirkus Reviews*, School Library Journal
School Library Journal
Chanda has reached some level of stability in her life since readers first met her in Chanda's Secrets (Annick, 2004). She takes care of her younger brother and sister and works as a teaching assistant to support her family. However, Chanda is pursued by nightmares. Friends and neighbors soon persuade her to take her siblings to the coun
Chanda has reached some level of stability in her life since readers first met her in Chanda's Secrets (Annick, 2004). She takes care of her younger brother and sister and works as a teaching assistant to support her family. However, Chanda is pursued by nightmares. Friends and neighbors soon persuade her to take her siblings to the countryside to end the feud with their mother's family. The ravages of AIDS and poverty on a fictional, but realistic sub-Saharan African country are once again depicted with unflinching honesty, but it is the issue of child soldiers, a tragedy that affects more than 300,000 children around the world, that takes center stage. Stratton deftly handles the devastating effects war can have on young people. Horrific things happen to the characters, though Chanda's first-person narrative never gets unnecessarily graphic in the detail. The author strives for authenticity in the psyche of child soldiers and, through substantial research, captures a voice that is seldom heard. This story is both suspenseful and engaging. Chanda is steadfast in the face of adversity, and the book is as hopeful and spirited as its protagonist.
Ernie Bond, Salisbury University, MD
5" x 7 1/8"
Level 3.5; Points: 9;
Scholastic Reading Counts
Level 3.2; Points: 17;
Potentially Sensitive Areas
Violence: Graphic Descriptions, Language: Mild Language, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Alcohol Abuse
Africa, War's devastating effects on children, Kidnapping, Child soldiers, AIDS, Orphans, Family feuds, Interpersonal relationships, Mourning loved ones, Grief, Child abuse, Prophetic dreams, Superstition, Honoring ancestors, Responsibility, Defying family expectations, Standing up for yourself, Forgiveness, Love, Betrayal, Facing danger, Survival skills, Relying on knowledge, Perseverance, Heroes, Humanity and inhumanity, Truth and lies, Recovering from a terrible experience, Healing emotional wounds, Asking for help, Social ostracism, Ignoring the opinions of others, Finding peace, Refusing to give up your dreams, New beginnings, Hope,