I met Grace Akallo several years ago when she was a college student living outside Boston. She had been abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army from a boarding school in Uganda. Forced to serve as a child soldier, she later escaped. She's now become an advocate for preventing the use of child soldiers and is a brilliant speaker on the rights of children. Her story is one of courage—and also hope.
Read the latest reviews for Grace Akallo and the Pursuit of Justice for Child Soldiers:
Grace Akallo and the Pursuit of Justice for Child Soldiers.
Sawyer, Kem Knapp (Author)
Jun 2015. 64 p. Morgan Reynolds, hardcover, $27.95. (9781599354569). 362.88092.
As a 15-year-old living in Uganda in 1996, Grace Akallo was one of many girls abducted from her Catholic boarding school by a militia that was intent on overthrowing the government. Over the next seven months, she was beaten, sexually abused, given as a “wife” to an officer, and forced to fight and kill. After a difficult escape, Akallo made her way back home and resumed her education while trying to help other former child soldiers at a rehabilitation center. She attended college and graduate school in the United States, where her foundation now works on behalf of African women and children. Sawyer, who evidently interviewed Akallo as well as researching other sources, tells her story clearly, while broadening the discussion at times to include other child soldiers in a worldwide, historical context. Good color photos illustrate the text. While the subject matter may be troubling to some readers, Sawyer’s matter-of-fact approach makes this book a worthwhile addition to the Out in Front series, which began with David Aretha’s Malala Yousafzai and the Girls of Pakistan (2014).
— Carolyn Phelan
And in School Library Journal:
Don, Katherine. Nujood Ali and the Fight Against Child Marriage.
ISBN 9781599354668. LC 2014029570.
Sawyer, Kem Knapp. Grace Akallo and the Pursuit of Justice for Child Soldiers.
ISBN 9781599354569. LC 2014041750.
ea vol: 64p. (Out in Front). bibliog. index. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Morgan Reynolds. 2015. lib. ed. $27.45.
Gr 7 Up–This series takes a look at young women who have undergone unimaginable suffering but who used their experiences to help others. Grace Akallo focuses on a young Ugandan teen who was kidnapped and conscripted into Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, while Nujood Ali profiles a Yemeni girl whose father married her off to a 30-year-old man and who, at 10, became the youngest person ever to seek a divorce. Though the books center on well-known cases, they use these examples to explore the larger issues of child soldiers and child marriage in more depth. Both volumes feature an eye-catching layout, with many large color photos accompanied by captions that offer interesting tidbits and sidebars that provide information on related topics, such as teen pregnancy in the United States and the terrorist group Boko Haram. Though the text may be sparse, it packs a punch: these authors don’t gloss over difficult subjects. VERDICT Solid selections to spark discussion.–Esther Keller, I.S. 278, Brooklyn, NY