Dau, John Bul and Akech, Martha Arual. Lost Boy, Lost Girl: Escaping Civil War in the Sudan.
John and Martha were young children in Southern Sudan when civil war broke out. Told in alternating chapters, we find that John’s family ran from his village in the opposite way he did when it was attacked, and Martha’s family was at church. Thanks to members of their Dinka tribe, both were marginally cared for and made their way from refugee camp to refugee camp. Living conditions were abysmal, and there was always the threat of violence and attack, as well as frequent actual attacks. Due to perserverance and a bit of luck, both managed to survive, and Martha managed to stay with her younger sister Tabitha, who was only three when the two were separated from their family. John was older, and became one of the leaders of the Lost Boys, some of whom were
able to come to the United States after a filmmaker took interest in their plight. Martha argued that there were Lost Girls as well, and fought for a way to get her and Tabitha to the United States so that she would not be forced into a marriage, at 16, with a much older man. Martha and John knew each other in Sudan, and liked each other, but were separated in the US. They reconnected years later, married, and are trying to help their native country.
Strengths: I liked especially the way the book was structured—Peace, War, Refuge, War, Refuge, Peace. The details were horrific without being overly graphic, so this could be read even by elementary students. This is a very compelling book.
Weaknesses: The print is very small. Since this is a thin book, the print could have been a bit bigger.