At the age of five, Michel Chikwanine was abducted from a soccer field in the Democratic Republic of Congo and forced to kill his best friend. This was his initiation in the militia, a fate that thousands of children have faced and continue to face in countries around the world.
Chikwanine was able to escape, ending up as a refugee in Canada, and was encouraged by a teacher to tell his story. He has recently come out with a graphic novel called Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War, beautifully illustrated by Claudia Davila and co-authored by Jessica Dee Humphreys, with the aim of teaching kids about the realities of child soldiers in a compelling, age-appropriate way.
“This is a perfect resource for engaging youngsters in social studies lessons on global awareness and social justice issues, and would easily spark classroom discussions about conflict, children’s rights and even bullying.”
Get the full book description and buy it here!
- Forcing children to become soldiers is a form of human trafficking. Not only are they coerced to kill, but many become addicted to drugs (like brown-brown, powdered cocaine mixed with gunpowder). Girls are often used for sexual services by the men.
- This is happening right now. In the Central African Republic, these children are in the process of being rehabilitated, but recent violence is putting them at risk for being re-recruited.
- Sometimes parents are afraid to expose their children to the evils of the world, but it is important for kids to realize some of the realities outside their comfort zone. To raise compassionate children, parents should come up with age-appropriate ways to expose their kids to the plight of others, and this book is a great resource for this.