Thursday, December 2, 2010

Guest Blog Post: A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

This is the true story of the life of a boy who suffered the unimaginable and inconceivable horrors of war as a child soldier in Sierra Leone. The story of Ishmael Beah’s transformation from a 12 year old boy who loves to dance to American music with his friends into a thoughtless killer is penetrating and real. Every page is powerful because the terrors of war were forced upon the innocence of children and their families. Ishmael’s ability to succeed is not based on heroic or honorable deeds but rather his sheer determination to simply adapt and survive. This book forces the reader to confront his or her own thoughts and feelings of how he or she would have responded. What if it were you who was there? What would you have done…really? Ishmael has more than the war to battle as the loss of family, friends and his emotional control sends him on a path of drug abuse, killing, revenge, rehabilitation, reconnection, and finally safety within the United States. Ishmael’s story offers the reader hope in the power of rehabilitation and the power of opportunity on our behaviors. Ishmael has incredible talents and gifts that were almost stripped away from him because of his circumstances. This book is guaranteed to capture the reader’s attention and hope as he or she joins Ishmael on his quest for survival and safety. Ishmael’s story helps to make the seemingly impossible possible. -- Stephen Wilder

--Stephen Wilder is the principal of Passages Academy and a literacy leader.

Beah, Ishmael. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.

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