Sudanese Garang is eight when he returns to his village and finds that everything has been destroyed. Soon, Garang meets other boys whose villages have been attacked and they unite, walking hundreds of miles to safety - first in Ethiopia then in Kenya. The boys face numerous hardships along the way, but their faith and mutual support help keep the hope of finding a new home alive in their hearts. Based on heartbreaking yet inspirational true events, this is a story of remarkable and enduring courage, and an amazing testament to the unyielding power of the spirit.
"Gr. 3-5. Since 2000 the U.S. has taken in about 3,000 "Lost Boys of Sudan," orphaned by the ethnic and religious wars that have left two million dead. Through the fictionalized first-person account of one boy, Garang, this moving picture book tells the big story of children at war. Driven from his village home by the soldiers, Garang treks with other boys nearly 1,000 miles across the border, first to Ethiopia, and later to Kenya. He finds shelter in refugee camps, but many other refugees die along the way. Williams tells the story directly, without sensationalism or cover-up, and Christie's powerful acrylic paintings show the long lines moving across desert, forest, and savannah, as well as the special bond between Garang and a younger boy he adopts and the aid worker who helps him reach America. Williams' notes fill in facts. For teens interested in the subject, suggest the adult book They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky,0 by Alephonsion Deng (2005). --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2005 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Williams, who founded the Lost Boys Foundation, debuts with a picture book that depicts the struggles of thousands of orphaned Sudanese boys, torn from their families in the mid-1980s. Her story centers on narrator Garang, a boy who herds cattle with his parents. One day he returns to find the village had been attacked and was now empty, though he soon encounters other wandering boys. ?At first there was just me?one. Soon one became many. Too many to count.? The boys nominate him to lead their group of 35. At times, the narrative feels dense and clunkily expository (?I joined the group of leaders, and we decided we would walk to a country called Ethiopia?). But the events will keep readers turning the pages, as the youngsters make their dangerous journey by night, sleeping in the forest by day. Garang paints a bleak portrait of the experience (?Sometimes we had to drink our urine to get moisture in our bodies?), but the group finally reaches an Ethiopian refugee camp?until war again threatens and they must flee to Kenya. Garang never loses faith or hope?something that Williams, in her introduction, says she witnessed firsthand when she met several of the Lost Boys. Christie?s (The Palm of My Heart) acrylics, in bold strokes and brilliant colors, with their childlike renderings of figures and scenes, correlate nicely to the young narrator?s unflagging determination, and help to balance the darkness of the events. Ages 7-up. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information."