Don’t worry if you missed Chanda’s Secrets, Stratton does an thorough job of providing enough background knowledge at the beginning to understand the characters and setting.
Chanda’s Wars stands alone which is good because it has been a long time since I read Chanda’s Secrets in ARC. At that time it was winning every award out there, and provided a glimpse of Africa and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. I didn’t know people refused to discuss or acknowledge AIDS when the evidence was right in front of them.
I have to warn you two things:
- You will be exposed to the harsh life of child-soldiers
- You will have to re-read Chanda’s Secrets after you finish Chanda’s Wars because Chanda haunts you.
Chanda faces far more battles than we can imagine. Intended for 8th graders on up, Chanda’s Wars doesn’t hide ugliness or imperfections. Characters make mistakes, reach deep within themselves to survive, and go on living with their scars physically and emotionally.
The intensity of Chanda’s Wars stays with you. How can so many children be forced into becoming child soldiers? Stolen from their families and their futures?
Check out some of the online buzz:
Detroit Free Press review
Toronto Star’s review by Deirdre Baker
CM Magazine: Canadian Review of Materials (a new favorite online mag for me)
Poplar Creek’s blog
Allan’s own opinions on his MySpace
Allan’s Ten Tips For Traveling in the Sub-Saharan African Bush
I feel the need to go visit a different aspect of Africa so I’m off to re-read the beloved No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series again.