A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier is by Ishmael Beah. A poignant true story of a young boy from Sierra Leone who at twelve finds himself forced to be a soldier in his country's civil war. Twenty-five at the time of the writing, Beah describes how young boys are given drugs, weapons, and sent out to kill. After his village is attacked by rebels, Beah twelve, runs away. At thirteen he is picked up by government forces and conscripted into the war. The story is heart-wrenching when you think of young boys trained to commit terribly violent acts and finding themselves more than capable of doing so when brainwashed and drugged. The use of young children to fight battles is, unfortunately, increasingly common, and something we should all work to prevent.
Ratings: 9th grade - 9 out of 10 - P (profanity) - V (violence) - AC (mature thematic content).