Lost Boy, Lost Girl: Escaping Civil War in the Sudan by John Bul Dau. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2010. 159 pages.
1. A succinct evaluative annotation. Plot: [Conflict] John and Martha were children when the Civil War happened in Sudan, so they were running for their lives to stay alive during those awful years. [Rising Action] Every time John and Martha started to settle down in a new place, they would have to move again because the war followed them to their new location. [Climax] John and Martha were given the opportunity to go to America, to start over and have a life that didn’t consist of running. [Falling Action] John and Martha got great education and learned to live in America with the new culture and rules. [Resolution] John and Martha, after many years of running, got married and were part of events that were created to help the other children in Sudan during the war to try and avoid those children to live the lives they went through. Theme: The themes in this novel involved war, survival, a new life/beginning, and helping others. Tone: The tone of this novel was very serious. John and Martha were not able to be children in their childhood and they were always trying to stay alive. They were denied their freedom to follow their culture and were forced to do anything to keep moving to their next location. Style: The writers’ styles were very formal and almost “storytelling” – they were reliving their lives when they were growing up, but they kept a professional atmosphere to the story instead of showing all of the emotion they must have felt back then. Characterizations: John is a strong leader. He had to take care of 1,200 boys when he was at one location and had to keep things in order because he was the eldest. He always looked for ways to survive and tried to help everyone around him in the process. Martha was also a survivor – not only did she have to take care of herself when she lost direction with her parents, she also had to take care of her younger sister who was 3 years younger. Martha did whatever she needed to do to survive, listened to her elders, and worked twice as hard to get the education she needed in order to go to America and start her life without running. Readability: This book is very easy to read. The chapters are short and don’t involve all of the politics that were occurring during the time, so the younger readers would be able to fly through this book and understand the hard time John and Martha went through right away.
2. My reactions to the book. I loved this book. Even though I’m not a huge non-fiction book fan, this book really caught my attention and made me feel for the writers who went through that horrible time in Sudan. One of the many strengths of this book is the way it’s written. Both Martha and John wrote alternating chapters to tell their story, while different from one another, it was also similar in the way that they had to fight to live and fight to get to where they are today. The information is very, very accurate. These writers went through the experience that they wrote about and it was what they remembered growing up.
3. Comment on the cover art. The cover art is amazing. The scenery shows the harsh weather of Sudan, showing the reader a glimpse of what the authors had to go through during the Civil War at Sudan, along with the hardships of dealing with the government that was trying to capture the Sudanese. Also, the coloring shows the reader that it was awful traveling through the desert for those many years they were running for their lives. The cover was one of the reasons I wanted to read this book!