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War Brothers: The Graphic Novel

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This is the graphic novel edition of Sharon McKay's novel set in Uganda, where Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has, since 1987, abducted up to 30,000 children from their villages and homes for use as soldiers and slaves. It is in these nightmarish times that the fates of 5 boys and a girl are entwined. Captured from their school by the LRA, the boys wait for res This is the graphic novel edition of Sharon McKay's novel set in Uganda, where Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has, since 1987, abducted up to 30,000 children from their villages and homes for use as soldiers and slaves. It is in these nightmarish times that the fates of 5 boys and a girl are entwined. Captured from their school by the LRA, the boys wait for rescue only to discover that if they are to survive they must rely on themselves. But friendship, courage, and resilience might not be enough to save them. Based in part upon interviews with child soldiers in Northern Uganda, War Brothers is a stunning depiction of the human cost of wars fought by children. (description modified from the novel edition)


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This is the graphic novel edition of Sharon McKay's novel set in Uganda, where Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has, since 1987, abducted up to 30,000 children from their villages and homes for use as soldiers and slaves. It is in these nightmarish times that the fates of 5 boys and a girl are entwined. Captured from their school by the LRA, the boys wait for res This is the graphic novel edition of Sharon McKay's novel set in Uganda, where Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has, since 1987, abducted up to 30,000 children from their villages and homes for use as soldiers and slaves. It is in these nightmarish times that the fates of 5 boys and a girl are entwined. Captured from their school by the LRA, the boys wait for rescue only to discover that if they are to survive they must rely on themselves. But friendship, courage, and resilience might not be enough to save them. Based in part upon interviews with child soldiers in Northern Uganda, War Brothers is a stunning depiction of the human cost of wars fought by children. (description modified from the novel edition)

30 review for War Brothers: The Graphic Novel

  1. 4 out of 5

    Saleh MoonWalker

    یک نوول گرافیکی عالی در رابطه با شرایط زندگی واقعی پسران جوان در شهر گولو در اوگاندا. زندگی در شرایط جنگ، تصمیماتی که باید گرفته بشه، خشونت بیش از اندازه ی این دنیا و بی رحمی مردم، به طرز خیلی خوبی به تصویر کشیده شده. نثر مناسب نوول گرافیکی هم داره. سرعت پیشرویش مناسبه و طراحی ها و رنگ آمیزیش در این زمینه بی نظیره.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Halley Hopson

    Read for booktubeathon 2016 for the challenge of read a book only after sunset: I don't think a graphic novel has ever made me cry before but this one definitely hit pretty hard. Going into it, I didn't realize it was about Kony's army. I remember when the Internet first started to find about Kony way back in the early 2000s and how shocked the world was at what he was doing and what he had already done in the country of Uganda, calling themselves the "Lord's Resistance Army", brainwashing the y Read for booktubeathon 2016 for the challenge of read a book only after sunset: I don't think a graphic novel has ever made me cry before but this one definitely hit pretty hard. Going into it, I didn't realize it was about Kony's army. I remember when the Internet first started to find about Kony way back in the early 2000s and how shocked the world was at what he was doing and what he had already done in the country of Uganda, calling themselves the "Lord's Resistance Army", brainwashing the young children that had stolen with perversely interpreted versions of scripture, and turning them against others and even each other to fight to the death. It's horrifying to see people twist and turn the word of God into something so perverse and incredibly disturbing. I am so glad that this graphic novel gave us a look at the perverse twisted beliefs of Kony and his army paralleled with a person that believed in the true God. The artwork in this was absolutely stunning. It fit the tone of the story perfectly and some of the panels were terrifying and perfectly matched the events that were happening in the story. I absolutely loved this and would love to read any other works by either this author or illustrator.

  3. 3 out of 5

    David

    4.25 This book was a great introduction for students interested in children soldiers or specifically interested in the backdrop for the child soldiers in Uganda. The book had some haunting moments and the artwork did a fabulous job of setting the tone for the story. The beginning of the graphic novel was outstanding, but the end seemed a little rushed and the story lost its way a little. I definitely think this is a book that a lot of young students would like even though it does have some pretty 4.25 This book was a great introduction for students interested in children soldiers or specifically interested in the backdrop for the child soldiers in Uganda. The book had some haunting moments and the artwork did a fabulous job of setting the tone for the story. The beginning of the graphic novel was outstanding, but the end seemed a little rushed and the story lost its way a little. I definitely think this is a book that a lot of young students would like even though it does have some pretty brutal content.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nicola Mansfield

    Wow. Intense. Brutal. Moving. I have not read the YA novel this graphic has been adapted from, in fact, I'd never heard of it before not exactly being my type of YA reading. However, I do enjoy this type of material presented in the graphic format and this book caught my attention right away. The art is phenomenal and I was drawn into the story right away with the exceptional illustrations of the jungle and Ugandan life. It is really difficult to use a word like "enjoy" was describing how one fe Wow. Intense. Brutal. Moving. I have not read the YA novel this graphic has been adapted from, in fact, I'd never heard of it before not exactly being my type of YA reading. However, I do enjoy this type of material presented in the graphic format and this book caught my attention right away. The art is phenomenal and I was drawn into the story right away with the exceptional illustrations of the jungle and Ugandan life. It is really difficult to use a word like "enjoy" was describing how one felt about a book which deals with such a sad reality as child soldiers. There was nothing to "enjoy" in this story, except for the masterful storytelling which kept the humanity in the children who had been turned into brutal killing machines; that managed to show the deep faith of the people that may waver but comes back stronger in the end even when the rebel soldiers use God against the children to brain wash them into thinking they are fighting and killing for God. The book is a testimony to how religion does not start wars but how people use religion as a tool in their wars. Uganda is 84% Christian, which is common in African countries and this strength of faith is evident in the survival of the main characters and their healing afterwards. The story is harsh and brutal but not graphic in visual detail. It will be dependent on the reader whether they can handle the reality of the material. If they can, I highly recommend this for ages 10 and up. The main characters range in age, but the main group is 12-14. An extremely important subject for western children to be made aware of when they are mature enough to handle it and this is the book that might just make an impact on their outlook. Powerful.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    I want to call this book nonfiction, but the author and illustrator are very clear -- it's a novel. A novel that tells the truth, sometimes better than nonfiction can. Uganda, along with other emerging nations, regularly abducts children to fight their wars. Both sides. Children. Kids who should be in math class, playing soccer. McKay has gone to Uganda. She's visited, interviewed, watched, observed. She created this 'composite' story of the children of Uganda. Jacob and his friends understand ve I want to call this book nonfiction, but the author and illustrator are very clear -- it's a novel. A novel that tells the truth, sometimes better than nonfiction can. Uganda, along with other emerging nations, regularly abducts children to fight their wars. Both sides. Children. Kids who should be in math class, playing soccer. McKay has gone to Uganda. She's visited, interviewed, watched, observed. She created this 'composite' story of the children of Uganda. Jacob and his friends understand very little about the politics of their country. They have heard of Kony. They know pepole whose children were kidnapped by Kony and his group of rebels...children forced to become cold-blooded killers for a cause they do not understand. An old man in the neighborhood lost his grandson. But Jacob and his friends have a bright future -- boarding school and good jobs....until... Until the school is raided by Kony's soldiers and the boys hustled out into the jungle. Their stories are brutal...their lives are shattered and destroyed. Children. Kids who should be taking classes are forced to beat their friends, given a weapon and told to kill a child's mother. Told until they kill, they will not eat. These children are OUR children. We owe them better than this life. The illustrations are strong, and LaFrance uses the entire page...changing even the background colors as the boy's lives descend into madness. Easy to read? Of course not. Important to read? Absolutely.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Based on a previously-published novel, which was based on the real-life experiences of boys from Gulu, Uganda, this graphic novel tells the story of the boy soldiers conscripted into Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army. Jacob and his friends are excited to begin school at George Jones Seminary for Boys, but the new term has barely begun when they and several classmates are kidnapped, tortured, and forced to participate in atrocities. Jacob loves math, and has led a sheltered life. Although viol Based on a previously-published novel, which was based on the real-life experiences of boys from Gulu, Uganda, this graphic novel tells the story of the boy soldiers conscripted into Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army. Jacob and his friends are excited to begin school at George Jones Seminary for Boys, but the new term has barely begun when they and several classmates are kidnapped, tortured, and forced to participate in atrocities. Jacob loves math, and has led a sheltered life. Although violence exists close by, he has never been touched directly by it. As he watches his friend Tony, who planned to become a priest, beat another classmate to death, he prays desperately for rescue by the government's military forces or his father. But rescue never comes, and finally, Jacob and his friends escape with Hannah, a girl whose ears have been hacked off because she tried to escape once before. This story is powerful, moving, and prompts much introspection about humans' inhumanity to others, boy soldiers, and how quickly an individual may be persuaded to kill another in order to save his/her own life. It also contains a powerful message about the redemptive power of hope and the resilience of individuals such as Jacob. The graphic novel format makes a compelling, heart-breaking story even more compelling. Understandably, readers will find it hard to forget this story or Jacob.

  7. 3 out of 5

    Amy Layton

    Remember Kony?  Circa 2012?  Does the Lord's Resistance Army ring a bell?  This graphic novel will shock you back into the realization that there's an army full of stolen children. This graphic novel is moving, showing the horrors of the LRA, showing what it takes to become a soldier, and what it takes to escape.  Jacob, when he's inducted, is full of fear, not knowing whether he'll survive from day to day, being forced to eat what he can scrounge because he's not a soldier yet, and only soldiers Remember Kony?  Circa 2012?  Does the Lord's Resistance Army ring a bell?  This graphic novel will shock you back into the realization that there's an army full of stolen children. This graphic novel is moving, showing the horrors of the LRA, showing what it takes to become a soldier, and what it takes to escape.  Jacob, when he's inducted, is full of fear, not knowing whether he'll survive from day to day, being forced to eat what he can scrounge because he's not a soldier yet, and only soldiers get to eat.   And when he tries to escape, either the soldiers will kill him or something else will.  And if he does successfully escape, he will no longer be viewed as the innocent child back at his home.  He will return an ex-soldier, whether he wants to be regarded as such or not. The text was absolutely engaging and wonderful.  All characters were moving--as they should be, given that real life people are living this reality each second that I type this.  And, the plot was realistic and heavy and ends with a call to action.  Remember Kony.  Remember the Lord's Resistance Army.  Remember that this is still happening.  Mckay and LaFrance's graphic novel reminds us of this.  And it's an important reminder. Review cross-listed here!

  8. 3 out of 5

    Jasmine Quinonez

    This book was amazing, made me really emotional, i would 100% read it again.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Krista the Krazy Kataloguer

    This is one of the few graphic novels I've read in which the text and illustrations combine just right to tell the story. Too often the text doesn't reveal enough, and/or the illustrations are hard to decipher or are ambiguous. War Brothers was just right. It's not a read for the faint-hearted, however. It's a horrifying look at what it's like for child soldiers in Africa, taken against their will. To think that it's happening RIGHT NOW somewhere in the world! I like the way the illustrator uses This is one of the few graphic novels I've read in which the text and illustrations combine just right to tell the story. Too often the text doesn't reveal enough, and/or the illustrations are hard to decipher or are ambiguous. War Brothers was just right. It's not a read for the faint-hearted, however. It's a horrifying look at what it's like for child soldiers in Africa, taken against their will. To think that it's happening RIGHT NOW somewhere in the world! I like the way the illustrator uses white pages when the main character is free, and black pages when he is a soldier. Outstanding and highly recommended!

  10. 3 out of 5

    Lisa

    My response to this book was heavily influenced by extratextual issues for which the book is not responsible. However, I was very uncomfortable with what I perceived to be a lack of clarity over what was fictionalized or not in this telling. While some of this discomfort is intrinsic to the telling of any nonfiction event, there was the additional issue of the problematic cultural response to Kony 2012. Furthermore, the illustrations were surprisingly generic to me, although they were effective a My response to this book was heavily influenced by extratextual issues for which the book is not responsible. However, I was very uncomfortable with what I perceived to be a lack of clarity over what was fictionalized or not in this telling. While some of this discomfort is intrinsic to the telling of any nonfiction event, there was the additional issue of the problematic cultural response to Kony 2012. Furthermore, the illustrations were surprisingly generic to me, although they were effective at showing the absolute horror the children were put through. I would recommend other books to those wanting to learn about the experiences of child soldiers.

  11. 3 out of 5

    Laura

    I like how he relived his stress through writing his story.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Beautiful illustrations. Heart-rending story.

  13. 3 out of 5

    Sandy

    I picked this graphic novel up from a library’s display as I loved the cover and the title. I didn’t know until I got home what the novel was about and after I read the synopsis, I realized that I had picked up a gem. I loved everything about this novel. The story is about the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) which is ran by Kony, a man who stops at nothing. Reading these words, I had to laugh as I just finished reading Soldier Boy by Keely Hutton and here I was reading about the same Army two weeks I picked this graphic novel up from a library’s display as I loved the cover and the title. I didn’t know until I got home what the novel was about and after I read the synopsis, I realized that I had picked up a gem. I loved everything about this novel. The story is about the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) which is ran by Kony, a man who stops at nothing. Reading these words, I had to laugh as I just finished reading Soldier Boy by Keely Hutton and here I was reading about the same Army two weeks later, only now I was reading a graphic novel. Both novels were based on actual events. Even though both of their accounts were similar in what had transpired, each story was unique and it was fantastic reading another novel based on what is happening in Uganda. Just as I had imagined from reading Soldier Boy, this novel’s illustrations reaffirmed my notion of what these children went through after being captured. In this novel, the boys were taken from their school, a place they thought was safe, and now the boys are part of the war. It is either kill the enemy and be given food to eat and survive or to refuse to fight and have to scrounge for your own food and hope you will survive. Don’t get hurt or you will be left behind to die, this regiment had a mission and they were not slowing down. Fighting the government’s army or overtaking villages, the LRA did it to please God, for those are the words of Kony. I had to shake my head as I read about their commitment to God. It was amazing how their twisted minds worked, believing that God choose them to fight for him, to kill innocent individuals and to torment others. They were violent and brutal in their ways to get what they needed, to do God’s will and to get their abductees to break down and fight with them. I loved the illustrations in this novel. The colorful, bright artwork tells the whole picture. It pulls you in and my emotions harden as I read. To walk day-in and day-out in the bush, keeping your head up while your spirit was diminishing. I liked how the illustrator used a white border around the text boxes when life was safe for the boys and then changed to a black border when the boys were under the LRA rule. It really was a powerful message. Looking at the side of this novel, I saw white, black and then white again, there was hope for what had transpired. I can’t say enough about how powerful and effective this novel is, in portraying this event that is still occurring in Uganda.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marcos Moreno

    The book that I read was War Brothers by Sharon E. McKay. I was fascinated while reading this book. The book is a graphic novel and is easy to read. I would recommend this book to people who like to read adventurous and mysterious books. This book was about a fourteen year old boy named Jacob and three of his classmates. They attend a school in Uganda. Everything is normal until they students were abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army and were forced to work as child soldiers. The book gets ve The book that I read was War Brothers by Sharon E. McKay. I was fascinated while reading this book. The book is a graphic novel and is easy to read. I would recommend this book to people who like to read adventurous and mysterious books. This book was about a fourteen year old boy named Jacob and three of his classmates. They attend a school in Uganda. Everything is normal until they students were abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army and were forced to work as child soldiers. The book gets very interesting it feels like you can not stop reading the book. The author explains what happens in very descriptive details that it feels like you’re in the book as well. I would rate this book an eight out of ten because I enjoyed how the characters personalities were and how the book was set up. The thing I like about this book was that it has plenty of twist and turn scenes. One thing I disliked about the book was that the way it ended. I did not enjoy reading the end of the book ut other than that it was phenomenal. This was one of my favorite books to read because it had pictures that help understand the meaning of the book. Overall I think that the book is good to read to learn more about how the author explains and describes the other books in details and you could learn something off of the books that Sharon E. McKay has wrote in the past.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Carly Holmes

    A graphic novel of child soldiers in Uganda. I really didn’t know much about child soldiers before reading this book. Seeing just a small part of the mindset of a child soldier is just as much fascinating as it is horrific. It’s an important concept to begin to understand though, not a comfortable one. This book won’t make you an expert on the subject, but it’s a good beginning place.

  16. 3 out of 5

    Barbara

    War Brothers is the kind of graphic novel that makes me want to go out and grab the original. I need to know if that book rips at the emotions the way this one did. The book takes us into history and politics and everyday life in Uganda, Africa. In so doing, it shows that life, and human nature, are the same all around the world. Especially the bonds of freindship. Jacob just wants to be a kid. He excels in mathematics (he and his friends can do calculations in his head that I have trouble with War Brothers is the kind of graphic novel that makes me want to go out and grab the original. I need to know if that book rips at the emotions the way this one did. The book takes us into history and politics and everyday life in Uganda, Africa. In so doing, it shows that life, and human nature, are the same all around the world. Especially the bonds of freindship. Jacob just wants to be a kid. He excels in mathematics (he and his friends can do calculations in his head that I have trouble with on a calculator). He has a scholarship to attend a special school, one designed to train future leaders. He and his friend Tony arrive filled with hopes for the future. But the local warlord needs recruits, and kids make good cannon fodder. Not even the special guards hired by the parents stop rebel soldiers from raiding the school and abducting students. From then on, Jacob’s main job becomes survival as he waits for his father to rescue him. Meanwhile, the soldiers begin the process of turning the boys into killers. The book pulls few punches. Readers’ hearts pound as a frightened boy is told to choose between short-sleeves or long: being amputated at the wrist, or above the elbow. We watch female captives, one maimed for trying to escape, others forced to be the “wives” of soldiers and bear babies while they themselves are still children. The boys are told that if they even speak to one of the girls they will be beaten…and the girl will be killed. The graphics are excellent and enhance the story. We see and feel the shock and fear, the grief as friends die or agree to become killers in exchange for food and shelter. We feel the fatigue and the jungle heat. Watch as adults turn children into brutes. “The commanders can tell which boys can be broken like glass. Shattered glass cannot be put back together. When the good boys become LRA they become especially mean, especially dangerous.” Jacob witnesses atrocities; watches his friend Tony, the boy who once wanted to become a priest, become a gun-toting convert after being forced to kill another child. He believes his father will rescue him, rejects the religious zeal of his captors and does everything he can to keep a frail boy alive during weeks spent trekking through the African jungle. Jacob’s hopes sink when he learns the government refuses to make a deal to get the schoolboys back. If he is going to survive, he has to make that happen, even if it means agreeing to join the soldiers on a raid. The rules are simple: only those who fight and kill get food. (view spoiler)[Jacob is handed a panga (machete) and told to kill the enemy. An enemy who turns out to be a mother struggling to protect her screaming child. Five boys, including Jacob and Tony, and one girl manage to escape. When they return from the jungle they are looked on with fear. Some parents refuse to take their children back. (hide spoiler)] “People watched us. They thought we were killers with a thirst to kill again.” When a boy who has been handed a weapon and taught to take life turns around and saves a life, how does he earn absolution? Can he be trusted or forgiven? Even by himself? The book asks the questions. It does not hand out easy answers. This book is justifiably labeled 9th grade and up. The brutality begins on the opening panels. We see children armed with guns and machetes attacking a mother trying to defend her own child. It makes an effective hook, I had to keep reading when I turned a page and the book went into the past, to scenes of tranquility in Uganda before the boys became pawns in a war. This makes an ideal “gateway book” for High School youth who might be considered reluctant readers. By that I mean the book has a sound hook for older high school students. I admit to reading frantically to see what would happen next. I visualize many reluctant readers doing the same. War Brothers does a good job of depicting the universality of family life, friendship, the dreams of the young, and how those dreams can be ripped apart by the irrationality of war. Teachers, parents and librarians can use this story to evoke discussions of combat situations in the present and the past, street wars, and other areas relevant to young readers’ lives and futures.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kiara

    The authors did an amazing job of capturing the negative side effects of war. In this informative novel, four children from Gulu (a city in North Uganda) are captured and force to join the rebel army name Land Resistance. These four children name Jacob, Norman, Tony, and Paul; strive to survive the hardships of being captured by any means necessary. They learn the importance of loyalty, courage, and dedication. Also, the images are very detailed and telling. When reading the novel, I myself, fel The authors did an amazing job of capturing the negative side effects of war. In this informative novel, four children from Gulu (a city in North Uganda) are captured and force to join the rebel army name Land Resistance. These four children name Jacob, Norman, Tony, and Paul; strive to survive the hardships of being captured by any means necessary. They learn the importance of loyalty, courage, and dedication. Also, the images are very detailed and telling. When reading the novel, I myself, felt like I was in the story. This a great novel for young adult readers. This can serve as a great opener for educators to use in their classroom as a way to spark a conversation about courage and family. Due to the images being detailed and some showing the gruesome side effects of war; I would suggest having a conversation about what war entails. I would highly recommend this novel!

  18. 3 out of 5

    Connor Strycharz

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Connor Strycharz War Brothers: The Graphic Novel Social Science War Brothers Review The book War Brothers shares the story of young African boys that in the heart of a civil war in their home country, Uganda. The story follows the young boy named Jacob as he and his friends, Tony, Paul and Norman. Though they were all put into a school that will face them many new challenges, that is not the main conflict. The main conflict is the the resistance leader of Uganda, Kony, has been kidnapping numerous Connor Strycharz War Brothers: The Graphic Novel Social Science War Brothers Review The book War Brothers shares the story of young African boys that in the heart of a civil war in their home country, Uganda. The story follows the young boy named Jacob as he and his friends, Tony, Paul and Norman. Though they were all put into a school that will face them many new challenges, that is not the main conflict. The main conflict is the the resistance leader of Uganda, Kony, has been kidnapping numerous numbers of young children to fight as his army. The boys are told not to worry, but something terrible happens. Kony’s soldiers kill the guards of the school and kidnap the four boys. They are beaten, knocked out, and wake up in the middle of the forest. The four boys walk miles to a village and meet a girl that had her ears cut off for trying to escape. After the horrifying encounter, one of Jacob’s other friends, Adam, drops down to the floor in pain. One of Kony’s men forces Tony, Jacob’s best friend, to kill him. And facing either the death of his friend, or his own death, he does it, and becomes a heartless soldier. Jacob states, “Tony is different...killing Adam changed him”(McKay, Lafrance 59). They then walked longer and longer. Then, they met one of the chefs that worked for Kony, named Oteka. He didn’t like it there either, so he agreed to help the boys to escape. The four boys, the girl and Oteka attempt an escape. They are almost free, but one of Kony’s men followed them. The soldier caught them red-handed, and was about to kill him, until a hungry lion came up behind him, and dragged him into the cold dark forest. All six of them end up getting to the government and they return to their normal lives. To Jacob this is hard to do, but he ends up becoming fine, and befriending the girl with no ears, who we find out is named Hannah. After seeing her again, he eventually becomes better, and now his story is told around the world. To me, this book was extremely powerful. I would definitely recommend this book to any peer of mine. This book made me feel a certain way. It made me realize how fortunate I am and how lucky I am to live in the country I live in. I’m lucky to live in a place where a warlord can’t just bust into my house take my family and I away. It made more grateful for the little things I barely appreciate in my life. Things like police, a stable government and constant protection. This book had great art and was well told. The comic squares really helped and went along with the story. For example, if Jacob just described the time of when he had to kill Adam, it still would have been powerful, but not as powerful. Showing the emotion on his face what very powerful, and actually made it more believable and a little bit scary. Finishing the book, I did have a couple of questions. First of all, what ever happened to Kony? Is he still alive and if he is, is he still doing the evil things he was doing? Next, what does Jacob do now? He lived this terrifying experience very early on in his life, what does he do now? Finally, is Uganda doing to solve this terrible issue? This poor children are not as lucky as Jacob was and do not escape. Is the Ugandan government going to solve this feud with the Resistance? In conclusion, I thought this graphic novel was fantastic. It portrayed the struggles young boys must go in Africa, working for an evil man named Kony. This book really showed me what it is like to not have the regular things I am used to in my life. I would definitely recommend this book to someone, and would like to read another one like it in the future.

  19. 3 out of 5

    Lakis Fourouklas

    This graphic novel is one of those special books that act like a punch-in-the-stomach when it comes to the story that they have to say. And the story at hand is one of war and hatred, ignorance and blind belief, hurt and retribution. There’s so much agony, and so much pain contained in these pages, that can make a tender or simply human soul feel sick. The subject matter of War Brothers is bleak, as it tackles one of the most important issues of our so-called modern era: child soldiers. As we rea This graphic novel is one of those special books that act like a punch-in-the-stomach when it comes to the story that they have to say. And the story at hand is one of war and hatred, ignorance and blind belief, hurt and retribution. There’s so much agony, and so much pain contained in these pages, that can make a tender or simply human soul feel sick. The subject matter of War Brothers is bleak, as it tackles one of the most important issues of our so-called modern era: child soldiers. As we read, at the moment, there are more than 250,000 of them, fighting and dying in 35 countries around the world, a number that could be far larger, since the cases of children that go missing and end up with arms in hands is not actually too well documented. Anyway, to come to the story, this book describes the adventures of Jacob Kitino, a member of the Acholi tribe and resident of the city of Gulu in Uganda. Jacob, who comes from a rich family, studies at the local seminary for boys and just loves to play football. The civil war that ravages his country is very distant to him, a reality that only the other people have to live through. His best friend is Tony, a boy with a great sense of humor, who loves football as well. Let’s read what he has to say: “The nuns who are paying for my schooling told me that if I fail it is because I am an ungrateful boy. But if I pass it is God’s work and I should repay God by becoming a priest.” Becoming a priest is not something he really wants to do, but he doesn’t want to be a soldier either. However, fate has already made its plans for him, as well as for many other the boys, as one day the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels attack the school, and take 38 of them as hostages. They are to become soldiers, or die, unless they can be used otherwise. So Jacob and Tony, all of a sudden, find themselves marching through the jungle towards a yet unknown destination. The journey is long, and exhausting, their strength, as they are practically famished, seems to slip away from them by the day: “I need to rest, but to rest is to die,” Jacob says. This long and tiresome journey will change their lives forever, and not for the better. They’ll see heinous crimes committed in the names of country and god, they’ll make friends and create enemies, and they’ll see that their future is something they have to shape themselves. What they don’t know yet is that victims and perpetrators, when it comes to situations like these, are treated by the people in almost the same way; a veil of doubt and suspicion covers them both. War Brothers is a disturbing story told in a deeply humane manner. The words and the illustrations convey convincingly to the reader all the thoughts and emotions of the main characters, and they bring to life their dreams and fears, their resolutions and failures. I’d highly recommend this exceptionally good graphic novel to simply everyone who gives a dime about the world around him.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Becca Kennedy

    Assigned this as extra credit for my students. I probably won’t do it again, but it’s a great story. Very sad. I think it’s a great way for kids to grapple with a big topic like the issue of child soldiers.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lesly Cruz

    It's a really interesting book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rob Slaven

    By now you know the spiel; I received this book through a GoodReads giveaway. Even though it was free I’m not above giving a crushing review to a free book. As further preamble, I don’t seek out to read graphic novels but I will look at anything put in front of me, so here we go. As I said in the intro, I’m not a comic books sort of reader in general so right off that puts me at a bit of a disadvantage. I don’t have a whole lot to compare this to. In simple terms it was about a 45 minute read eve By now you know the spiel; I received this book through a GoodReads giveaway. Even though it was free I’m not above giving a crushing review to a free book. As further preamble, I don’t seek out to read graphic novels but I will look at anything put in front of me, so here we go. As I said in the intro, I’m not a comic books sort of reader in general so right off that puts me at a bit of a disadvantage. I don’t have a whole lot to compare this to. In simple terms it was about a 45 minute read even with the distraction of pedaling an exercise bike the whole time. Being a comic book it’s very easy to read and very accessible. The illustrations were well done, dark and foreboding. That fits well since the topic was itself so dark and foreboding. So as graphic novels go, absolutely no complaints at a technical level. The content, as you have no doubt surmised from the publisher’s description, surrounds the conscription of young men by Ugandan rebels. Written from the perspective of a young man who is a victim of this conscription, it does tend to tug at your heart strings. In the U.S. there’s not a lot of awareness that this sort of thing goes on so I applaud the book for introducing this hitherto untold story to domestic readers. It tells the story in a heart-felt way but left me as a reader rather wanting more information. The graphic novel genre only supports so much throughput so this isn’t an especially surprising eventuality. To sum up, an interesting story told in far too brief a format. I wanted more data but what was presented was fairly intriguing. Not the most amazing thing I’ve ever read but certainly a 45 minutes well spent.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    Have you ever read a book that you thought would be deep and include tons of strong, emotional moments, but sort of just skimmed everything and made it bland? The graphic novel War Brothers, by Sharon E. Mckay, did just that. It had moments that kind of make you question what could happen next. But for the most part, it’s pretty predictable. The graphic novel is about a boy named Jacob(and friends) who go to school where they get captured by the Lords Resistance Army. The L.R.A then make the st Have you ever read a book that you thought would be deep and include tons of strong, emotional moments, but sort of just skimmed everything and made it bland? The graphic novel War Brothers, by Sharon E. Mckay, did just that. It had moments that kind of make you question what could happen next. But for the most part, it’s pretty predictable. The graphic novel is about a boy named Jacob(and friends) who go to school where they get captured by the Lords Resistance Army. The L.R.A then make the students of the school, slaves ,They force them to walk for hours. Some of the boys are asked to fight government soldiers or villagers, often to take their food and supplies. The book is historical fiction and drama. The theme is the loss of innocence. The purpose is to show what went on and still goes on in eastern Africa, and also an attempt to make an interesting story about a group of child soldiers. The book was alright and had some decent moments, but I feel like nothing was deep enough. Everything seemed brief. The book should have been another hundred pages long. The book did teach me about what goes on in Uganda and that general area, but that’s about it. The intended audience is young teens, twelve to fourteen. The book is good for showing them some of the history of east Africa. The book has a few graphic parts but it isn’t awful. War Brothers was an okay book with an okay plot. My final rating is two and a half out of five starts.The drawings were nice but the storyline is just not as heavy as I hoped.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jenni Frencham

    McKay, Sharon. War Brothers: The Graphic Novel. Annick Press, 2013. This book tells the story of child soldiers in Uganda who were forced to join the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The problem of child soldiers and their recovery is an issue in many African countries, and this book tells the story in a sensitive and appropriate manner. I can see why this book won an award this year. The art is appropriate for the story, and the book depicts the horrors of child soldiers without being overly graphic McKay, Sharon. War Brothers: The Graphic Novel. Annick Press, 2013. This book tells the story of child soldiers in Uganda who were forced to join the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The problem of child soldiers and their recovery is an issue in many African countries, and this book tells the story in a sensitive and appropriate manner. I can see why this book won an award this year. The art is appropriate for the story, and the book depicts the horrors of child soldiers without being overly graphic. When I find that money-tree, I'm going to purchase a copy of this book for my library. Recommended for: teens and adults Red Flags: lots of violence, mentions of rape Overall Rating: 5/5 stars Read-Alike: Chanda's Wars by Allan Stratton

  25. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    Adapted from the author's novel, "War Brothers," this version shows, through beautiful illustrations and prose, the horrors of civil war and the cost of human bondage on a group, be it a tribe or nation. The violence is appropriate to the topic and is such that readers middle-school age and above will understand in the context with which it is shown. You will cheer for the boys (and the few girls mentioned), rooting for them to escape or at least make the best decision in whatever situation they Adapted from the author's novel, "War Brothers," this version shows, through beautiful illustrations and prose, the horrors of civil war and the cost of human bondage on a group, be it a tribe or nation. The violence is appropriate to the topic and is such that readers middle-school age and above will understand in the context with which it is shown. You will cheer for the boys (and the few girls mentioned), rooting for them to escape or at least make the best decision in whatever situation they find themselves in. A great source for teaching about civil war and enslavement.

  26. 3 out of 5

    Starr

    A copy of this title was given to me, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. This was heartbreaking but also filled with hope. It was interesting to see this situation through a victim, a young boy forced to become a child soldier. It brought to life a story that many have heard about but are still disconnected to.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    An extremely compelling graphic novelization of Sharon McKay's novel of the same name. Daniel LaFrance has done an amazing job conveying the horror and revulsion experienced by boys captured from their school and forced to fight as soldiers in Uganda by Joseph Kony's LRA. Full colour glossy pages with vibrant illustrations.

  28. 3 out of 5

    Alison Lee

    Difficult Read......I'd like to believe this doesn't happen, but I know the truth.

  29. 3 out of 5

    Lesley

    Fascinating look at the LRA rebels in Uganda and those affected by their destruction. An important novel for readers!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    This left me wishing it was longer. There wasn't enough on what these kids went through. It felt more like a preview to the book by the same author.

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