Friday, March 8, 2013

War Brothers, by Sharon E. McKay

Disclosure: I received a free copy of War Brothers: The Graphic Novel by Sharon E. McKay via GoodReads First Reads, courtesy of Annick Press.

The graphic novel War Brothers tackles the difficult subject of child soldiers in Uganda's rebel army under Kony Joseph. This is a tasteful, sensitive portrayal through the eyes of a fictional boy who is captured by soldiers no older than himself and thrown headlong into the horrors of warfare that ravage his home country.

Some of the images and events in the book are disturbing, but they are taken from real-life events, and serve to bring an important message to teen readers: boys such as those in the book have in fact been forced into fighting, lost their lives, or suffered PTSD and social ostrazation if they are lucky enough to survive. The themes of friendship, bravery, faith, and family bring hope glimmering to the surface, just as lighter images appear toward the end of the book, symbolizing possibilities of a better future for the children who survived.

War Brothers is not overly wordy, instead allowing Daniel LaFrance's skillfully drawn images show the emotions of the characters far clearer than dialogue possibly could. Raw fear and pain in the faces of the young boys draw the reader in as one of this band of brothers, making it impossible not to empathize with their ordeal.

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