Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hoping for Peace in Sudan




Hoping for Peace in Sudan:  Divided by Conflict, Wishing for Peace
by Jim Pipe
Gareth Stevens, 2013.  48 pgs.  Nonfiction

          This volume in the Peace Pen Pals series provides an excellent overview of the causes of conflict in Sudan, and the eventual division of the country. The story is framed by the exchange of letters between two imaginary girls: a black African girl from the south and an Arab girl from Khartoum in the north.  The letters are the weakest device in this text because they are obviously contrived:  are both girls writing in Arabic? Manute, the black girl, seems to have had little or no opportunity for education and yet she writes at the same level of literacy as her friend Sittina, who has had every advantage. Manute shuttles from refugee camp to refugee camp, some without even the most basic services, and yet her mail gets reliably through.  But still--one comes away from this book with a greater knowledge of the disastrous circumstances that have plagued Sudan for many years, and which seem unlikely to be fully resolved in the forseeable future. Excellent pictures and sidebar information add to the narrative, one likely to help children understand how hard things may be for kids in other lands.

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