The Bite of the Mango

The Bite of the Mango

4.3 10
by Mariatu Kamara, Susan McClelland
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

A courageous biography by a woman from Sierra Leone who at 12 was tortured and lost her hands to child soldiers, her subsequent life in refugee camps, begging in Freetown and her eventual arrival in Toronto where she began to pull her life back together.
See more details below

Overview

A courageous biography by a woman from Sierra Leone who at 12 was tortured and lost her hands to child soldiers, her subsequent life in refugee camps, begging in Freetown and her eventual arrival in Toronto where she began to pull her life back together.

Editorial Reviews

HiRise
A "must read" for teens.
— Denise Moore
January Magazine (Best of 2008: Children's Books)
[Best of 2008: Children's Books] A compelling, unmissable book.
Booklist
This haunting memoir adds an essential voice to the growing body of literature about Sierra Leone's civil war. Kamara's peaceful childhood ended in shocking violence when rebels arrived in her small rural village. During the devastating attack, child soldiers cut off 12-year-old Kamara's hands, but she managed to escape and carry herself to the relative safety of a town hospital. Kamara describes her first years after the attack, spent begging in the streets of Freetown and sleeping in refugee camps, and then her slow route to Toronto, where she currently attends college. Kamaras account, shaped by journalist McClelland, is made even more powerful by the plain, direct language that presents the horrifying facts without sensationalizing. Even more astonishing than the inconceivable crimes that Kamara endures is the strength, forgiveness, and hope that she discovers as she heals.
ForeWord
Recommended for older teens, but adults won't be able to put the book down either.
— Robin Farrell Edmunds
Manhattan Mercury
A story that older teens and adults won't be able to put down.
— Robin Farrell Edmonds
San Francisco Bay Area Parent
Horrifying and inspiring, [Kamara's] memoir tells an unforgettable story of courage, resilience and hope.
ForeWord - Robin Farrell Edmunds
Despite the intense subject matter, the book is not overly graphic or gratuitous. It's recommended for older teens, but adults won't be able to put the book down either.
HiRise - Denise Moore
Mauriatu Kamara is a college student in Toronto. She is also a UNICEF Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. When she was 11 years old in Sierra Leone, armed rebels brutally cut off her hands. In The Bite of the Mango, she tells the story of her life: one of survival, resilience, and relationships, also of her love for both Sierra Leone and Canada. A "must read" for teens.
Manhattan Mercury - Robin Farrell Edmonds
This is the story of the results of war as seen through a child's eyes and experiences and retold by the young woman who lived through it. Though the subject matter is intense in spots, the book is not overly graphic in gratuitous details and it's a story that older teens and adults won't be able to put down.
Canadian Children's Book Centre
Starred Selection 2009
Starred Selection 2009
Starred Selection
Africa Access Review - Merry Merryfield
This is an honest and true story told without glamour or artifice.
Publishers Weekly

Relaying her experiences as a child in Sierra Leone during the 1990s, Kamara chillingly evokes the devastating effects of war. Mariatu is 11 when her tiny village is decimated by rebel soldiers, many of them children like her. Forced to watch as peaceful villagers are tortured and murdered, Mariatu is finally allowed to go free-but only after boy soldiers cut off her hands: "We want you to go to the president," they tell her, "and show him what we did to you. You won't be able to vote for him now." Mariatu's long walk to get medical aid marks the first stage of a harrowing journey to build a new life for herself and other wartime victims; she now lives in Canada and is a UNICEF representative. Written with journalist McClelland, her story is deeply personal yet devoid of self-pity. As it aims to correct misperceptions about Sierra Leone and to raise awareness of the needs of child victims of war, this book will unsettle readers-and then inspire them with the evidence of Mariatu's courage. Ages 14-up. (Nov.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
VOYA - Heather Christensen
Mariatu was just twelve years old when armed rebels - many no older than she - attacked not far from her village in Sierra Leone and brutally cut off her hands. Left alone, she made the dangerous journey through the jungle to the closest town. From there, she was sent to Freetown, where she joined the ranks of children orphaned and maimed by rebel forces, including many from her own village. While receiving medical care for her wounds, a nurse surprised Mariatu with the news of her pregnancy. Not until a distant relative quietly gave her an impromptu sex education lesson was Mariatu able to explain to doctors and family members that the pregnancy was not the result of her encounter with the rebels but from a rape by an older man in her village. McClelland uses Mariatu's spare language to drive this gripping story, preventing it from lapsing into a sensationalized account of horrific violence. Although the images of war and hostility are truly disturbing, Mariatu's indomitable spirit will resonate most with teens. Her determination to maintain control and responsibility for her own decisions will undoubtedly inspire readers of all ages. Indeed the same resolve that led her out of the jungle and helped her discover new ways to function without hands, eventually led her to a new life in Canada that includes college, friends, and important work as a UNICEF representative. Reviewer: Heather Christensen
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

Kamara's account of the atrocities she suffered at the hands of rebel soldiers in Sierra Leone is both harrowing and hopeful. The young woman had a typical childhood in her small rural village until she came face to face with rebels bent on destroying everything in their path. After bearing witness to the torture and murder of several townspeople, one soldier chopped off both of her hands with a machete and left her for dead. Summoning all of her courage, she found her way to a nearby hospital where she was reunited with her surviving family members. There, the 12-year-old discovered she was pregnant and was reduced to begging in the streets to keep herself and her son alive. When journalists arrived to document the horrors of life in her country, Kamara was understandably wary. However, being featured in their stories led to benefactors wanting to find a way to take her to a country where she could heal mentally and physically. After landing in Canada, Kamara found a home and a surrogate family who encouraged her not only to obtain an education, but also to share her story with the world. Her narrative is honest, raw, and powerful. In the same vein as Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (Farrar, 2007), the book sheds light on a plight of which many people are still unaware.-Kelly McGorray, Glenbard South High School Library, Glen Ellyn, IL

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781554511587
Publisher:
Annick Press, Limited
Publication date:
09/12/2008
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
129,062
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
800L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Videos

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >