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When Elephants Fight

Overview

When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. This ancient proverb of the Kikuyu people, a tribal group in Kenya, Africa, is as true today as when the words were first spoken, perhaps thousands of years ago. Its essence is simplicity—when the large fight, it is the small who suffer most. And when it comes to war, the smallest, the most vulnerable, are the children. When Elephants Fight presents the stories of five children—Annu, Jimmy, Nadja, Farooq and Toma—from five very different and distinct ...

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When Elephants Fight

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Overview

When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. This ancient proverb of the Kikuyu people, a tribal group in Kenya, Africa, is as true today as when the words were first spoken, perhaps thousands of years ago. Its essence is simplicity—when the large fight, it is the small who suffer most. And when it comes to war, the smallest, the most vulnerable, are the children. When Elephants Fight presents the stories of five children—Annu, Jimmy, Nadja, Farooq and Toma—from five very different and distinct conflicts—Sri Lanka, Uganda, Sarajevo, Afghanistan and the Sudan. Along with these very personal accounts, the book also offers brief analyses of the history and geopolitical issues that are the canvas on which these conflicts are cast. When Elephants Fight is about increasing awareness. For the future to be better than the past, better than the present, we must help equip our children with an awareness and understanding of the world around them and their ability to bring about change. Gandhi stated, "If you are going to change the world, start with the children."

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Five moving, personal stories of children caught up in wars are recounted here, each followed by short sections of historical background and explanations of the conflicts. Jimmy, from Uganda, still lives in his home; Sudanese Toma now lives in a refugee camp on the Chad border. Their experiences are relatively fresh; the others, still vividly told, are recollections of events 12-16 years ago in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Sarajevo by young adults now living in Canada. The informational sections are introductions in which, necessarily, the complicated histories of tension and the issues around these outbreaks of violence have been simplified and summarized. No sources are credited. Occasionally the writers repeat their facts; sometimes the facts change with repetition, as when the number of Tamils imported to work on Sri Lankan plantations grows from "close to a million" on one page to "a million" a few pages later. Bradbury's personal experience with children in northern Uganda lends credence to these narratives, and readers will share his sympathies with these innocent victims. (Nonfiction. 12-15)

The Horn Book Guide
"The writing is accessible, and the kids' stories are compelling. The many photographs of children and landscapes help contextualize their stories."
CM Magazine
"A solid vehicle for discussions about the effects of war on children... Highly recommended."
Library Media Connection
"Worth the effort of media specialists and teachers to get it into the hands of students...This would be an excellent supplemental text for a high school geography or world civilization program. Highly Recommended."
Quill & Quire
"[Walters and Bradbury] provide a thoughtful historical and political analysis to assist young readers - along with many an older reader understandably confused by world events - in seeing how these conflicts arise… The tales provide a fresh and vibrant voice that needs to be heard."
Tucson Unified School District
"It should be mandatory reading! Highly, highly recommended."
Resource Links
"This outstanding book...is a recommended purchase for all middle and high school libraries. It is an interesting and powerful read that will appeal to the student interest in global issues, or anyone with an interest in children's rights."
Southwestern Ohio Young Adult Materials Review Group
"A comprehensive, yet concise, history of the conflicts or wars immediately following each child's story...An eye-opening perspective that is valuable to readers of all ages."
Booklist
*no details*
Manitoba Middle Years Association
*no details*
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554693559
  • Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/1/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 810,496
  • Age range: 10 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric Walters began writing in 1993 as a way to entice his grade-five students into becoming more interested in reading and writing. At the end of the year, one student suggested that he try to have his story published. Since that first creation, Eric has published more than seventy novels. Often his stories incorporate themes that reflect his background in education and social work and his commitment to humanitarian and social-justice issues. He is a tireless presenter, speaking to more than seventy thousand students per year in schools across the country. Eric is a father of three and lives in Mississauga, Ontario, with his wife, Anita. For more information, visit www.ericwalters.net.

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Read an Excerpt

There has never been a war fought that was started by children—or one that failed to harm them. Children are the grass beneath the feet of the men, the tribes, the armies and the nations engaged in armed conflict. Regardless of the winner—and there is a strong case to be made that war produces no winners—the children always suffer.

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