What's it like to grow up during war? To be a victim of violence or exiled from your homeland, culture, family, and even your own memories?
When America's talking heads talk about war, children and teenagers are often the forgotten part of the story. Yet who can forget images of the Vietnam "baby lift," when Amer-Asian children were flown out of Vietnam to be adopted by Americans? Who can forget the horror of learning that Iranian children were sent on suicide missions to clear landmines? Who wasn't captivated by stories of the "lost boys" of Sudan, traveling thousands of miles alone through the desert, seeking shelter and safety? From the cartel-terrorized streets of Juárez to the bombed-out cities of Bosnia to Afghanistan under the Taliban, from Nazi-occupied Holland to the middle-class American home of a Vietnam vet, this collection of personal and narrative essays explores both the universal and particular experiences of children and teenagers who came of age during a time of war.
J.L. Powers is the editor of Labor Pains and Birth Stories and the author of two young adult novels, most recently This Thing Called the Future, an alternative fantasy set in post-apartheid South Africa. She began collecting essays on children and war while pregnant with her first child and says, "The experience was both painful and uplifting, not unlike giving birth. The most memorable aspect of these essays is their stark portrayal of both survival and hope in the midst of incredible suffering."
About the Author
What People are Saying About This
Uplifting tales of survival War’s most vulnerable victims have their say." Kirkus Reviews
"[R]eaders will be rewarded by [this] compelling and often uplifting anthology That Mad Game surprises with its variety. From Taliban-controlled Kabul to a Japanese internment camp in northern California, from a teen girl’s 'soundtrack of war' in Beirut to a young man’s long walk across much of Africa, the startling stories make for rough going at times. But the humor, beauty, and humanity shining through the darkness are what make this collection a must-have for all libraries serving high school students." School Library Journal
"These essays give readers a front-row seat to the hunger, the hardship, and, ultimately, the resilience of people whose childhoods were forever marked by life on the front lines." — Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"There is heartache in the stories J.L. Powers has assembled here, as well as loss and pain and death. They are about war, after all. But there is humor too, and also love and faith and hope, because they are human stories too, and as each one testifies in its own way, humans are able to heal." Charles London, author of One Day The Soldiers Came: Voices of Children in War
"I was sent to the war in Afghanistan with a lot of slogans in my head about freedom and fighting terrorism. What I found instead was a tremendous respect for the good Afghan people, a deep sympathy for the Afghan children struggling for better lives, and a profound hatred of the Taliban for the way they brutalized their own people. That Mad Game is a reminder that such hatred is the same mistake from which all the world’s wars are born. The fact that That Mad Game can steer my hard heart toward sympathy for a young Talib is a sure sign of this book’s tremendous potential to foster a spirit of peace and understanding in readers everywhere." Trent Reedy, author of Words in the Dust and Stealing Air