“Everyone in the world should read this book . . . We should
read it to learn about the world and about what it means to be
-Carolyn See, The Washington Post Book World
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah describes the experience of a young boy who loses his family and his home due to civil war in Sierra Leone in the 1990's. He is forced to fight as a child soldier. During this time he becomes addicted to the drugs that the army fed to him and is brainwashed by the propaganda he is told by his commanders. After two years and countless brutal battles, Ishmael is rescued and sent to a rehabilitation center sponsored by UNICEF. He eventually travels to New York City to speak at the United Nations at a special conference about children who are affected by wars around the world. Later he is adopted by an American woman and moves to New York to finish his education and eventually share his amazing story with us. This is an important book for all young people to read because of its message of hope, peace and second chances.
In this webquest, students in Ms. Etzold's 12th grade intensive reading classes will read and respond to the memoir, demonstrating their comprehension of the text and making personal connections to the story. Students will learn more about the civil war in Sierra Leone that led to the atrocities described in this book and will learn how the people responsible are being brought to justice. Hopefully students will be inspired to take action and contribute to organizations that protect and rehabilitate children around the world who are affected by war.