CHRISTOPHE’S STORY by Nicki Cornwell


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 10 - 12
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Eight-year-old Christophe and his family have fled to England from war-torn Rwanda. In his new school, he is reluctant to learn to read because his grandfather believed that stories should be told and not written, in order that the listeners can form their own pictures. He learns, but reads only factual material. It is extremely painful to remember the past, but he’s finally able to tell his own experiences of war, fear, death and loss. His teacher records the story, and Christophe agrees to let her transcribe it, because he understands that it is important that it reach a wider audience. By having Christophe speak with chilling simplicity directly to his classmates—and to the reader—Cornwell is able to convey the horror without the distance of an outside voice. It’s a powerful indictment of the savagery of war and its effect on those caught in its path. But there’s also a catharsis in the telling and a glimmer of hope for the future. Sugar-coating the truth about the world’s evils is not in the best interests of children, but at what age should they be made aware of these truths? Parents and teachers may need to make that decision here. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-84507-765-5
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Frances Lincoln
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2007


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