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OFF TO WAR by Deborah Ellis


Voices of Soldiers’ Children

by Deborah Ellis

Age Range: 9 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-88899-894-1
Publisher: Groundwood

With 13,500 Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan and one million American military personnel in Iraq, millions of children on the home front and in the war zones have been affected. As Ellis says, “In any war, it is always the children who are the biggest losers—children whose voices are rarely heard.” In an oral history reminiscent of Studs Terkel’s superb volumes, Ellis gives voice to the children of Canadian and American soldiers. Each interview is prefaced by information on the war, army bases and the children themselves. Though the children’s voices often sound similar, and many repeat the same sentiments—sadness when a parent goes away, the poignancy when children realize they have gotten used to a parent’s absence and the difficult readjustment when parents return—it is their accumulation that makes an impact. Later interviews reflect a divergence of opinion—one 11-year-old girl states that the “war was just for oil, and for money-grubbing Americans.” Ellis continues to be an important voice of moral and social conscience, and this volume will be followed, in January 2009, by Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees. (glossary, further information) (Nonfiction. 9 & up)