Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Lost Girl Found

Bassoff, Leah (Author)
DeLuca, Laura (Author)
Groundwood Books 2014. 216 pages
First published: 2014
ISBN: 9781554984169 (hardcover)
9781773061955 (paperback)
9781554984183 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

characterization, conflict, dialogue, point of view, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

When bombs fall on Sudan, a teenage girl is torn from her family. Poni flees her village. The journey that she takes from childhood to womanhood is painful, but she is resilient, and her thirst for an education is stronger than the violence, starvation and land mines that she confronts on her trek across the east African countryside. Her resilience is inherited: “Back home, some of our elders practiced magic. Some could hold their breath under water or bring about the rain. A person can train his body to do all manner of inhuman things — live without food, walk without stopping.”

The ‘Lost Boys and Girls’ are the generation of children orphaned during the Sudanese civil war that started in 1983. Although Poni is a fictional character, the authors drew on many true events to create her story.

Poni begins the story as a child—“we children are constantly on the move, roaming among the tukuls, our round huts with cone-shaped roofs”—and ends it as a woman. Despite the hardships and losses she endures, Poni learns the power of womanhood. “When something is so painful, you push this pain away, then bury it. You bury it in a spot so deep that even you cannot find it. This is how women are able to bear so many children, how the impossible becomes possible.”

  •  

    Poni represents an amalgamation of the “lost girls” of Sudan. The text recounts the sometimes horrific treatment of girls and women from the point of view of a pre-adolescent girl. Read the opening chapter as a group and discuss the opening scenes.

  •  

    In small groups, discuss the way Poni and other girls and women are portrayed. Explore the way(s) the social and political setting impacts them. What changes as the story progresses?

  •  

    Read and discuss the story in conjunction with others with similar topics and themes as part of the immersion into text for the production of a narrative or expository piece that takes on issues stemming from the book.

  •  

    Do some research on the Anyanya (a South Sudanese rebel army) and discuss the causes and effects of the Sudanese civil war.

  •  

    As you read, predict how Poni will be treated by each new character she meets.

  •  Write an open letter as Poni, thanking those who helped her make it to America and condemning those who caused her harm or strife along the way.
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Social Sciences
  • Aluta (A. Badoe) (Genre)