Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

War Brothers: The Graphic Novel

McKay, Sharon E. (Author)
Lafrance, Daniel (Author/Illustrator)
Annick Press 2013. 170 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9781554514885 (paperback)
9781554514892 (hardcover)
9781554515943 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Graphic Text
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

conflict, panel arrangement, point of view, setting

Award

USBBY Outstanding International Books List – 2014

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:

Based on interviews with survivors, this graphic novel relates the harrowing story of life as a child soldier in Joseph Kony’s LRA. Humanity’s darkest aspects are addressed in a direct but non-sensational manner and include murderous initiation rituals. But even amid the brutality of this odious, cultish existence, Jacob and his friends retain their sense of compassion and mercy—and enough hope to escape their captors.

Beautifully inked illustrations start with light, clear colours to depict Jacob’s privileged and happy home. Deeper tones and dark shadows portray his nightmarish time with the LRA. These images culminate in a near pitch-black spread, with only the white glint of lion fangs and the terrified eyes of the teens’ biggest tormentor. In fiery colours and brush effects, the text seems to screech: “RRRROOOOAAAR! AAAAAAAAHHHHH!”

Although the children do escape, they are left with lasting marks – as are their families and society at large. “My father came this morning. He said that he loved me, but he would not take me back yet. He is afraid of me. I can feel it.” In the end, images return to clear and light colours, as Jacob and fellow-survivor Hannah walk hand in hand, in the peaceful setting of his backyard.

  •  

    Codes of visual texts such as line, colour and composition are used in conjunction with point of view, panel arrangements and panel transitions to portray time, place and mood. Read the opening scenes and notice the use of colour, line and point of view.

  •  

    In groups, discuss the sources of conflict provided by the story setting, referring to specific panels or sections.

  •  

    Use a production process to create a written or spoken expository text that considers an issue stemming from the narrative. Share the text with an audience of peers and adults.

  •  Visit the official websites of both the author and the illustrator. Take notes and compare these with a partner.
  •  

    At one point, Jacob lies to a grandfather about his grandson. He wonders, “Will my lie cause pain or allow a grandfather to heal?” Take a stance in a journal response.

  •  

    Hannah believes that if the world knew about child soldiers and their suffering, they would help. With a partner, research statistics on child soldiers today. Write a persuasive letter to UN officials informing them about child soldiering and its atrocities, asking them to help stop this tragedy.

  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Social Sciences