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Off to War: Voices of Soldiers' Children

by Deborah Ellis

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784257,426 (3.75)None
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have impacted the children of soldiers--men and women who have been called away from their families to fight in a faraway war. In their own words, some of these children describe how their experience has marked and shaped their lives.



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This book has different chapters where each chapter has a different military child sharing their feelings or emotions about how war effects them and how they get through their daily life on the Homefront. I think this is great for teaching kids how military children and families work from a first-hand perspective. It could be done as a read-aloud over time and then along with videos and other artifacts used for a transaction circle. Students could also analyze different tones and moods in the accounts. I would use this book with students in fifth grade through high school.
  ksmole1 | Nov 14, 2018 |
Deborah Ellis has been widely praised for her books about children in war-torn countries. Now, she turns her attention closer to home, to American and Canadian children whose parents are soldiers fighting — or who have fought — in Afghanistan and Iraq. In frank and illuminating interviews, they talk about how this experience has marked and shaped their lives. Twelve-year-old Darby finds comfort in sending everyday items like Twizzlers and wet wipes to a dad whose life doesn’t include simple pleasures or a daily bath.
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  Clippers | Dec 21, 2017 |
Best known for her Breadwinner Trilogy, a series of children's novels which depict the hardships faced by young girls and women under the oppressive Taliban regime, Canadian author Deborah Ellis has also been involved in a number of projects interviewing real-life youngsters facing extraordinary circumstances. From African children infected with the HIV virus, to Israeli and Palestinian children struggling to come to terms with the seemingly endless cycle of violence around them, Ellis has consistently used her work to highlight the effects of adult activities on children. Off to War is the product of her latest project, and presents the author's interviews with children of American and Canadian soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Allowed to speak for themselves, the children included in this collection are as diverse in their experiences, responses and views as any other group of North Americans. Some feel very strongly that anti-war protests are wrong, while others attend them. Some are very informed about the current political situation, while others try to avoid listening to the news. But whatever they think (or don't) of the conflicts in question, or of the military in general, all of them express their sadness at being parted from their fathers and/or mothers, and describe their struggles to maintain a "normal" life in the face of abnormal circumstances.

Of obvious interest to military personnel and their families, Off to War should also prove quite informative for teachers and librarians who work with affected children and communities, as well as general readers who want to gain a better sense of the human cost of military service. I'm a great believer in the importance of the personal "testimony," both in history and current affairs, and commend Ellis for presenting the testimonies of a group too often overlooked in the decision-making process: children. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jul 3, 2013 |
Deborah Ellis interviews children of Canadian and American soldiers about their experiences when their parent is sent overseas to serve in the war.

She describes the bases or regular communities the children live in, based mostly if the parent is in the Guard or on active duty. Various views are expressed, either in support or with reservations on the politics, but all support their families.

For the older child or teen. ( )
  kthomp25 | Apr 22, 2010 |
Showing 4 of 4
Linda Irvine (Resource Links, October 2008 (Vol. 14, No. 1))
Over twenty-seven Canadian and American military families are featured in this latest offering from Deborah Ellis. Each chapter details the experience of children whose father or mother has been deployed overseas either in direct battle or as support to soldiers in battle. Most of the families have a father serving in Afghanistan or Iraq, while a few are from children whose mother is in the military or whose father was killed. The words are the children’s own and this is what makes their stories so very powerful. Ages range from six to seventeen years. Some chapters are from individuals, some from siblings. Experiences and emotions expressed vary widely, but all show respect for the men and women who risk their lives to serve overseas. The children talk about pride in their parents but also loneliness, not knowing their father, difficulties when soldiers leave and when they return. Some families are strengthened by the experience of war, others face family breakdown. One touching story details the abuse endured by a young teen after her father returned from battle and took out his anger on her. Deborah Ellis fans will enjoy this new title. Those unfamiliar with her work may need some promotion or guidance in discovering this book. However, all readers will appreciate the honesty and candour of the young contributors who bravely offer their experience of military life to the world. Category: Non-Fiction Grades 7-12. Thematic Links: Children and War; Children and Military Service. Resource Links Rating: G (Good, great at times, generally useful!), Gr. 5-10. 2008, Groundwood Books, 175p.; (reviewed from advance reading copy), Hdbk. $16.95. Ages 10 to 16.
added by kthomp25 | editResource Links,, Linda Irvine (Apr 22, 2010)
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The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have impacted the children of soldiers--men and women who have been called away from their families to fight in a faraway war. In their own words, some of these children describe how their experience has marked and shaped their lives.

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