Year of No Rain
In the spring of 1999, hunger and thirst are constant companions to 11-year-old Stephen and his family and friends in their southern Sudan village. Stephen wants to go back to his books, but the village school is closed due to civil war between the northern soldiers and the southern rebels. When bombs explode in their small village, Stephen’s mother tells him and his friends to quickly pack, and they run and hide before they’re caught by the enemy soldiers. Stephen leaves with a few precious possessions, wondering if each step will bring him closer to water, food, and freedom—and maybe home again someday.
Mead puts civil war in human terms thorugh the eyes of one young boy. In the context of an artfully told story, much is told about how war works…The history, the land, and the determination of a band of refugees to care for each other are vividly evoked in this important work. –Starred Kirkus Review
Gr. 5-7. Like Mead’s Girl of Kosovo (2001), this novel tells the story of a contemporary child caught up in a brutal civil war in a far off country. In this book, the place is drought-stricken southern Sudan; the time is 1999. Stephen Majok, 11, is on the run with a group of boys after soldiers raid their village and slaughter nearly everyone, including his mother. The research is accurate, and Mead includes a historical note and a map… without sensationalism, Mead conveys the particulars of the place and the desperate longing of a displaced child for home, education, and peace. –Hazel Rochman
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