Little Soldier

Style: Good

Attitude: Unobjectionable

Author: Bernard Ashley

Published in: 2000

Age Range: Young Teens

Period: Contemporary

Genres:  War


Kaninda is a 14-year-old East African whose country is at war with itself. His family were murdered and he saw action in the rebel army until he was brought to England by a well-meaning Christian organisation. He feels like a fish out of water, and the local street gangs seem tame compared to the realities of war which he's used to. Meanwhile the daughter of the family he's staying with feels she is responsible for a hit-and-run accident and decides to run away with Kaninda when he goes back to his country.


The context is the author's usual hard-nosed inner-city streets; no shortage of less-than-ideal role models, indulging in petty theft, mild swearing and unsavoury attitudes. However, there is plenty of supportive friendships and although Laura's evangelical mother is a little larger than life the girl does struggle to buttress her waning faith. Similarly, altho' Kaninda acts out of hatred he is swayed by the more reasonable attitude of an “enemy” African who comes to his school

It takes a long time to get to sleep when your eyes are wide with hate. Shouting at the wall hadn't been enough to give him rest.

Tuesday 1st January 2002