978-0-439-29721-9 / 9780439297219

Out of War: True Stories from the Frontlines of the Children's Movement for Peace in Colombia





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About the book:

When writer Sara Cameron went on assignment to Colombia to write a UNICEF report about the Children's Movement for Peace to submit to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, she was skeptical: "I didn't believe that children could do anything substantial to help peace." But she was soon convinced by the sincere teen leaders of the movement who had been through hell and lived to tell about it. Colombia is a country that has been torn apart by guerilla warfare, illegal drug trade, and gang violence for more than 40 years. In the late 1990s, guided by civic and religious leaders, the children and teens of Colombia decided to try and do what the adults of their country could not: make peace. Besides writing her report for UNICEF, Cameron collected these first-person accounts of nine young leaders of the movement, all of whose lives have been tainted by violence. Heartbreaking examples include 18-year-old Juan Elias, whose father was murdered right in his own office, and 16-year-old Mayerly, whose best friend was stabbed to death in a gang war. Still, these young leaders--despite threats by armed gangs and extreme poverty--organize peace rallies, speak publicly at schools, and lead workshops for other displaced or abused children. Sad, but ultimately triumphant, these stories will both inspire and shame the teens of First World nations who read them--shame them by showing how much of their lives they take for granted, and inspire them to do more with the resources and relationships they have been blessed with. The book includes an author's note and a list of resources to learn more about the Children's Movement for Peace. (Ages 12 and older) --Jennifer Hubert

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