Lost Girl Found
Fiction, Middle, High School, Young Adult
Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press,
When war comes to a small village in southern Sudan, young Poni must run for her life and begins a long and dangerous trek across the east African countryside with thousand of refugees to a camp in Kenya, but along the way many die from starvation, land mines, wild animals and despair.
Lost Girl Found engages and captures the reader with its explicit descriptions of the
experiences of Poni, a young girl from the war-torn country of Sudan. Before the
war, Poni is nurtured by her mother and family in the cultural ways of her
people. She becomes a strong teenager who is not afraid to assert her identity
and is determined to get what she wants in life.
Suddenly war erupts and everyone runs for their lives. Poni escapes through forests and deserts and like other fleeing refugees she is in danger from hidden mines, starvation, and bombs. Many die but Poni survives and makes it to a refugee camp in Kakuma in northern Kenya. Later she finds her way to Nairobi and eventually ends up in the United States to pursue her education.
The author describes in detail what life was like in southern Sudan during the war
and its aftermath. Unfortunately, her examples do not provide a balanced view.
Sudan in particular and Africa in general come across as an unending war zone.
The first three chapters of the book are filled with stereotypes. Parents
heavily cane their children. Some marry their young daughters off to old men.
Polygamous husbands beat their wives. Women are subservient to men. Crocodiles
carry off people and the local river is called “Disease Soup.” Not recommended.
Reviewed by Anne Waliaula, University of Wisconsin
Published in Africa Access Review (November 26, 2014)
Copyright 2014 Africa Access