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Genre: Narrative Nonfiction / Coming of Age
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
By Ishmael Beah

Ishmael Beah and friends ran from the fighting that destroyed their families and villages in Sierra Leone, North Africa. He was eventually captured and brainwashed by army soldiers, to become a brutal, AK-47 toting child soldier in the army. His freedom was won by UNICEF, and his difficult transition back into life began.

Submitted by:
Leslie, Ontario, Canada |
This is fast-moving, action-packed nonfiction that reads like novel. Written from a teen perspective with lots of dialogue about fears, frustrations and grief at loss of family, friends, and trust. Non-readers who swear they have never and will never read return and ask for another like it... and then you recommend The Deserter's Tale, by Joshua Keyes.

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Day 1 • Monday
Today's Workout: Read this chapter

    BACK IN THE DAYS when I hated reading, the introduction in books got me angry. The idea of reading useless, Roman numeral numbered pages (that weren't important enough to make it into the real part of the book), only to start over again at page one when I got to the first chapter, was too much. So no introduction in this book. The reading workout starts now.

    As a willfully illiterate kid, my feeling toward reading was simple: it was a chore and I wanted to be done with it as fast as possible. It's not that I didn't like good stories — I loved them — I just didn't want to read them. Any enjoyment I got from reading was completely due to three qualities that had absolutely nothing to do with anything literary.

    The first thing I'd look for was the page the book started on. Any book that actually started on page number one was going right back on the shelf. What I wanted was a book that started, at very least, on page seven. Simply put, a book that started well after page one was a book that was that many pages closer to being over. That was the sort of first impression that got "reading–haters" like me hooked on a book...

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This site is an offshoot of the books you see below. Its purpose is to get non-readers reading and to put people interested in spreading literacy in touch with books, ideas, and resources to help them achieve their goal.

This site is NOT for the teen reader—it is for TEENS WHO DON'T LIKE TO READ.





The Reading Workout is a book to help the reluctant reader realize that reading can be a good thing.

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