Recommended books

Below is a of recommended books on issues relating to child soldiers. Please contact us if you have recommendations.

They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers (2011)

Roméo Dallaire with a forward from Ishmael Beah
The dilemma of the adult soldier who faces them is poignantly expressed in this book’s title: when children are shooting at you, they are soldiers, but as soon as they are wounded or killed, they are children once again. Believing that not one of us should tolerate a child being used in this fashion, Dallaire has made it his mission to end the use of child soldiers.

Child Soldiers: Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front (2010)

Myriam Denov
Myriam Denov examines how child soldiers are initiated into the complex world of violence and armed conflict. She also explores the ways in which the children leave this world of violence and the challenges they face when trying to renegotiate their lives and self-concepts in the aftermath of war. The narratives of the Sierra Leonean youth demonstrate that their life histories defy the narrow and limiting portrayals presented by the media and popular discourse.


A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (2008)

Ishmael Beah
Ishmeal Beah authors this gripping story by a children’s-rights advocate recounts his experiences as a boy growing up in Sierra Leone in the 1990s, during one of the most brutal and violent civil wars in recent history.



Children at War (2006)

P.W. Singer
Here P.W. Singer details many of the underlying causes of the practice, and he explains how the children are recruited, often simply by whether they are strong enough to carry a weapon. He explores the full implications for using children in combat and discusses how the problem can be addressed, such as treating it as a war crime and punishing those leaders responsible. He neglects to say, though, that the abuse is first and best addressed by exposing it to world scrutiny, which this thoughtful and heartfelt book will do.


Child Soldiers: From Violence to Protection (2009)

Michael G. Wessells
This book reveals the lives of the 300,000 child soldiers around the world, challenging stereotypes of them as predators or a lost generation. A passionate call for action, Child Soldiers pushes readers to go beyond the horror stories to develop local and global strategies to stop this theft of childhood.


First Kill Your Family: Child Soldiers of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army (2009)

Peter Eichstaedt
Northern Uganda has been under siege by the rebel group the Lords Resistance Army, or LRA, for 20 years, leading to death tolls rivaling those in Darfur, Sudan, which has garnered considerably more media attention. The LRA is known for employing brutal techniques, including mutilating community members who inform on them, kidnapping children to serve as male child soldiers or female brides, sex slaves for rebel soldiers. Interviewing victims of these crimes, as well as perpetrators, government officials and non-governmental actors, Eichstaedt weaves a story of a decimated culture caught between merciless violence and the chaos of refugee camps. The result is a close analysis of this underreported crisis, which has only recently shown signs of abating.

Child Soldiers (2008)

Leora Kahn and Luis Moreno-Ocampo
Activist and editor Kahn has compiled a powerful illustrated volume documenting the lives of child soldiers, who currently number up to 300,000 worldwide-in places including Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Columbia, across Africa and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Their stories are told through six brief essays and more than 60 unforgettable photographs.


War Child: A Child Soldier’s Story (2010)

Emmanuel Jal
As a young kid barely able to carry a gun, Jal, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, witnessed and perpetrated unspeakable brutality in his country’s civil war, but he has not only found refuge in the U.S. but also become an international rap star for peace. His violent memories are graphically relayed in this powerful autobiography.


Innocents Lost: When Child Soldiers Go To War (2005)

Jimme Briggs
From the “little bees” of Colombia to the “baby brigades” of Sri Lanka, the subject of child soldiers is changing the face of terrorism. For the last seven years, Jimmie Briggs has been talking to, writing about, and researching the plight of these young combatants. The horrific stories of these children, dramatically told in their own voices, reveal the devastating consequences of this global tragedy.


One Day the Soldiers Came: Voices of Children in War (2007)

Charles London
London, working with the nonprofit organization Refugees International, interviewed child soldiers and other young people affected by ethnic conflict in Africa, Burma and the Balkans to bring their plight to the attention of his fellow Americans. The narrative that emerges is a fine accomplishment, tying together the horrific stories of countless children against a merciless landscape of undersupplied refugee camps, belligerent authority figures and the constant threat of renewed violence.


 Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Uganda’s Children (2007)

Faith J. H. McDonnell and Grace Akallo
In northern Uganda, thousands of children have been kidnapped by rebel armies and pressed into murderous service. Here, Akallo, who was herself kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army at age 15, offers a disturbing, deeply personal account of being forced to march with the rebel army, fight, and raid villages for food and water.


Stolen Angels: The Kidnapped Girls of Uganda (2009)

Kathy Cook
Using searing first-hand accounts, award-winning Canadian journalist Kathy Cook uncovers the horrific life of child sex slaves and soldiers in Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army. Stolen Angels tells the story of 30 Ugandan schoolgirls who were abducted in October 1996 by Joseph Kony, the LRA leader who has been indicted for war crimes by the international criminal court. They became child soldiers and sex slaves—pawns in a forgotten African war. A heroic group of mothers and interfaith clerics waged a crusade to rescue them.


Johnny Mad Dog: A Novel (2006)

Emmanuel Dongala (Author), Maria Louise Ascher (Translator)
A Los Angeles Times Book Review Favorite Book of the YearJohnny Mad Dog, age sixteen, is a member of a rebel faction bent on seizing control of war-torn Congo. Laokolé, at the same age, simply wants to finish high school. Together, they narrate a crossing of paths that has explosive results. Set amid the chaos of West Africa’s civil wars, Emmanuel Dongala’s powerful, exuberant, and terrifying new work is a coming-of-age story like no other.



More books

The impact of war on Children

Graça Machel

Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda

Romeo A. Dallaire

Aboke Girls. Children Abducted in Northern Uganda

Els De Temmerman

Child Soldiers: From Violence to Protection

Mike Wessells

Children and Youth on the Front Line: Ethnography, Armed Conflict and Displacement (Studies in Forced Migration)

Jo Boyden (Editor) and Joanna De Berry (Editor)

Bush Wives and Girl Soldiers – Women’s lives through war and peace in Sierra Leone

Chris Coulter

Child soldiers in the age of fractured states

Edited by Scott Gates and Simon Reich

The bite of the mango

Mariatu Kamara

Guantanamo’s child

Michelle Shephard

Out of War: True stories from the front lines of the Children’s movement for Peace in Colombia

Sara Cameron in cooperation with UNICEF

Zlata’s diary, a child’s life in wartime Sarajevo

Zlata Filipovic