Though I’m still slightly torn about whether or not the making of a child soldier is appropriate fodder for a graphic novel aimed at young adult readers, the combination of Sharon E. McKay’s powerful prose and Daniel LaFrance’s luminous illustrations is just right in War Brothers (Annick).
War Brothers was originally written in traditional novel form and published in 2008. Storyboard and graphic artist LaFrance brings the story to life with richly vivid illustrations shown us the abduction, training and ultimate escape of 14-year-old Ugandan Jacob, an apparent composite of children McKay interviewed several years ago who had been kidnapped then trained as soldiers for the Lord’s Resistance Army under the infamous Joseph Kony.
These components — strong story, powerful storyteller, talented artist — make for a winning combination. I’ll be very surprised if War Brothers doesn’t pick up its share of awards this year. ◊
Monica Stark is a contributing editor to January Magazine. She currently makes her home on a liveaboard boat somewhere in the North Pacific.