Little Soldier by Bernard Ashley

Little Soldier

Written by Bernard Ashley

11+ readers   13+ readers   Reluctant Readers   
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One of the best books ever about the realities of young boys forced into fighting in rebel armies and the effect it can have. Back home, Kaninda has been trained to carry a gun and use it. When he is taken from Africa by aid workers and brought to a different life in London he finds there are tribes and loyalties of a new kind. Unwillingly Kaninda gets drawn into local conflicts while he longs to return home and take revenge. A moving and thoughtful exploration of the scarring effect of violent conflict.

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Little Soldier by Bernard Ashley

Kaninda is an ex-child soldier from East Africa, orphaned and living in London. When a child from a nearby estate is hit by a car he is drawn into an inter-estate conflict. The story combines current conflicts in London with real war in Africa.


This is Ashley at his hard-hitting best The Daily Telegraph A serious and provocative reflection on kids and war, this novel should spark debate The Daily Telegraph [Ashley's] gritty urban realism marks a fresh approach to children's writing Financial Times Another thoughtful and topical tale Daily Mail Compelling and unforgettable Time Out It's wonderful to have another full-length, meaty novel from this gritty writer The Bookseller A considerable achievement Books For Keeps Original and touching Scotland on Sunday Ashley is sympathetic without ever sentimentalising the survival tactics of his little soldier The Guardian

's Force. Finding himself on a housing estate in south London, he witnesses a different tribal warfare, one gang against another. This is a tautly written book, complex and hard-hitting, but immensely rewarding, which examines questions of loyalty, revenge, guilt, war, rights and ultimately freedom. (12+ years) (Kirkus UK)'

About the Author

Bernard Ashley

Bernard Ashley lives in Charlton, south east London, only a street or so from where he was born. He was educated at the Roan School, Blackheath and Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School, Rochester. After National Service in the RAF Bernard trained to teach at Trent Park College of Education, specializing in Drama. He followed this with an Advanced Diploma at the Cambridge Institute and has recently been awarded honorary Doctorates in Education by the University of Greenwich and in letters by the University of Leicester. During his career as a teacher he worked in Kent, Hertfordshire, Newham and Greenwich, with thirty years of headships in the last three.

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Book Info


256 pages


Bernard Ashley
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Author's Website


The Watts Publishing Group

Publication date

30th September 1999




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