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   AK, by Peter Dickinson  
  Novel, first publication in January 1990 , latest edition in January 1994
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       Additional Information  
      AK is a book for young adults, ages 12 and up, that's unlikely to be used as the basis for an episode of a television "After School Special." AK is about a boy with his own gun, raised by a guerrilla group during a civil war. "My mother was the war," protagonist Paul Kagomi says. "She was a witch, a terrible demon, an eater of people, but she looked after me. It's not my fault that I loved her." Paul, of the mythical African nation of Nagala, is one of a group of homeless boys trained in warfare by the National Liberation Army. As the civil war subsides, Paul faces a life with no skills except the ones he learned for battle. AK won a Whitbread Prize in 1990.


    Paul Kagomi is a child guerrilla, orphaned by war in Africa and schooled in bloodshed, who places his trust in his AK, his gun. He can't remember his village, destroyed long ago, or his family. He has only Michael, his "uncle," leader of their commando unit, who trained him to fight as a fierce, proud warrior.

    With the promise of peace, Michael becomes a member of the government in the capital, and Paul buries the AK and is sent to school. But the peace does not last, and Paul and his friend Jilli set out to find his faithful gun again.

    They may be children, but they are warriors too.

      Related theme(s)  
  • War
  • Young Adult (YA) - books for teens

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