Children’s Book Reviews
Children's Book Reviews: Prison Boy
Publish May 29, 2015
Bestselling author, Sharon E. McKay, is no stranger to compelling, historically based fiction, penning award-winning titles, such as Thunder over Kandahar and War Brothers. Recently awarded the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Atlantic Canadian Young People for End of the Line, her latest YA novel, Prison Boy, is a powerful, thought-provoking story that unveils the vile, shockingly real world of child torture. Endorsed by Amnesty International Canada, Prison Boy recounts the astonishing life of Pax from ages seven to fourteen. When we meet him, he is living in an unnamed country with six other children, including newborn Kai, for whom Pax becomes his self-appointed “guardian, his protector, his father, mother and maybe his brother, too.” All live a meagre existence in the Pink House—a filthy, ramshackle orphanage run by the fiercely protective Englishwoman, Bell. Several years later, when Bell dies and the orphanage is destroyed, the children are left homeless. Life on the street is unforgiving, but Pax, now fourteen, vows to look after Kai. Desperate to feed, clothe, and keep Kai in school, Pax, becomes a “bicycle-boy,” doing deliveries for the elusive “Mister.” When one “simple” mission turns deadly after a heavy metal box that Pax has just finished delivering explodes, killing and injuring hundreds, Pax and Kai escape, only to be arrested. They are charged with terrorism and thrown in prison, where guards, particularly one named “Stink Boy,” unleash their wrath on Pax, using inhumane tactics in an attempt to finally break him. At once heartbreaking and haunting, Prison Boy confronts readers with the atrocities of (child) torture, which, according to Amnesty International, is still practised in 141 countries. With her starkly vivid prose, gripping scenes, and affecting characters, McKay is a master storyteller, transporting readers into the lives and experiences of political prisoners, sending them on a riveting, life-affirming journey of the power of love, and the indomitable strength of the human spirt against insurmountable odds. This book will, undoubtedly, spur some readers to take action.
ISBN 13: 9781554517305
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