Adults debate the pros and cons of
any war their nation engages in. Few
people seem to stop and think about how the war is affecting children. Shatteredis a collection of twelve stories
about children and their behavior and thoughts regarding war. The United Nations claims that more children
than soldiers are killed or maimed during the course of a war. This fact alone should be enough to make
adults stop and think about how their political decisions may affect their
The book presents the story of 12
war survivors. Here are just a few
quotes from the various stories. I am
sure these words will make you want to read the book in its entirety if
children and war is something you have a deep interest in.
"The fear of being burned by
bombardment had hardened into coal in our hearts. And the piercing sirens made
certain we understood that we could not leave the shelter before the war ended.
But we don't know how long this war
will last. And Tomorrow, the third day
is coming. It's only a few hours away
from our shelter. It's heading toward
us like an armed robber. We don't know
what it will take away from us and whom it will injure or kill when it arrives
thirsty at sunrise. We don't know how our lives will be altered. We can only imagine. [page 13]"
The Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1980
"In the weeks that followed, the helicopters
came three more times, dropping from their underbellies a form of death that
was unspeakable. Scattered about the
hillsides were toys, cameras, and watches--gifts that families in our village
longed for but could never afford.
Amina warned us to touch nothing on the ground. Every mother warned her children.
But one day, two boys slipped away
when their mothers were not watching.
They climbed up into the hills, avoiding the places where Hedayat and
Hassan and the others stood guard.
Mahsood, who was my age, picked up a wristwatch he found lying under a small
bush. He reasoned that it could not
have fallen from the sky and landed under a bush, and that it must be a real
watch. The next instant the watch
exploded, shattering his hands and putting out his eyes." [page 119;
Hassan was only 12 but was responsible for his 5 brothers and sisters after the
death of their parents.]
U.S. Civil War
"All that was left was not pools of water in
the sun, but piles of dead and dying men, some crying out for their mothers
with their last breaths. The firing had
stopped as soon as the last of the men in Union blue went down. The Rebs were
short of ammunition like always." [page 123]
War leaves children parentless,
homeless, traumatized, stronger, weaker, etc.
Children impacted with war become adults impacted by war. No one, child or adult, will ever get over
the horrors of war completely. Even
children who see someone become a draft dodger (Viet Nam particularly) or a
"witness" to prevent other governments from wartime atrocities are
impacted by the horrible unknown called "war."
This book is easy reading if you are only
considering the writing style, use of language and grammar. It is very difficult reading when you
consider that these stories are about children and war. I don't know how anyone can read this
without feeling intense emotion that any child should have to live with these
2003 Diana Pederson
Diana Pederson lives in